• Monday, June 24, 2024
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BusinessDay

I will hand over if I lose – Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday dismissed the insinuation that he would manipulate elections or refuse to hand over if he loses the presidential race, stating that there must be elections and handover on May 29.

He stated emphatically, “I will hand over if I lose”.

The president who was speaking at a special media chat in Abuja emphasised that the postponement of the polls was as a result of security concerns, other than the insurgency in the northeast by Boko Haram.

He said such security challenges, other than the insurgency, needed to be addressed, adding that the fight against the Islamist sect is an ongoing one that may not end suddenly.

He explained that he never said  the Boko Haram insurgency would be quelled within six weeks, adding that the mission was to significantly degrade the sect and recover sufficient territory to enable the elections hold without disruption.

Jonathan, at a nationwide media chat yesterday, said INEC postponed the elections on security concerns which included alleged plots by some politicians to recruit thugs to foment trouble before, and during the elections.

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On the efforts of his government to end the security challenge in the North East, Jonathan said that although the $1 billion loan request to purchase equipment for the military had been approved by the National Assembly, the Federal Government was yet to begin withdrawing from it.

On the alleged interference of his government in INEC’s activities, particularly the shift in the election date, the President said INEC can re-schedule elections without consulting him, citing an example of 2011 where he was in his village to vote only to discover that elections had been postponed.

He further re-echoed the position of security chiefs on election postponement, saying that it is their duty to review security situations and proffer appropriate advice.

But the President said “Lagos has about 38 percent PVC distribution. If you had contested elections in the state, 62 percent of the electorate would not have voted.”

He said he did not intend to remove INEC chief, Jega, even though the constitution empowers the person who appoints an electoral chief and commissioners to also remove them.

He said one key thing he will do differently if he is re-elected, is to change the perception of the people by being cautious of actions and inactions of people around him.

“It is better for us to conduct elections we all believe is free and fair,” he said, adding that unlike 2003 and 2007, elections have largely been free and fair since 2011.