* Mark, Bankole, 23 govs, among Eagle Square crowd
BY JIDE AJANI, DAYO BENSON, KINGSLEY OMONOBI, BEN AGANDE, HENRY UMORU & GBENGA
President Goodluck Jonathan took Nigerians on a 20 minute journey into his early life yesterday and declared
that if he was able to surmount all the challenges on his path to become President today, they (Nigerians) and the country could also prevail over setbacks and achieve greatness under him.
The President in an emotion laden speech at his public declaration to seek the presidential ticket of the PDP ahead of next year’s election said: “I was not born rich, and in my youth, I never imagined that I would be where I am today,
but not once did I even give up. Not once did I imagine that a child from Otueke, a small village in the Niger Delta, will one day rise to the position of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria “In my early days in school, I had no shoes, no school bags. I carried my books in my hands but never despaired; no car to take me to school but I never
despaired. There were days I had only one meal but I never despaired. I walked miles and crossed rivers to school every day but I never despaired. Didn’t have power, didn’t have generators, studied with lanterns but I never despaired.
In spite of these, I finished secondary school, attended the University of Port Harcourt, and now hold a doctorate degree.
“Fellow Nigerians, if I could make it, you too can make it!
“My story is the story of a young Nigerian whose access to education opened up vast opportunities that enabled me to attain my present position. As I travel up and down our country, I see a nation blessed by God with rich agricultural and
mineral resources and an enterprising people. I see millions of Nigerians whose potentials for greatness are constrained by the lack of basic infrastructure.
“I see Nigerians who can make a difference in the service of their country but are disadvantaged by the lack of opportunities.
“My story symbolizes my dream for Nigeria. The dream that any Nigerian child from Kaura_ Namoda to Duke town; from Potiskum to Nsukka, from Isale-Eko to Gboko will be able to realize his God-given potentials, unhindered by tribe or
religion and unrestricted by improvised political inhibitions. My story holds out the promise of a new Nigeria. A Nigeria built on the virtues of love and respect for one another, on unity, on industry, on hard work and on good
“My fellow Nigerians, this is what has brought me to Eagle Square today. I have come to say to all of you, that Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan is the man you need to put Nigeria right. I have come to launch a campaign of ideas, not one of
calumny. I have come to preach love, not hate. I have come to break you away from divisive tendencies of the past which have slowed our drive to true nationhood. I have no enemies to fight. You are all my friends and we share a
“Let the word go out from this Eagle Square that Jonathan as President in 2011 will herald a new era of transformation of our country; an era that will end the agony of power shortage in our country. Let the word go out from here that I
will be for the students, teachers and parents of Nigeria, a President who will advance quality and competitive education. Let everyone in this country hear that I shall strive to the best of my ability to attain self sufficiency in food production.
“Let the word go out that my plans for a Sovereign Wealth Fund with an initial capital of $1billion will begin the journey for an economic restoration. This restoration will provide new job opportunities and alleviate poverty. Let the
word go out that our health sector will receive maximum priority in a new Jonathan administration, a priority that will ensure maximum health care and stop our brain drain.
Let all the kidnappers, criminal elements, and miscreants that give us a bad name be ready for the fight that I shall give them. Let the ordinary Nigerian be assured that President Jonathan will have zero tolerance for corruption. Let the
international community hear that today I have offered myself to lead a country that will engage them in mutual respect and cooperation for the achievement of international peace and understanding.
To help me in these tasks effectively, I will re-train, revamp, and motivate the civil service.
My dear good people of Nigeria, I got here today by the power of God and the support of all Nigerians; all ethnic groups, North, South, East and West. I am here today because of your support and prayers. I want all of you to know that I
am one of you and I will never let you down! I want you to know that I will keep hope alive; I want you to know that your time has come.
I stand before you today, humbly seeking your support for me, Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, to run for the office of the President of Nigeria with Architect Namadi Sambo as my running mate.
We will fight for JUSTICE!
We will fight for all Nigerians to have access to POWER!
We will fight for qualitative and competitive EDUCATION!
We will fight for HEALTH CARE REFORMS!
We will fight to create jobs, for all Nigerians!
We will fight corruption!
We will fight to protect all Citizens!
We will fight for your rights!
My dear country men and women, give me your support, give me your votes and together we will fight to build a great nation of our dreams!
I cannot end this speech without thanking you all for attending this occasion.
Your huge attendance is a loud testimony of your support for us. For this I am very grateful. I pray that the Almighty God abides with you and sees you safely back to your respective destinations.
When you return, tell all those at home that as we celebrate our fifty years anniversary as a nation, Goodluck has come to transform Nigeria and I will never let you down.