BY DANIEL IDONOR
President Goodluck Jonathan, Saturday, expressed optimism he was sure of victory at the presidential election , saying that he never contemplated failure when he decided to join the race.
The President was however quick to add that despite his optimism, should he lose the election, he would vacate the Aso Rock Villa for the winner.
Fielding questions from newsmen, Jonathan thanked Nigerians for the interest they have shown in the elections.
“I have been involved in this current elections from the 2003. I have been involved as Governor and Vice presidential candidate. I am involved now in 2011 as Presidential candidate and I have seen the interest shown by Nigerians – young and old.
“If I have not shown commitment, people cannot come out to do what is right, to come out and choose candidate of their choice, so I am indeed happy that we are consolidating democracy because democracy must be built on a solid foundation.
“The foundation upon which democracy is built on is the power of the ballot paper. When the ballot remains nothing, then there is no democracy. You can best describe that as pseudo democracy.
We are now experiencing true democracy where we politicians have to go to the people because the power belongs to the people, it does not belong to those of us that are politicians. Power belongs to the people and it is expressed through the ballot paper. You can describe it as a new dawn in our political evolution. We are happy for Nigerians”.
Asked how he felt since many people especially those in opposition don’t believe his free and fair slogan, the President said, “I said I will conduct a free and fair election and I will not influence the electoral process. That has been demonstrated in the previous election. People have observed that I have been sincere, you can go and find out from INEC, I have not shown any interest. The day the election was cancelled, I was here to vote, so I heard it just like every other person, that shows you the degree of freedom INEC has”.
Asked if he was scared that the elections might run into a bye-election, Jonathan said, “I don’t know. I will pray that it does not go into a bye-election because of the cost implication. Nigeria is a big country to conduct one round of another election. Next the amount of money to pay ad-hoc staff is higher. It is a colossal sum of money, so even for economic reason, and to even reduce tension, we pray that whoever will win should win at the first ballot”.
Asked if he was sure of victory, he replied, “Of course. If I am not, I won’t be in the race”