President Goodluck Jonathan declared yesterday that he was ready to leave if Nigerians had demonstrated that they no longer wanted him as their president through the ballot box.
“I was ready to lose the election if Nigerians did not want me. If I was ready to be disgraced out of office to sanitise the system, that is to tell you I am ready to sanitise the system to bring about investments in our country,” Jonathan stated.
Speaking at a breakfast meeting on the Nigerian economy organised by the African Business Roundtable in New York, USA, Jonathan also noted that the reason why many Nigerian political leaders fight to sit tight in office was because of the fear of the unknown.
He, however, assured that he has vowed that the electoral reforms embarked upon by his administration would continue to ensure that the choice of the people emerge at every election, adding that he was fully committed to solving the nation’s electoral problems.
The Nigerian president added: “We are totally committed to solving our problem. We started with the electoral process and we have demonstrated our commitment in sanitising that system because when the people put you there you will be committed to serving the people.”
He assured investors that he would do everything to sanitise the investment environment to attract the much-needed investment and create jobs for the teeming youth who, he observed, make up the majority of the nation’s population.
Noting that this critical segment of the society could not be ignored as they were the ones that needed housing and jobs, Jonathan expressed hope that Nigeria could join the elite group of the world economies between eight and 10 years as it has been proved in other countries that it does not take eternity to solve the development problems of a country.
On Nigerians in Diaspora who want the opportunity to contribute their quota to the development of the country, he promised to carry the Nigerian people along in the governance process even though he conceded that it was not possible to involve all in the administration of the country at the same time. “We have a lot of eggheads in Nigeria. Unfortunately, not all will be ministers but we appoint them into teams where we have challenges to help address them. We meet monthly. Soon our economy will be what you will be proud of,” he said.
Present at the meeting were former British prime minister Tony Blair, former United States secretary of state Condoleezza Rice, international investors and captains of industry from Nigeria.
Jonathan told them that Nigeria has numerous problems but his government has decided to prioritise its options in order to systematically deal with the challenges.
Also speaking, Tony Blair urged Nigerians not to always accept the stance of the opposition on issues as they were not speaking for the majority of the citizens but a few vested interests.
Drumming support for President Jonathan, the former British prime minister lauded his effort to reform the political and economic sectors of the country, which he said was a difficult but necessary thing to do.
“One of the things I learned since leaving office is that it is not easy to get the advice and take the decisions. Each set of the reforms are hard and tough. I know how difficult it is to make changes. When you are doing the changes, it is very, very tough and difficult for government. On the other hand, it is absolutely necessary,” he said.
Blair said with what was going on in Nigeria, the country was on its way up, noting that once Nigeria was on its way up, it meant that Africa was on its way up.
He said, “My plea is to stick with it, support the president and the ministers in making these changes. My plea to Nigerians is: Don’t be deterred by the voices that say they are representing the majority of the public but often are actually representing the minority or vested interests.
“Among all these difficulties and challenges, there is hope of optimism and opportunities for Nigeria. We all know that in politics as in life, the difficult thing is not in the saying but in the doing. It was all about the courage to make the changes that are necessary.