According to PM News, President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday morning agreed that he has a serious contender in the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, General Muhammadu Buhari.
He however said he was not losing sleep over how the presidential election would turn out on 28 March.
Jonathan, who spoke on a national television programme monitored by our correspondent, noted that in 2011, it was a smooth ride for his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, unlike in 2015.
According to him, in 2011, there were four strong parties, the All Nigeria Peoples Party, ANPP, the PDP, the Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, and the Congress for Progressive Change, CPC, and they all shared the total votes cast.
He said it was easy for the PDP then, because the party had widespread base and had members in every polling unit of the federation.
He said though the PDP is still the dominant party in Nigeria, it now has a formidable opponent in the All Progressives Congress, a merger of all the CPC, ACN, ANPP, and a faction of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.
The President said he was not disturbed about the outcome of the 28 March election because most of those keeping the APC strong are elements of the PDP and that without them, the APC, which he called the opposition, would fall like “a pack of cards.”
He also gave the impression that some politicians are scared of his rising profile and that is why they have brainwashed some people, who are ignorant, to pelt him with stones in some parts of the country.
Jonathan also noted that it is more challenging for a sitting President to secure a second term.
He said this is because at the stage of seeking re-election, the people would want to know what the President had done with the first mandate given to him.
“We must have promised a number of things and people expect their lives to change overnight,” he said but quickly reminded people that it takes sometime for policies to materialise into projects and success on the part of the government.
Using an illustration, he said if a man that has no job is promised one by a candidate, he would expect the job to come once the candidate wins.
Where the job becomes unavailable, the person becomes angry with the government.
The President used the opportunity to list the achievements of his government in the transport and other sectors, adding that the government was working to boost the economy which he said had really progressed.
He said the government was working to get facilities to enable electricity distribution companies to get and install metres for Nigerians.
He also disclosed that a major part of the amount derived from the privatisation of power in the country was used to pay staff of the old National Electric Power Authority, NEPA, as well as resolve other legal issues.
He promised that issues related to power generation would be resolved in the next 12 months.
“I am very hopeful that I will take a ride from Abuja to Kaduna,” he said of the state of repairs of the road adding that the light rail project of the government is going on well and is being funded from a loan arrangement.
He also said his government had made a mark in the aviation sector and that even though the country had reached the height he expects, he hopes the citizens would get there.
Explaining the auto policy of the government, he said it was to encourage those who are wealthy to assist the government while boosting patronage of domestic vehicles.
“We are doing a number of things…The rise in the GDP is not about oil. In terms of the general wealth of the country, oil is very little, but it makes about 70 percent of the amount government needs to pay salaries and do other things.
“This government has been a friend of the private sector, because without the private sector, you can’t even employ. We are already expanding and diversifying the economy,” he said.
He noted that even though there pockets of violence in some parts of the country ahead of the elections, the recent accord reached by politicians for peaceful elections, have assisted the situation of the country.
“The result is not so obvious, but it is helping. There is no reason for people to kill or destroy because of elections…We must have a country before we can seek for office even as a councillor, local government chairman,” he said adding that he was ready for a debate.
While urging Nigerians to stay back in the bases to cast their votes, he promised to ensure security of lives and properties during and after the elections while re-stating that the constitution has no provision for an interim government.