President Goodluck Jonathan has said that he was confident of winning the March 28 presidential election but added that he would however bow out graciously and return to Otuoke, his country home in Bayelsa, if he lost, since Nigeria was not his father’s estate.
In an interview with the cable TV, Al Jazeera, in Lagos on Monday, President Jonathan said:“If by default somebody wins the election, of course I will go back to my village. The country is not my father’s estate. I’ll not lose the election”
Speaking on speculations that he was planning to sack INEC Chairman, Attahiru Jega, Jonathan said: “I have no plans to sack the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega except somebody is insinuating that the chairman has done something wrong. You cannot change an officer, except the person has done something wrong. The government, whether at the federal or state level, (be it) the president or governor, does not wake up and change somebody, especially somebody like the INEC chairman, except that person has done something wrong.
“INEC is a very sensitive body. For me to change INEC chairman, people –both Nigerians and non-Nigerians – will ask questions. So, one cannot wake up and change INEC chairman. I have never discussed this with any human being on earth about changing INEC chairman”.
The president, while commending the Nigerian troops for the recent successes recorded in the fight against Boko Haram, claimed that some people were using the insurgents to disrupt the general elections.
He said, “I don’t think (the elections will be postponed again). I think the elections will be conducted as scheduled by the INEC –that is the presidential election slated for March 28. I don’t see why we should postpone the election again because I’m quite impressed with the successes of the military operations going on in the North. There is a misunderstanding about the postponement of the general elections. In 2011, when the general elections were conducted, we had Boko Haram. The fact is that within that period, somehow the level of Boko Haram was quite serious and from all indications and from the signals the security agencies got, people are using Boko Haram to disrupt the elections.
“In 2011 there were no such signals and if the elections are disrupted in a number of states especially for the presidential elections, it will affect the declaration of results. So the security services don’t want to take any chances. They did not tell Nigerians that they must rout Boko Haram 100 per cent before the elections could be conducted. But they want to degrade Boko Haram to the extent that they would no longer have the kind of strength to come out and disrupt the elections. That is the key thing. In terms of taking over our territories, yes we will take over all our territories –yes, we will take over all of our territories and very soon there will be no part of Nigeria where they will erect a flag and say, ‘This is a Boko Haram territory.’ That we’ll do.”