People have been “buying and selling votes” since Nigeria’s independence in 1960, President Goodluck Jonathan yesterday said, noting that there had not been any free and fair elections in the country since then.
Jonathan said this must stop! He therefore urged Nigerians, especially the youths, not to allow anybody to buy their votes during the forth coming elections.
He made the call at Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital, while addressing a large crowd of supporters of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) at the Abakaliki Township Stadium in the course of his nationwide wide campaign.
Addressing youths whom he said were the leaders of the next generation, Jonathan emphasised that they must not allow themselves to be bought over by politicians who do not mean well for them.
“Our campaign is for the young people. Our time is almost gone. We must change our circumstance. The young people should join us. Nobody should deceive you; nobody should buy your votes. Since 1960, we have been buying and selling votes and we don’t want to continue like this. If you want development, you have to join PDP to develop” he said.
Speaking on the position of women, Jonathan said women would continue to play pivotal roles in his government and he could not wait to see a female president rule Nigeria.
“For women, your vote is crucial. We have given identity to Nigerian women. This is not the end. We want Nigerian women to be paraded at the global level. We must expose our women.
“This is the only administration that is ready to give every position to women. My aspiration is to see a female president before I die,” he further noted.
He also noted that the development challenge facing Ebonyi, was daunting, being one of the last states to be created along with his home state of Bayelsa, by the military administration, adding that the Federal Government would rely on the state to ensure that its policy of stopping the importation of rice into the country in the next four years was achieved.
On job creation, Jonathan said: “That is one of the reasons we are giving such scholarships so that in future, Nigerians will be able to produce some of our basic needs; countries that are at our levels have advanced so much. I remember that Alhaji Maitama Sule had always said that the Defence Industry in Nigeria with that of Brazil were established at the same time but while that of Brazil is now manufacturing aircraft, our own is busy manufacturing chairs. We say we must change that and for you to change that, you must change the manpower to do that.
“This government is focused; we know where we are going and we know where we want to take This country to; the young people should join us and nobody should deceive you or buy your votes; from 1960 we gained independence till today, people have been buying and selling votes and the country is drifting backward.”
He further said that the current drop in oil price did not take the country by surprise as modalities had been put in place to ensure diversification of the economy, and Ebonyi State would play a key role in achieving the objectives.
“It may be a dream, but I am always dreaming that one day, we will not even require prisons in this country; one day working with all the local and governments and private individuals, we will be able to create lots of opportunities for all Nigerians, so that the crime rate will reduce and Nigerians will not be thinking about prisons but about education.
“I have an idea of the challenges facing the newly created states; when I gave the federal university to Ebonyi state, I did not receive any delegation from the people of the state.