President Goodluck Jonathan has reacted to the endorsement by the UK-based magazine, The Economist, of the All Progressives Congress Presidential Candidate, Muhammadu Buhari, for the February 14 polls, saying it is tongue-in-cheek, baseless and jaundiced.
The president, in a statement on Friday by his spokesman, Reuben Abati, said that it is patriotic Nigerians that will vote and not the magazine.
According to a statement issued by the presidential spokesman on Friday, Nigerians are aware of the achievements of the administration in the last six years.
He said: “We have noted with surprise, The Economist’s tongue-in-cheek endorsement of General Muhammadu Buhari in the run-up to Nigeria’s general elections and the international magazine’s baseless, jaundiced and rather malicious vilification of President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan who retains the trust and confidence of majority of Nigerians as the outcome of the Presidential elections will undoubtedly show.
“We are sure that many Nigerians and other readers of the usually urbane, thoughtful and well-reasoned editorial opinions of the Economist will be shocked that the magazine has taken the very ill-considered decision to throw its weight behind a candidate who, as a former military dictator, curtailed freedom of speech, ordered the kidnapping of opponents and jailing of journalists, and is accused of incitement to violence and grave human rights violations in Nigeria’s current democratic dispensation.
“The Economist may feign ignorance of President Jonathan’s remarkable achievements as leader of his country in the past six years, but Nigerians who, unlike the magazine’s opinion writers, will actually vote in the country’s forthcoming presidential elections, know that President Jonathan has worked very hard to fulfill all the major promises he made to them on assumption of office”.
Abati stressed that Nigerians know how President Jonathan has developed the economy, created more jobs, and has given policy support to the real sector of the economy.
He added: “They know that he has encouraged locally owned enterprises to take advantage of our resources in growing the domestic economy and they also know that he has successfully attracted greater foreign direct investment to the country.
“Nigerians are also aware that President Jonathan has worked tirelessly to improve power supply across the nation, rebuild and expand national infrastructure, improve public transportation and provide greater access to quality education for all Nigerian youth”.
Speaking further he said; “They know very well too that President Jonathan has significantly improved healthcare services in the country, revolutionized agriculture, promoted gender equality and women empowerment, and done his very best to stem corruption in government”.
Despite insurgency and other challenges, the statement said that contrary to The Economist’s assertions, Nigeria, under President Jonathan has made very considerable progress.
“President Jonathan has ensured that Nigeria has become a more vibrant democracy with free media, an independent judiciary, free, fair and credible elections, and greater respect for human rights.
“The Economist is entitled to its erroneous opinion on who represents the best leadership option for Nigeria in the coming elections, but happily for the country, it is not the magazine’s lead writers, but more knowledgeable and patriotic Nigerians who actually work and live in the country, that will vote and re-elect President Jonathan for a second term in office.
“They will do so, because unlike the Economist’s opinion writers, they understand that a Buhari Presidency will, for their beloved country, represent a stark setback and retrogression from the tremendous ongoing positive transformation of Nigeria under President Jonathan’s leadership”, he stated.