Former President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has expressed sadness that in recent times Nigeria has become a country cited as a bad example on the continent by African leaders.
He spoke just as he advised Nigerian leaders to make personal sacrifices to strengthen the nation’s democracy and make the country great.
The former President stated this Friday night at the inauguration of a flyover built by the administration of Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose in Ado Ekiti, stressing that leaders should always strive to resist the pressure from unpatriotic elements who wish to subjugate democracy to attain selfish ends.
Jonathan spoke against the backdrop of the coming Ekiti Governorship elections where the opposition’s frenzied bid to unseat the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the state is attracting nationwide interest.
He said: “Since I came in I have been going round the state with the
Governor. I have seen the support the Governor still has, I have seen the support the Peoples Democratic Party enjoys in the State. I have also seen the enthusiasm of our people. I don’t believe anybody can defeat the PDP in Ekiti, if real election is going to be conducted.”
On the need for free and fair elections in the country, Jonathan said: “I use this opportunity to call on Mr. President because I was there before, and I know that when you are there, there is so much pressure on you to use all the powers at your disposal to subjugate democracy.
“Don’t do that because what you go with, at the end of the day, is the good name you leave behind. If you use your powers negatively, posterity will haunt you. I call on Mr. President to use his power to strengthen democracy because all the great democracies we see in the world today were built by people. People make sacrifices to make their country great.”
Making a case for good leadership, the former President stated further that he always felt sad each time people said negative things about Nigeria, noting that it has got to a stage where the nation’s neighbours cite the country as a bad example.
He said: “A President of a neighbouring country, Ghana, recently made two negative remarks about Nigeria. First, the current Ghanaian President was addressing Ghanaians about the movement of cattle within their shores and he said openly that Ghana is not like Nigeria where cattle roam freely. That was quite uncomplimentary.”
He added that recently the same President was speaking in the United Kingdom when he made disparaging remarks about Nigeria’s currency.
“If it has got to a level when the Presidents of neighbouring countries will cite Nigeria as a negative example, then we must know as leaders of this country that certain things are not going well, and we must change the way we do things.”
He described Governor Fayose as a man who has the courage to lead his people, noting that he never compromised anything that had to do with the interest of the people of Ekiti State.
“He (Fayose) has done well and has defended and protected the interest
of the people of Ekiti State. We are here for infrastructural development. While here, I have inspected the High Court complex that was commissioned … (Thursday). I have inspected the market being constructed. I was a part of commissioning of the new Governor’s Office and I have inspected the office. This night I am commissioning the Flyover. Everybody is talking about this flyover which is not just the first in Ekiti State but the first flyover of its kind in Nigeria.
“The resources of Ekiti State is small compared to many other states. It is a feat to have this kind of projects done here. We have to thank the vision of such a dynamic man Ayodele Fayose who is the Governor of the State.
Jonathan also commended Fayose in the area of education, stressing that any leader who wanted to develop and liberate his people would first treat education as a priority. “Anybody who does not encourage education wants to imprison the minds of the people so that he will continue to subjugate them and exploit them”, he said.
He described Ekiti people as a population that places high value on education. “Not too long ago we were surprised when Ekiti records in national examinations dropped so low. I was quite pleased when the records improved through the efforts of Governor Ayodele Fayose, of course supported by the Deputy Governor, a university professor that supervised the educational sector. So, anybody who can enhance education and improve the infrastructure of the state within the limits of the limited resources available to the state has a good vision for the state.”