I’ll rid Nigeria of corruption if given another chance – Jonathan
President Goodluck Jonathan said on Monday that his successor would not have any difficulty fighting corruption because of the technology his administration is putting in place to fight the menace.
Addressing party supporters at the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, campaign rally in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, Mr. Jonathan, who is the presidential candidate of the party, promised to end corruption in Nigeria, if given the mandate to run the country for another four years.
“I promise you if you vote for me and I come back and serve this country in the next four years, the next persons that will become the president of this country will not talk about corruption because we are working on technology and we will use technology to block all these areas through which people are corruptly enriching themselves,” he said.
Mr. Jonathan, who has severally accused of condoning corruption, added: “Today we are talking about IT. We are no longer in the analogue generation. So we want to deploy IT to solve problems and I tell you in the next five years nobody will harass the next president for not fighting corruption because I will solve the problem of corruption in this country.”
The presidential candidate of the All Progressive Congress, APC, Muhammadu Buhari, had promised during one of his campaign rallies last week that he would jail corrupt leaders.
However, Mr. Jonathan, who assured of his commitment to stamp out corruption, said he would not do so by sending corrupt Nigerians to jail.
He said his administration has prosecuted more people than any past administration in the country.
He said, “But let me assure Nigerians about my commitment and my method of solving the problem of corruption or fighting is not the number of people I tried and jailed.
“In terms of people I tried and jailed, maybe I will give you the statistics on my subsequent outing because I have asked them to give me the comprehensive statistics.
“We have tried more Nigerians. More Nigerians have been jailed within this period, but we followed due process. But I used to tell people that even if I tried 10 million Nigerians and jailed five million Nigerians for corruption, I have not solved the corruption problem.
“For you to stop corruption, you must use modern technology to prevent people from stealing. And that is what we are working on. The oil industry is a good area. We are working very hard. I don’t just want to say certain things. All these people have so much money that they will do everything to stop us.”
Mr. Jonathan criticised Mr. Buhari for promising to abolish the office of the First lady if he was elected.
The president said he would not do so because the office and other women associations are used as a channel to empower the country’s women.
He said, “They said they are going to ban the office of the first lady, they are going to ban the office of the governors’ wives, they are going to ban the office of local government chairman, they are going to ban the Defence officers wives, army officers wives association, naval officers wives association, police officers wives association.
“But me, having served as deputy governor, governor, vice president and president, I can tell you that these offices are helping us to mobilize our women. And these offices are encouraged to set up NGOs. They money they spend does not come from government budget. They run NGOs.
“Nigeria had a lot of philanthropists. They want spend money and they use some of these channels to empower our women. You don’t have to turn them to baby factory alone.
“I promise the Nigeria that if we open international magazines parading women I want to see Nigerian women in those magazines. The Nigerian women on their own have struggled to reach the highest positions in their country. I am making deliberate effort to try to put you on the international limelight. That is what I am doing. I don’t believe that you are designed to pound yam for me.
“I don’t think your duty is merely to procreate. But you cannot be a baby factory manufacturing children and doing nothing because my conviction is that as a biologist, the brain God gave men and women equally. Physically men are more endowed but both men and women and equally endowed in brain.
Mr. Jonathan said he had always believed that “any human population that does not give equal opportunity to women you are not exploiting 50% of their brains.”
He added, “For me we must exploit 50% of their brains for the purpose of developing this country. That is why you see so many women holding top offices in my cabinet and we will encourage them the more. I don’t believe women should not be given top positions. If that is the belief of others so be it. A vote in 2015 is a vote to liberate them or imprisoned them to the kitchen.”
Mr. Jonathan paid tribute to some Yoruba leaders, including the first Premier of Western Region, Obafemi Awolowo, the late Chairman of the defunct National Party of Nigeria, NPN, Adisa Akinloye, a former governor of Oyo State, Lam Adesina, a former Minister of Justice, Richard Akinjide and the late Lamidi Adedibu, all of who he described as “great men who have led the country and are still leading.”
He added that “We want to model our leadership after them because they achieved greatness.”
Mr. Jonathan described Ibadan as the political headquarters of the South West just as he paid tribute to the people of the region.
According to him, it was the people of the region that encouraged him to convoke the 2014 National conference.
“Ibadan is a leading light to all parts of this country. South West has played great in education. The south west encouraged me to start the National Dialogue. I have to give that accolade to the South West. You donated one of yours who was the pioneer to set the agenda,” the president said.