President Goodluck Jonathan has begged the North, specifically the North-East geo-political zone, to support and vote for him on Saturday. Jonathan in a letter titled, ‘My dear Arewa brothers and sisters’, which he personally signed, said it would be unfair for anyone to blame him for the Boko Haram menace which resulted in the death of over 15,000 Nigerians.
The President admitted that his administration initially underestimated the menace and that was why the terrorists were able to kill many Nigerians. He added that the menace was compounded by the lack of equipment.
The President, however, said the successes recorded by the Armed Forces in the last six weeks showed that he was indeed capable of curbing terrorism. He, therefore, called on northerners to vote for him in order to perfect the work he had started.
He said, “I do understand that my first duty to you at this time is to rid the entire North of the menace of Boko Haram and secure your lives and property. You and I know that nothing in Nigeria’s past prepared us for the unprecedented reign of unmitigated terror, mayhem and destruction which these murderous terrorists have visited on parts of our country. The initial slowness in effectively responding to the threat was as a result of the asymmetrical nature of the war on terror and the need for us to properly equip our security agencies for the successful prosecution of the war.
“Given the recent successes recorded by our Armed Forces with your cooperation and patriotic support, the cooperation of our neighbours as well as the laudable gallantry of security agents, I am confident that in the shortest possible time, the menace of Boko Haram would have been eliminated for good.”
Jonathan’s inability to curb terrorism had made him very unpopular in some northern states to the extent that he was stoned in some of the states while he was campaigning. Jonathan said he and the people of the South-South geo-political zone supported his late predecessor, Umaru Yar’Adua who was from the North.
He, therefore, urged them to do the same for him. He said, “Because Nigeria today is in desperate need of stability, I plead with you to join me in building on the foundation of the traditional alliance between us which has always served to keep Nigeria one strong, united and prosperous nation,” he said.
The soaring popularity of Jonathan’s main rival, Maj.Gen Muhammadu Buhari (retd), of the All Progressives Congress, among the Arewa community seems to have jolted the President. The Vice President, Namadi Sambo, also met northerners in Lagos on Thursday [Mar. 26] to beg them to vote for Jonathan for the sake of national peace and unity.
Incidentally, the wife of the President, Patience Jonathan, who has been campaigning for her husband, has avoided visiting the North-West and the North-East.