…Says MEND Was Hired To Kill Him
…Accused Buhari Of Weakening The Military
President Goodluck Jonathan Thursday fired at the opposition, All Progressive Congress (APC) over the endorsement of its Presidential flag bearer, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, by the Movement for Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), wondering why an endorsement by a criminal organization is desirable.
But speaking in Lagos at the flag-off of his presidential campaign, Jonathan said having made a failed attempt on his life in the October 1, 2010 bomb blast in Abuja, there was no way a criminal organization like MEND would have supported his re-election.
“I’m from the Niger Delta. On October 1, 2010 some enemies recruited MEND to try to assassinate me. Their plan was to kill me. A few days ago, some newspapers wrote, ‘MEND Endorses Buhari’. Of course, there is no how a criminal organization that wanted me dead turn around to support me,” argued Jonathan.
“The founder of MEND, Henry Okah is serving a long sentence in a prison in South African. It is not a Nigerian prison, so I could not have had a hand in sentencing him.
“So, if a criminal organization is supporting a particular presidential candidate, then you Nigerians should make up your minds on if this is the type of person you want to lead you,” he said.
The President also took a hard knock on APC over their criticism of his administration’s handling of war on terror as well as corruption.
According to him, the past administrations before him contributed to the poor present state of the Nigerian military infrastructure because of the neglect the military suffered, adding that the military government headed by Buhari also failed to equip the military.
“You cannot equip the military in one day. Even if you spend $10 billion dollar, you cannot equip the Navy, Army and the Air force in one day. It takes time,” he said.
Jonathan said the government at the initial stage shopped for weapon for the military through vendors, ” but now what we have done is a government to government procurement.”
He said his administration is committed to fighting corruption, but would not just arrest and detain suspected corrupt officials, arguing that such measure cannot stop corruption.
In a veiled reference to the botched smuggling of late Umaru Dikko from the United Kingdom to Nigeria by the Buhari led military regime, Jonathan accused his rival candidate of APC of engaging in draconian and extra-judicial measure in the name of fighting corruption.
“Is that the king of past you want to return Nigeria to,” Jonathan asked his teeming supporters warning them that a vote for Buhari in the February 14 election is a vote for retrogression and anti-rule of law.