I regret allowing insecurity and false reports on corruption appear to cloud my administration – Jonathan

By Post Nigeria February 23, 2015 07:00 Updated

I regret allowing insecurity and false reports on corruption appear to cloud my administration – Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan on Friday gave the rationale behind using the Military during the electoral process, explaining that it was not a new phenomenon.

He said to his knowledge, since the beginning of this Fourth Republic, the Military has always helped the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, in moving election materials and safeguarding the entire process and it is just the height of mischief for some people to start questioning the role of the Military in elections now.

“The elections in 1998 in all the States of the Federation, were conducted in December 1998.

“In Bayelsa State, because of the restive environment, the Military couldn’t guarantee elections. Our elections were deferred for one month.

“We wanted to make sure that they moved security personnel from both Rivers and Delta States to Bayelsa to conduct elections; and the Military were involved.

“So if someone wakes up and says Military… I look at some of them, who are Governors and I wonder.

“Up till this time and throughout my period in Bayelsa State, moving INEC materials is done by the Air Force, sometimes the Police.

“In terms of monitoring elections, no soldier or a Naval Officer or Air Force Officer goes to the polling unit. What they do is that they station them in areas where some people mobilise criminals to come with superior weapons to disrupt the elections,” he said.

Jonathan, said this Administration had no plans to intimidate people, and that the soldiers were not coming to stand with guns at the polling units.

“Police during elections are not meant to even carry arms; they are not meant to intimidate people, but if we expose them and there is no protection at all, you know what can happen.

“In the riverine areas, there will be the naval boats blocking every creek, so that if you want to move youths with weapons, they will intercept you.

“Soldiers are not coming to the polling units for God’s sake. People just play politics with these issues. As if the present Administration wants to use soldiers to rig the elections, and people believe them,” he emphasised.

On corruption

President Jonathan said that one of his regrets in his first tenure was allowing insecurity and false reports of corruption overshadow his achievement, explaining that his Administration had taken giant strides in tackling corruption and it was yielding results.

“The next thing is the issue of corruption, and I used to tell people: if I don’t want to fight corruption, I wouldn’t have brought in (Ibrahim) Lamorde as chairman of the EFCC.

“I came on board as the Vice-President of Yar’Adua, (Nuhu) Ribadu, you all know the story, was removed. Lamorde was Ribadu’s second in command, he was the Director of Operations, and was removed from the EFCC back to the Police.

“Farida was appointed and she was trying her best, because she used to brief me from time to time. We had to drop her because of reports from both within this country and outside.

Given that Ribadu and Lamorde were well-trained by the West, they argued that if I bring Lamorde back that EFCC would improve.

“If I am someone that doesn’t want to fight corruption I would not have listened and brought back Lamorde because he once investigated me.

“My in-law was detained here in Abuja for weeks but I sent for him and told him that Nigerians and non-Nigerians believed in him, so we would bring him to help EFCC, because he was the backbone of Ribadu. So we asked him to come and be the Head of the Agency.

“People often say that my body movement encourages corruption which is not true.

“Lamorde told me about their limitations, being in court and the court compromising. I then came up with some innovations again.

“We are doing our best to see that corruption is reduced. You can see that in the payroll system, we have eliminated corruption and theft including the agric sector. One major area that we will go into is the oil sector.

“So we are going to sanitise all the sectors, but I always believe that fighting corruption is not just about first arresting people and celebrating the arrest on television. We have to investigate and prosecute before publicity,” he said.