Daily Trust (Abuja)

10 January 2014

Nigeria: Jonathan - North Has More Resources Than N/Delta

President Goodluck Jonathan has said the north has more resources than his native Niger Delta.

Jonathan spoke in Abuja yesterday during an open-door meeting with leaders and members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the North-West zone.

He said the Niger Delta has only oil, but that the land is not good for farming.

However, he said the North has the best agricultural land, from the "green savannah to the Sudan Savannah to the Sahel Savannah to the Mambila Plateau area, we've the best ecological zone and this is where the resources are.

"The solid mineral is there. Let's just work together and you will see how much we can transform the economy of this country that will benefit all of us.

"Our strength is in our diversity, not in the oil. There are small countries that produce more oil but nobody hears about them. The oil we've in Nigeria is very small. If you divide the oil you've by your population, you'll know you've nothing.

"For anything that happens in this country the whole world is shaken, why? Because of our diversity, and these are areas we must exploit to our maximum advantage. What we should be talking is the next 100 years and I believe then, we'll not be talking about north and south. We'll be talking about who is going to the moon, who is manufacturing what?"

He accused his critics for not thinking before criticising his administration.

He challenged them to compare what his administration had done within two years and eight months to all other administrations in the country and outside.

According to him, "There is so much noise in the media whether is electronic and newspapers or even social media. Sometimes, it seems as if the world is coming to an end. At times when they come to me with some of these things, I smile and say from 1959 down, the story hasn't changed. Some people call themselves progressives. They've done that before. Did they change the system? Today, if you can abuse Jonathan, you're a progressive, if you can attack the federal government, you're a progressive, even if nothing is happening in your state, you're a progressive. We've seen the progressives.

"By May this year, we'll be three years old and by May 2014, we'll be four years old. And I challenge some of those who criticise without thinking to compare what we've done in the two years eight months with that of any other administrations in this country and outside."

Jonathan also boasted that the PDP would remain the ruling party in the country despite the series of defections it had suffered, adding that some were dumping the PDP for another party they did not know."

"Nobody should come and deceive you to cross over to the other side that you don't know what is there. Some people are crossing to where they don't know.

Jonathan also said that his administration is not against the north.

The president described the allegation that his administration was against the north as a political blackmail.

"Sometimes people say Jonathan is anti-north, he doesn't want to develop the north, and sometimes, they sell these ideas to people from outside, especially those from the United States of America. You Nigerians believe the West must say something for us to listen.

"I often use myself as a good example. I grew up in a peasant home; if I did not go to school there is no way I would have been here today. What has made me to be here today is education. They said I'm lucky. If I didn't go to school, will luck bring me to be president of Nigeria?"

He said if he were against the North he wouldn't have set up nine universities and the Almajiri schools, assigned N10 billion from the ecological fund to tackling desert encroachment and approved N14 billion as intervention fund for some states in the north.

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