17 January 2014

Nigeria: I Conducted 2011 Polls Standing On One Leg - Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan on Thursday night asked the international community to assist Nigeria to ensure that the 2015 general election is freer and fairer than past elections, saying he conducted the 2011 polls while "standing on one leg."

Speaking during the annual cocktail he hosted for members of the diplomatic corps in Nigeria at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Jonathan said having secured the electoral mandate of Nigerians, he was now more stable and determined to make next year's polls better than 2011.

Informing the envoys that their countries' support was needed in the 2015 electioneering year, the president said Nigeria could not do it all alone.

According to him, national and global development had been thwarted by the menace of terrorism, adding that as 2014 gradually passed by, sustained efforts through dialogue and other means must be mounted against terrorism.

Jonathan said that, while peace was requisite for development, terror attacks had claimed many lives and disrupted economic activities world over.

"Until terrorism is wiped out, no world leader should sleep. In Nigeria, terrorism is a menace that must be defeated. The scourge has become multi-faceted," he maintained.

Commending the diplomats whose countries had supported Nigeria with training and equipment, the president said, "We thank you for that. We are hopeful that with all the efforts we are making, this menace will be successfully tackled."

The president said the proposed national conference was imperative since Nigerians felt that the 1999 Constitution that was midwifed by the military and still in place today, was not properly and fully deliberated upon or screened by the people.

"Instead of people throwing missiles, including verbal, at each other, we have decided that they all come together in one place and talk," he added.

Dean of the diplomatic corps and Cameroon ambassador to Nigeria, Salaheddine Ibrahima noted that 2014 was very special because of the almagamation of North and South provinces 100 years ago.

He said, "We the diplomats feel lucky to be part of the event and we extend our hearty congratulations to Nigerians. Being a pre-election year, and recalling the way you conducted the 2011 polls which made us all proud as it was adjudged the freest and fairest, we pledge to give our support in any way possible to ensure the success of the 2015 election."

He commended Jonathan for his efforts at smoothening relations with other countries which had shown in the number of high-level visits from leaders across the world.

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