15th September, 2010
President Goodluck Jonathan this morning stole the limelight from Nigeriaâ€™s former militaryÂ president, Gen. Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, as he fast-forwarded his plan to declare hisÂ ineterest in running for the presidency, using the new social network medium, Facebook. OnÂ his Facebook page, Nigeriaâ€™s president formally announced that he will be contesting for theÂ election, about the same time that Babangida was staging a big rally of a medley ofÂ political forces, some spent, some active at the Eagles Square in Abuja, to also make aÂ formal declaration of intent.
In a statement posted today on facebook, Jonathan said that after he had consulted widely inÂ the six geopolitical zones in the country as well as with members of his party, the Peopleâ€™sÂ Democratic Party, PDP, etc., he is offering himself as presidential candidate in theÂ forthcoming 2011 election.
He spoke of his achievements since he took over power following the death of formerÂ president, Umaru Yarâ€™Adua on 5 May this year and his desire to transform the country ifÂ given the mandate.
President Jonathan, who said he will be making a formal declaration on Saturday, 18Â September, also called on Nigerians for support and prayers â€œso that together we canÂ liberate our country from the confines of self-inflicted wounds and limitations of theÂ past.â€
The President will stage a formal rally on Saturday to announce his plans.
A few minutes before noon, IBB rode in an open sports utility vehicle, SUV, with formerÂ Rivers State Governor, Dr. Peter Odili, the CEO of Daar Communication, owners of AIT andÂ Raypower, Dr. Ramond Dokpesi and a few other supporters.
Speakers at the Eagle Square, Abuja, venue of the IBB 2011 declaration flaunted IBBâ€™sÂ experience as his foremost qualification to lead Nigeria, 17 years after he â€˜stepped asideâ€™Â from power.
Chairman of the occasion and a former president of the Senate, Chief Ken Nnamani, in aÂ welcome address, was the first to recount IBBâ€™s experience as his remarkable qualificationÂ to grab the nationâ€™s number one political seat.
Amid shouts of â€œIBB, Powerâ€ and â€œPDP, Power to the People,â€ Dokpesi noted that 17 yearsÂ after IBB left office, health, educational institutions are in ruins while security of livesÂ and properties cannot be guaranteed.
Speaking in a similar vein, Niger State Governor, Dr. Muazu Babangida Aliyu, said the peopleÂ of the state are solidly behind their child, IBB, who he described as humble, courageous andÂ experienced for the task of rebuilding decaying infrastructure in Nigeria.
Former Senate President Nnamani, while addressing the supporters, said he expected aÂ competitive presidential primaries within the ruling Peopleâ€™s Democratic Party, PDP, withÂ â€œan illustrious son like IBBâ€ joining the race.
He described the declaration as historic, expressing the hope that the party will ensure aÂ free and fair contest.
All the speakers expressed confidence in IBB to effect the much desired change in Nigeria,Â flaunting his experience.
They also declared him a detribalised Nigerian who could muster the support and cooperationÂ of Nigerians across tribal, regional and religious divides.
Some of the dignitaries at the Eagle Square include: Chief Alex Akinyele, former Speakers ofÂ the House of Representatives, Ghali Naâ€™Abba and Aminu Bello Masari, Adamawa State GovernorÂ Murtala Nyako and Zamfara State Governor Mahmud Shinkafi.
â€”Oluokun Ayorinde &Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Nnamdi Felix / Abuja