President Goodluck Jonathan has got a big boost to his presidential campaign with the declaration by Labor Party that all its candidates and voters on Saturday will vote for the President.
Barely 72 hours to the presidential relay race, the Party endorsed President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, singling him out as the only genuine hope for the future of Nigeria.
According to the party, Jonathan is the only candidate that met the party’s criteria of level-headedness, humility, cognate experience, sound educational background, selflessness, passion for national integration and conciliation.
National Chairman of the Party, Chief Dan Nwanyanwu, who announced the endorsement after its National Executive Council, NEC, meeting in the presence of Ondo State governor, Olusegun Mimiko, and Bayelsa State governorship candidate of the party, Timi Alaibe, said the party desired for Nigeria a president with democratic credentials.
The party’s position came as Governor Olusegun Mimiko said “President Jonathan has demonstrated capacity to rise against some of the undesirable trends of his party.
“For the first time, Nigeria conducted an election and the world is commending us. The success of the election is predicated upon Jonathan’s resolve not to interfere with the work of INEC.”
“He has proven to Nigerians that he can rise against the very bad traits of the PDP. That is why I feel comfortable with this endorsement”.
Continuing the Labour Party Chairman said Nigeria had grown past the era of experimentation and gambling in its consideration for the election of candidates into the office President.
According to him, superficial sentimentality, ethnicity, religious affiliation and other mundane issues must not be factored into the process of electing a President for Nigeria in the modern world.
He said: “The Labour Party is of the strong view that the next President of Nigeria must be a person whose commitment to the rule of law and due process can be trusted and relied upon.
“A lawless society breeds anarchy and stifles economic development. Nigeria needs a President that has the will power and moral rectitude to insist on the rule of law, fight against corruption, human rights, citizenship rights, security of life and property etc.
“Nigeria requires a President who will not hesitate to sanction any erring officers who through actions of omission or commission fail to deliver on their specific responsibilities. Democracy demands openness and transparency.
“The NEC of our great party put all the presidential candidates for the 2011 Presidential election on the scale of the above criteria.
NEC unanimously arrived at the conclusion that President Jonathan met all the requirements stipulated above and towered head and shoulder above other presidential candidates.
“NEC therefore endorsed President Jonathan and recommends him to all Nigerians to be elected as President on the 16th April 2011.”
On allegations by former Lagos State governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, that Labour Party leadership collected inducements of N3billion to endorse Jonathan, Nwanyanwu said “We don’t respond to idle talks. We don’t have time. The ACN made several efforts for us to endorse them, it never worked out because we have our own agenda.
“We will not allow anybody to add, subtract, and enforce anything on us as a party because agenda is not the same”.
International News Organisation, Reuters, reporting Labor Party support for Jonathan, the candidate for People’s Democratic Party, quoted Dan Nwanyanwu: “Jonathan “is the most qualified candidate,” adding that the party, which won 11 seats in last week’s parliamentary election, will not field a candidate for the presidential vote, he said.
Eighteen candidates will challenge Jonathan in this week’s poll, including Muhammadu Buhari, a northern Muslim and former military ruler who is representing the Congress for Progressive Change.
Nuhu Ribadu, the former head of the country’s anti- corruption agency, is standing as a candidate for the Action Congress of Nigeria.
The All Progressive Grand Alliance Party, Nigeria’s third- biggest opposition group, will also back Jonathan in the vote, Chairman Victor Umeh, said on Feb. 11.