2023: I’m worried by negative energy towards elections – Goodluck Jonathan


Former Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan has expressed worry over what he described as ‘negative energy’ ahead of the 2023 general elections.


Speaking during the commissioning of the 1.15 kilometre Afi-Uko Nteghe Uda Bridge on Etebi-Enwang Road, in Mbo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State on Monday, Jonathan said he has observed the level of bitterness in campaigns, saying that politics is not about fighting, insulting or abusing one’s opponent.


While urging politicians to market their ideas during campaigns, the ex-president said politics of bitterness does not bring development to any nation.


He said: “I am a bit worried by the negative energy generated ahead of the 2023 elections. We have noticed a level of bitterness in our politics that does not bring development and I plead with politicians that marketing is about marketing your ideas. Politics is not about fighting, is not insulting, is not about abusing.


“We have been reading in the newspapers and social media of how billboards of presidential candidates, governorship candidates are pulled down and I believe by hoodlums, but sometimes, they say some governments even support those kinds of things.


“If you are a part of the team doing that, then know that you are among the unfortunate miscreants, wolves, virus or pathogen that is really decomposing our democracy. Please stop doing that; but in all these, I believe the security services have a lot to do.”


He said further: “I believe anybody who commits a crime should not be covered under politics. Arson is arson and is never statute-bound, so for somebody who commits a crime, burns houses, kills people, the record must be kept and whenever the investigation is completed, such people should be prosecuted; that is the only way people would stop doing this.


“But if people commit criminal offences and walk away, then, of course, other people would be encouraged to do same. So security services in Nigeria have a lot to do, they must not spare any criminal.”


Jonathan who described the bridge as one of the longest in West Africa, commended Governor Udom Emmanuel for his developmental achievements, saying his administration has good intentions for the Akwa Ibom people.


Also speaking, Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State said he has satisfied his conscience with his achievements across the state, adding that despite criticisms and the falsehood peddled against his government, he has tried not to be distracted.


Emmanuel commended the community for supporting the construction of the project, saying the project confirms his promise to open up the riverine areas.


He said: “I said in my second term that we are going to open up the riverine areas. In Nigeria today, I think we are very few in terms of governors who can have 31 local government areas and development touching 31 local government areas simultaneously.


“This is the only place a subnational is signing a signature in the sky, on the land, in the water. Today, if I had gotten the support of the Federal Government, we would have gone far in this area. This is where the industrial hub for the future [of] Nigeria lies.”


Describing the bridge, the Commissioner of Works, Prof Eno Ibanga said the 1.15km bridge sits on 412 piles with a minimum depth of 30 metres each, segmented into 52 spans of 22.5 metres, which sits on 408 precast beams.


On his part, the Managing Director of AMITEC Construction Company, Aiman Saimua said the company was awarded the project four years ago but the COVID-19 pandemic caused a delay in the project which was completed two weeks behind schedule.

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