President Goodluck Jonathan is counting on votes from rural areas to upstage the perceived poll surge of the opposition All Progressives Congress, Maj. General Muhammadu Buhari.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal, Jonathan revealed his electoral permutations, six weeks to the rescheduled elections, counting from today, saying farmers would vote for him because he has made access to fertilizers easier under his watch.
“Yes people in the city vote, they make so much noise, but the bulk of the voters come from the countryside,” he said. “For you to know whether I win this election or not, go interview the farmers,” he told his interviewer.
Jonathan does not believe other mounting problems, such as the fallen oil prices, the devaluation of the Naira, will affect his poll chances.
Mr. Jonathan also reportedly dismissed other frequently mentioned public concerns. Reports of corruption in the military were exaggerated, as were human-rights abuses, he said. There were few immediate actions needed to clean up the petroleum sector.
The opposition has accused his military of tilting the election his way. Last week, an opposition-leaning website published an audio recording of several military leaders allegedly conspiring to rig a governor’s election that took place in June 2014. A U.S.-based voice-verification firm, Guardian Consulting LLC, confirmed the authenticity of the tape to a 95% accuracy rate.
Mr. Jonathan said he saw no reason to probe whether Nigeria’s democracy had been contravened. “It’s all fabrications,” he said of the audio. “Why should I investigate things that are not real?”
“It’s very sad,” said Kayode Fayemi, the incumbent who lost that election. “The military has lost any democratic control.”
Concerning the 1.5 million people uprooted by Boko Haram, Mr. Jonathan said the government had provided them with enough funding.
“Whenever you have so many people who are displaced there must be stories,” he said. “Even in our small families, some children get hungry sometimes, but that doesn’t mean you’ve not been feeding them.”