Nigeria's President Goodluck Jonathan announces he will run for re-election

Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (R) and Nigerian Vice President Namadi Sambo greet supporters at a ceremony in Abuja on November 11, 2014 (AFP Photo/Kolawole Oshiyemi)

Nigeria‘s President Goodluck Jonathan on Tuesday declared that he will seek a second term of office at next year’s general election.

Goodluck Jonathan has been President of Nigeria since 2010 following the death of former President Umaru Yar’Adua. Jonathan won the presidential elections in 2011.

Nigeria is Africa’s most populous nation, largest economy, and top oil producer.

The 56-year-old Jonathan made his candidacy announcement in the nation’s capital, Abuja, to tens of thousands of supporters in the red, white, and green of his ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP), at a carefully orchestrated ceremony that included patriotic music, dancing, prayers, and speeches.

Nigeria goes to the polls to elect a new president on February 14, with Jonathan effectively given a free run at a second term after the PDP endorsed him as its only candidate.

Jonathan, in his trademark black fedora hat and with a PDP scarf draped around his neck, called for four more years to build on his first term in office.

“I, Goodluck Ebele Azikiwe Jonathan, have accepted to present myself on the platform of the PDP,” Jonathan told PDP supporters at the mass rally.

“It is now time to look to the future. With your tremendous support, we have collectively done so much in the last three and half years but to take our country to the next level, there is still more to be done,” he said.

His supporters took out four-page newspaper advertisements on Monday, calling for Nigerians to “be a witness to history” and saying Jonathan’s candidacy was “in response to Nigerians’ demand”.

“Nigerians endorsed Goodluck Jonathan for continuity,” the adverts ran, claiming that more than 17.8 million had so far endorsed Jonathan’s candidacy.

According to the country’s main opposition, the All Progressives Congress (APC), Jonathan’s tenure has been far from a success, particularly on security and his perceived failure to tackle Boko Haram. Violence by Boko Haram has claimed more than 10,000 lives in five years and Jonathan has in recent months seen the apparent loss of more than a dozen towns to fighters in the far northeast.

Jonathan has also come under fire for his lackluster response to the mass abduction of 276 schoolgirls in April and his decision to be seen partying 24 hours after the kidnapping. According to reports, 219 girls are still missing.

During Jonathan’s candidacy announcement, he addressed the issue of Boko Haram and the abductions. “This has cast a dark cloud over our nation, but we will surely win the war on terror,” he said. “We will surely get our daughters freed and defeat terror in our country.”