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President Goodluck Jonathan has declared that his administration is not in dialogue with any faceless sect in tackling the current security challenges, assures of continued subsidy regime in 2013, sustained fight against corruption, provision of housing, power, roads and other sectors of the nation’s economy.
| President Jonathan in media chat speaks on security, anti corruption, housing, infrastructures, others |
Nov 19, 2012, 11:38
The President made the disclosure Sunday, November 18 in a Presidential media chat broadcast on television and radio network which was moderated by Kudu Abubakar of the Nigeria Television Authority, (NTA) with Mr. Ikeddy Isiguzo, Chairman of the Editorial Board of Vanguard, Mr. Martins Oloja, Editor of The Guardian and Gbemi Olujobi, Editor Saturday Mirror as panelists.
In response to a question, the President declared that Boko Haram sect is still operating under cover and as such it would be difficult for the government to dialog with unknown persons.
“Presently the government is not dialoging with any group; there is no dialogue between the government and Boko Haram, though, there was news of a team that is talking about dialogue, but they have no face; you don’t have anybody to discuss with. So you can’t discuss anything with a faceless group; there is nobody that is coming out to say he wants to discuss on behalf of the group. So as far as we are concerned nobody, so no dialogue is going on,” President Jonathan declared.
Responding to former President Obasanjo’s recommendation of the Odi treatment as panacea to the Boko Haram insurgency, the President said that Odi invasion was a failure as it did not addressed the challenge of insurgency in the Niger Delta hence the adoption of the amnesty programme by the Late Yar’Adua’s administration in which he was the Vice President.
“I can give you the narrative of what led to the Odi crisis. The peak of the militancy was when 12 police officers were killed, that was cold blooded murder and that made the Federal government to now invade Odi. After that invasion, myself and the governor entered Odi, ordinarily, the governor and his deputy are not supposed to move under such situation, but we entered and saw some dead people. Most of the people that died in Odi were mostly old men, women and children, none of the militants was killed,” he stated.
“If bombarding Odi was to solve the problem, then it was never solved and of course if the attack on Odi had solved the problem of militancy in the Niger Delta, then the Yar’ Adua government would not have come up with the Amnesty programme. So, that should tell you that the attack on Odi never solved the militancy problem and we had more challenges after that attack on Odi,” President Jonathan maintained.
Dispelling the speculation of removal of fuel subsidy, the President who assured that there would be no removal of subsidy in January, 2013 attributed the current fuel scarcity across the country partly on human element and the fallout of different investigations being conducted in the sector.
“There are a lot of issues associated with the current fuel situation in Nigeria. There is also the human factor. In Benin Republic, for example, there is no fuel queue, but all their fuel is from Nigeria. When we are through with sanitizing the oil sector, the system will improve and fuel queues will go away,” he said.
He however disclosed that subsidy regime would have to be revisited for investors who already have licenses to invest in refineries in the country noting that the present fuel crisis across the country would be resolved only if private investors were attracted to build refineries in the country.
He said the administration was working towards adopting the Canadian model which has 16 refineries owned by private individuals, but managed under a deregulated system reiterating that for the private sector to be encouraged to invest in building refineries, the issue of subsidy must be resolved.
“For those people who have been given licenses to build refineries do so, the government must be seen to resolve the issue of subsidy, as people will be concerned about what gets to them after investing huge resources in that venture,” he maintained.
On anticorruption, the President disclosed that government has been fighting the phenomenon frontally starting with electoral corruption, corruption in the procurement and distribution of fertilizers and tractors adding that currently experts are conducting forensic audit of the oil gas industry to ascertain its financial situation and level of degeneration.
“We decided to sanitise the electoral system, dealing with corruption associated with the electoral process. In most cases, people manipulate themselves into office; state governors, local government chairmen and others manipulate themselves into offices without being voted for, thereby posing as problems for the country,” he stated.
Speaking on the policy of monetization, while admitting that the policy was theoretically fantastic but difficult to implement, the President who noted that abandoning it would amount to policy which he pointed out would not be good for the nation’s image.
He however assured that efforts are being made by the government to reposition the nation’s mortgage sector so that government officials could assess mortgage loans to buy houses at tolerable interest rates.
On the reported cancellation of the contract between the administration and Manitoba Hydro Limited for the management of the transmission lines of the Power Holding Company of Nigeria, PHCN, President Jonathan stated that the contract has not been cancelled.
”Manitoba’s contract has not been revoked. There were some issues raised because of misunderstanding. In 2006 when privatization started, Manitoba and others also bided and as that time the BPE that handled the whole transaction noticed that there were some confusion and they placed procurement of Manitoba as a consultant to manage our transmission and set the process of the privatization,” he stated.
“Former heads of state are probably shareholders in some companies I don’t think they own any company of their own but no matter what, these companies bided and they will be assessed technically so you will not know if it is owned by a former head of state or not,” he stated further on the privatization of PHCN.
Responding to a question in which the sender said the president would go down in history as the best president if he fixes the Benin-Ore Road and solves the power problem, the President Jonathan asserted that he would be the best president.
Commenting on the allegation that several billion of naira was budgeted for feeding in the Presidency in the 2012 budget which has generated public concern, the President explained that are a lot of government agencies lumped up in the Presidency and such would soon be moved out to clear the ambiguities associated with the seeming heavy budget attributed to the Presidency.
On the President proposal for a single term of six years and on if he would be contesting the 2015 presidential elections, the President who pledged to align himself with Nigerians if the citizens choose to retain the two-term tenure system for executive office holders explaining further,
“There is a four-year tenure which is quite short if you look at the African scenario. Most other African countries have six years and some seven years. Four years is very short time for a president to make an impact. Immediately you start talking about elections, you get diverted, give us time. Before you ask Mr. President whether he will contest or not, give me time. I don’t want to distract members of my cabinet.”
“I plead with journalists; it is too early to ask a sitting president whether or not he will contest elections and this is one of the reasons we agitated for this single tenure issue. Because if a president tells you today that he is contesting election, it will generate a lot of issues. If I say I am not contesting election, my cabinet members will easily resign and go because all of them are qualified to contest that position,” he stated further.
“To know if I would contest again, I will ask you to wait till 2014. Give me some time for me and my cabinet to do our work. I do not want to distract my team in our quest,” he added.
On the insinuations of the declining dominance of his party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the country following consecutive election losses in Edo and Ondo states, the President dismissed the thought.
“It is even dangerous for this country if PDP, for example, should control all the states. Then there is no democracy and that is one of the challenges that we have conducting PDP primaries, because in some states, you look at the primaries as the election before the election. Immediately you secure the PDP ticket, you are already the governor, it is not in the best interest of this country,” he said.
“The PDP worked very hard, the PDP got second position in Ondo election and in some of them, the difference was quite narrow. Except for Imo State, in Ondo and Edo states that you mentioned, we contested against incumbent governors,” he noted.
“If you look at the whole scenario around Ondo State, Mimiko, himself was a PDP man. When Mimiko contested the election the first time, his running mate was the state chairman of the PDP. It was more like a PDP family but divided into two, so that I don’t see that as a major challenge to PDP. It is all for PDP to go back in that state and put its house in order. I believe that in the next election, the PDP family will come together and PDP will rule Ondo State. We will win naturally immediately we put our house in order because we are all PDP members,” the President added.
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