Trip to Brazil, Boko Haram, UNILAG, Fuel Subsidy Probe & More: Goodluck Jonathan Defends Himself at Presidential Media Chat

On Sunday 24th June 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan met with select representatives of top Nigerian media organizations where he discussed various issues facing Nigeria ranging from Boko Haram to the renaming of University of Lagos to Moshood Abiola University.

He also spoke on the fuel subsidy probe, declaration of his assets, provision of stable electric power supply and his recent trip to Brazil.

The live media chat was anchored by Ohi Alegbe with Tribune Editor, Edward Dickson; Ishak Modibo Kawu, Vanguard columnist and Maupe Ogun of Channels as panelists.

Here are some highlights of his responses to various questions:

On his recent trip to Brazil

“I have no regrets in going to Brazil; the threat of Boko Haram is painful because I have lost people and properties. One of the tactics of terrorists is to cripple government. When they hear that the President did not travel because of bombings, they celebrate. When I travel, Presidents whose countries have had similar incidences comes to advise and encourage me, saying the government should not stop its operations because of this.

“I was aware of the Kaduna bombings, but it is not the President that has to go there. We also needed to make a case for Lake Chad. The day the international community gets to know that the Nigerian President couldn’t travel because of terror, then we are finished. Boko Haram will not stop government from moving. We are moving; they cannot bring us to our knees. It must come to an end, this country must move forward.”

On the renaming of University of Lagos to Moshood Abiola University

“Most of the top universities in the world are named after people…Harvard and others. The change was made in line with Nigerian laws especially the ones relating to naming and change of name of an Institution”

“In establishing a University, the University is set up first, before it is sent to the National Assembly to ratify. In name change, we have to declare the new name before sending it to the National Assembly.

“There is no law that says that we must first of all consult with the National Assembly or the Senate of the University before coming up with the new name.”

On Boko Haram insurgency

“Nigeria will continue to move forward, Boko Haram or no Boko Haram. Boko Haram cannot stop Nigeria. We must stop Boko Haram.

“Boko Haram cannot bring us to our knees, this government must keep faith with our international business allies, notwithstanding the threat of the sect. We must do all in our powers to stop them and we must stop them.

“The Boko Haram are Nigerians. I will love a situation where the Boko Haram members will be trained to become beneficial citizens, we will dialogue with them but they have no face. For now, there is no negotiation going on.”

On why he refused to publicly declare his assets

“The issue of public asset declaration is a matter of personal principle. That is the way I see it, and I don’t give a damn about it, even if you criticize me from heaven.

“Initially I said they can talk about it from morning to night, I will not. I said it is a matter of principle. It is not proper. If one amends the law to say that only the President and the Vice should declare assets publicly, fine. But, presently everybody who is holding political office is expected to do, and I say it is not right. Those who made the law knew why they put the law that way. I could be investigated when I leave office.

“You don’t need to declare assets publicly; otherwise you are playing to the gallery. You don’t need to publicly declare assets. That’s a matter of principle. If I have to declare publicly, it means every political office holder will have to declare publicly. And it is not the right thing to do. That is my belief.”

On Electricity

“When we were campaiging, we didn’t know that Boko Haram will overtake the priorities of government.”

He encouraged Nigerians to be patient and that his government is currently in on-going discussions with top foreign companies. He assured Nigerians that the power tariff is designed to benefit poorer members of the society and that they will actually pay less under the new tariff system. Poorer citizens will be subsidized by charging wealthier citizens more, he explained. He noted that the power sector is particularly important to him as it affects other crucial sectors such as information technology.

On why he sacked his National Security Officer, Gen. Andrew Azazi

He said it was to conform with the changing tactics of the Boko Haram insurgency. “If you study the evolution of Boko Haram, they are changing their tactics every day, so you also have to change your staff and personnel to beat their styles.”

On the scandal rocking the fuel subsidy probe

“The PDP has a board of trustees and since the fuel subsidy probe report was made known, no PDP member was indicted in that report. So the claims that PDP was indicted are wrong. All the noise that the President is part of the Farouk sting operation is wrong.

“The questions on Farouk are questions you have to take up with the SSS. One thing I discovered is that criticizing Jonathan and Jonathan’s administration is a serious business among Nigerians. People don’t know that I initiated the subsidy probe before the Senate and the House of Representatives started it.”

Meanwhile, here are some statements made by the President yesterday that is already causing some controversy.

“Commend us on the Railway. We are progressing very well.”

“Nigeria is not broke; if we are broke, you wouldn’t see investors clamoring to come to Nigeria.”

“Hearing noise in the parliament does not mean that Mr. President and the National Assembly are fighting.”

“I promised Nigerians that I will not disappoint them; I stand by my promise.”

“Criticizing Jonathan and Jonathan administration is a big business.”

“I want to make sure that ordinary Nigerians will one day like me get here without a Godfather.”

“We are managing the Nigerian economy professionally; Yes I’m the president but I’m not the one managing the economy.”

“When I took over as president, I told my friends that people will abuse me till 2012 but in 2013 they will see result.”

What do you think about the President’s responses to the topics raised?

Please share your thoughts.

46 Comments on Trip to Brazil, Boko Haram, UNILAG, Fuel Subsidy Probe & More: Goodluck Jonathan Defends Himself at Presidential Media Chat
  • Anon June 25, 2012 at 3:48 am

    “That is the way I see it, and I don’t give a damn about it, even if you criticize me from heaven.” Wtf? He really is an idiot though!

    • Alero June 25, 2012 at 10:29 am

      “That is the way I see it, and I don’t give a damn about it, even if you criticize me from heaven.” I’d term that a very unpresidential statement. Looks like he has been learning a lot from his wife.

    • Ginika June 25, 2012 at 11:51 am

      But come sha, I just have one question, when General Sani Abacha was doing his thing what did we say about that? Alright let us say it was because it was a military regime. What about OBJ’s regime? What about Yar’adua’s regime?

      Anyway, I just hope that from henceforth we continue to be no nonesense tolerating people who will ready to bring down and take down any useless president. When I think of the likes of Babangida and how they squandered our money. How we had a blindfold + blanket covering our eyes. Thank God for ‘democracy’ that allows us to trash talk our presidents, LG, leaders (and the rest), we shall continue with the trend and maybe someday, we’ll protest them out of office.

    • Ijeoma June 25, 2012 at 6:42 pm

      LOL! But on the other hand, a plain-speaking president is a breath of fresh air, no? I must have been asleep when this asset declaration thing was making waves because this is the first I’m hearing of it. My priority is not even asset declaration. As things stand in this country, if they don’t want us to know the real figures, we won’t know. What I think we should be focusing on is this dramatic change that is supposed to take place between 2012 and 2013. Is it magic he has up his sleeve or what? Anyhoo, we’ll see. Hopefully we’re all still alive to witness it. Someone say Amen abeg.

    • deniyi June 25, 2012 at 7:42 pm

      When this man is soft spoken you say he is a fool, he gets tough and you say same.

      Its a real challenge leading Nigeria(ns) and am sure you wouldn’t do any better.

      The least you should do is support him or raise a one man motion to Impeach him. Best of luck

  • ola June 25, 2012 at 4:07 am

    His EXELLENCIES said he told his frd dat they will abuse him in 2012 nd they will enjoy in 2013 ok we will see may Gog protect us to dat tim and above dis year already finished.

  • B June 25, 2012 at 4:11 am

    SHAME!!!!!

  • B June 25, 2012 at 4:17 am

    You sack a man bcos BH is changing their tactics? Not bcos of compalcency and incompetence..

    Ppl are dying everywhere and there’s not empathy no declaration of emergency and now this is even more important than electricity. This same elecrticity that was there while you where removing fuel subsidy. You can keep Nigerians in darkness but increase their tarriff.

    • Turayo June 26, 2012 at 11:21 pm

      Thank you!! I was shaking my head at that reason. Really, because BH is changing their tactics? What is this, a fashion show? I hope BH keep changing their tactics, eventually you may change the office of presidency

  • Baba Usman Yashikira Kw June 25, 2012 at 4:34 am

    -greed, ungodliness, fear of paucity & on the whole, may be brain-teasser-works..

  • Nwaogu hipolyte June 25, 2012 at 4:42 am

    We pray that all the challenges this nation is facing will be over before the year runs out. 2013 is for total jubilation by the grace of GOD. GOD will help our leaders and give them more wisdom,knowledge and understanding to handle the situation. Thank you LORD.

  • Kehinde fasasi June 25, 2012 at 5:29 am

    It is quite disheartening judging the performances of this Govt in this state of socio-political and economic unrest. Before Mr President could be able to tackle Boko Haram, to be candid many people must ve gone into extinction. It is frankly a war between those that do not want to die (all Nigerians including Forces) and those that re fully prepared for death. Let us keep faith and stop unhealthy criticism. Mr President cannot sleep at home bcos of them and for the sake of Nigeria, oppositions should stop blindfolding people all in the name of Jonathan is a flop. Whereas, they ve known that before Tinubus greedily voted for him. Adam Smith has said it “it is not from the benevolence of the baker that we expect our bread but, the fact is selfish interest”

  • Concerned June 25, 2012 at 5:33 am

    Are these statements for real? A leader who should be reassuring nation of over 150million on his ineptitude as well as be apolegetic is rather rambling all sorts of nonsense. How can he be talking about not disappointing Nigerians when he is actually the disappointment. We need to commit Nigeria and its destiny into God’s care.

  • Onah Paul E June 25, 2012 at 5:36 am

    Well, we jst hope by 2013 as mr has said that they shall be result in their economic planing. May God help him.

  • kc June 25, 2012 at 5:37 am

    the president is human,nigeria is a spirit.think…all i see is nigerians yet to be.that only, i believe should be.

  • Ella June 25, 2012 at 6:37 am

    He is just a comedian…and he thinks Nigerians are laughing.

  • Ahmodu idris June 25, 2012 at 7:27 am

    Issue conernin boko haram i suggest make gov respound 2 them becos their interrest can not be compare with life of people. We can continue 2 be shading tears everyday

  • sasha June 25, 2012 at 8:47 am

    “When I took over as president, I told my friends that people will abuse me till 2012 but in 2013 they will see result.”

    meaning we should wait one another six months before we see any action?
    is ds guy serz??

  • eye June 25, 2012 at 9:19 am

    God bless Mr. President. God bless Nigeria.
    All those ignorant citizens criticizing Mr. President will one day look back and

    God Bless Mr. President. God Bless Nigeria.
    Let us all be hopefully that someday, one day, our country will find peace.
    We should keep praying for our leaders, that is the right thing to do and not the other way round!

    • doppleganger June 25, 2012 at 2:12 pm

      and how many people have to die before that one day comes huh?

  • sugaplum June 25, 2012 at 9:35 am

    He is a biiiiig JOKE!

    • Ginika June 25, 2012 at 11:58 am

      Please, tell me which of our past presidents in the last 19years has not been a big joke? Infact, let us rank the order of joke’ness from that time till now. Boko Haram are puppets and there is a puppet master. I do understand when he says “…Nigerians will one day like me get here without a Godfather”.

      Yes things have happened, but they also happened with other presidents so why are we crucifying only him for past sins of past presidents? Let us crucify ALL of them if that is the case, right?

  • Abs June 25, 2012 at 9:41 am

    He really said that? I mean all the stuff in quotes? ermmmm..

    http://www.abadawoode.blogspot.com

  • tito June 25, 2012 at 9:42 am

    uncle Jonaaaaa…… is just a clown… dnt know wot the likes of mainframe production r doing they shuld have given our dear president a comic role and he will get busy……… cant bilif all these came from a president of a country of over 150 million pple. smh#

  • Low June 25, 2012 at 9:47 am

    He gets my vote — my vote of no confidence.

  • Nigerian June 25, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Nigeria is in trouble if our president can confidently say he does not ”believe” or ”give a damn” about public asset declaration which is a part of the constitution (paragraph 11) ..It is also quite shameful and disheartening to realize that our elected president possesses the utterances of an uneducated fellow

  • ij June 25, 2012 at 9:57 am

    he really does know what to say to put our minds at ease doesn’t he? The light at the end of the tunnel is virtually non existent now. RUN FOR THE HILLS I SAY!!!

  • brownie June 25, 2012 at 10:19 am

    As in is this interview for real?? Seriously??? It can’t be…smh! I’m speechless….

  • efe June 25, 2012 at 10:38 am

    The president has not said anything cause no appropriate answer has been given to all the questions ask or issues presented before him.Na GOD hand we dey.

  • efe June 25, 2012 at 10:44 am

    l meant appropriate answers

  • irokoroots June 25, 2012 at 11:20 am

    “we will dialogue with them but they have no face. For now, there is no negotiation going on.”
    So after 1 year of constant bombing this guy claims to have made no progress!? Naija na wa o, we are in big trouble.

  • Partyrider June 25, 2012 at 12:35 pm

    Looooool…

  • Ilufoye Amos June 25, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    I wont thanks all the nigerians for their courage nd suport for the president, let me tell u my people with a little of my understanding i nd sure that to be a leader is not easy, i think what this man need now is our prayer.on the issue of boko haram how can he negociate with them when they turn themself to the spirit nd unilag issue d school should not cause d problem beco, d school belong to FG so they can used it for anyting they wont ,d only thing i observed is everyting is now politices

  • doppleganger June 25, 2012 at 2:08 pm

    this guy is a BIG JOKE!

    what kind of president talks like this?

    on the issue of the trip to brazil: you obviously neglected your people! what if after you left, the whole thing got outta control??? would you have had a place to come back to? these are HUMANS being slaughtered not chickens! just declare the boko haram an ITG!
    you don’t give a damn what the people that elected you think??? what good will it do the country investigating you after you leave office when you must have probably taken all you want for yourself?!

    on the issue of electricity: how can he even use boko haram as an excuse as to why the electricity is still a huge problem in the country!

    on the issue of boko haram: what do you know about loosing people???
    he says they will train them? to become what oh abeg? IED manufacturers or soldiers? cos i don’t see these guys sitting in a class room and learning jack! not when what they are against is actually EDUCATION of any kind!

    on the issue of sacked NSA: who cares who u sack?! just make sure the country is secure!!

    With a ship load of disrespect “mr president”, your advisers should all have their big toes smashed and so should you… right after you are publicly flogged!

  • olalekan daniels June 25, 2012 at 2:26 pm

    Mr President, dat wan too much oooh for National Television? odikwa risky

  • Edward vidon June 25, 2012 at 2:49 pm

    Mr president do not change ur personnel becos of tactics but becos of incompetence am a management graguate believe me even in de personnel mgt they demote or sack employee base on competency not on tactics. Thank you.

  • afam June 25, 2012 at 2:51 pm

    this guys a big JOKE always knew he didnt have the balls to rule this nation. Nigeria is not to be ran like a village meeting, its sovereign nation. our politics is too sentimental and the non challancy of this government has just been shown in this interview. Im an igbo man but always believed that buhari was and will always be a better candidate for NIGERIA.

  • Sandy June 25, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    This boko haram issue is not religious at all. It is very much political from my discussions with fellow Nigerians. Lets be wise, some so called political “godfathers” might be behind it, yet directing the attention towards religion!

  • Disney June 25, 2012 at 4:56 pm

    Well, i’m waiting patiently to see how Presido will transform Nigeria & give us the long awaited results. All hope is not lost.

  • anon June 25, 2012 at 7:26 pm

    I thank God that I walk by faith and not by sight despite the clueless, heartless and greedy people ruling Nigeria at the moment, despite all the innocent souls being sent to their early graves and the young graduates walking the streets without jobs I still have hope that one day Nigeria will be a great nation even if I am not here to see it.

  • NNENNE June 26, 2012 at 12:32 am

    @Ginika… You said it all.
    Mr. President , just keep doing the best you can. When a leader does their best, it is only history that rewards them. Those of us who, truly love our homeland will keep praying for you, that BH and others will not deter our focus.

  • J boss June 26, 2012 at 1:32 am

    hmmm…..Father lord help us

  • Sergent June 26, 2012 at 2:00 am

    If truely boko haram was top priority the president wouldnt be thinking bout winning the hearts of the SouthWest with the renaming of UNILAG. Is there anything out there one can give the current administration credit for? Mr President, you have failed in all areas yet you want commendation, go back to school retard.

  • Deiz June 26, 2012 at 12:42 pm

    Seriously, as far as i’m concerned Mr president’s responses are a little shallow…… how can u sack someone bcos BH changed tactics!

    May God have mercy on us in this country.

  • Tiki June 27, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    LMAO! Jona said all those things? really?

    Better na Kukuma, our dear Uncle Popol. At least when h doesn’t know what to say, he shuts up.

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