President GEJ media chat summary

Jonathan on oil sector corruption/subsidy: “If we are going to remove subsidy from January, as you are afraid we will do in January, we couldn’t have made provisions for it in the 2013 budget. We have made provisions from January till December.”

President Jonathan on shortage of fuel and the return of queues at filling stations: “This situation can manifest in different areas, some people may have the product and decide to manipulate the system so that they can get more money….I am asking Nigerians to bear with us. I got the report from the ( Aig) Imokhuede committee on Friday, an advanced copy of the report. The arguments by the marketers is that it is government that is owing them. (But) the preliminary report we have indicates that they owe the government.”

Jonathan on contesting for 2015: “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…..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……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.”

Jonathan on sovereign national convention: “When you mention the word sovereign, people get frightened. The basic thing I believe, as a President who has taken an oath to defend the constitution of Nigeria, is that whatever we do, we should keep in line with the constitution, and the citizens should send their views on the constitution to the National Assembly…..If today we jettison the provision of the constitution, we will run into anarchy and the best option is to keep in line with the provision of the constitution.”

Jonathan on constitution review: “You expose issues to all Nigerians, individual groups, religious groups, social cultural groups, ethnic groups, youth groups and all other patriotic groups have the opportunity to make inputs to the constitution.

On the call for referendum, the President said “What we are doing has satisfied the issue of referendum. Because in a referendum we would want to know the opinion of people, the thinking of the people on a particular subject matter……What the National Assembly is doing is that they are going from state to state, from constituency to constituency, from zone to zone to collate the thinking of the people, in terms of the provisions of the constitution in the areas that affect them.”

Jonathan on Boko Haram: “Presently, government is not dialoguing with any group. There is no dialogue between the Boko Haram and government. Though there was a news item talking about dialogue, but the Boko Haram group is yet to come out. So there is nobody to dialogue with…….Government is not in dialogue with any of group of people, not the least Boko Haram. They (Boko Haram) are still operating under cover. They wear a mask. They don’t have a face. You don’t dialogue with people you don’t know. We don’t have anybody to dialogue with. There is no dialogue going on anywhere contrary to reports that has been carried in the media.”

Jonathan on Manitoba: ”Manitoba’s contract has not been revoked. There were some issues raised because of misunderstanding. In 2006 when privatization started, Manitoba and others also bidded 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 the proces of the privatization………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 bidded and they will be assessed technically so you will not know if it is owned by a former head of state or not……….The companies that qualify technically will now go into the financial round.”

Jonathan on corruption: “We decided to sanitize 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. We are aware that dealing with corruption associated with the electoral process will ensure that corruption is dealt with totally…….We have done very well on various fronts in terms of fighting corruption. We have sanitized the fertilizer subsidy process; we have tried in sanitizing the electoral process; we have now started the audit of the oil sector, pointing to the fact that we are in the process of sanitizing the sector.”

He added: “If you ask the average Nigerian, they will say it is all because of corruption, and that because of corruption that is why there is a pot hole somewhere and that accidents are caused by corruption. We just believe that everything is caused by corruption. The retreat we conducted and are applying to do certain things including correctional orders, you will be surprised that most people who voted, gave corruption less than 20 per cent……But in terms of perfection, we believe that corruption is the cause of all our problems. Corruption is there and we will continue to fight corruption, no doubt about that. But this government has tried to investigate the corruption associated with the elections, we have sanitised it, the corruption associated with procurement of fertilizer is enormous, we have sanitised and we are now dealing with petroleum products, we will go ahead and sanitise it. We will surely sanitise this country.”

About cknaija

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