by Lekan Olanrewaju
Detractors of President Jonathan may need to sit down and re-evaluate their criticisms, it would seem.
In a recent interview with Tribune, the President’s Special Adviser on Media and Publicity describes critics of Jonathan’s administration as “mischievous” and goes on to share how the notion of the President’s lack of charisma is proven wrong by his “dynamic” fashion sense.
When asked about the perception that President Jonathan is “colourless and clueless,” Abati answers saying the only people who criticise the President are opposition parties who are upset at being beaten at the polls, and that ordinary citizens do not have that impression of the president.
“Well, the people who hold that opinion are wrong, they are insincere, they are mischievous and if you find out very well, you will find that the people are those who describe themselves as the opposition. This is not the impression of the ordinary Nigerians. People who are pushing this perception as you called it are persons who lost out in the last elections and who believe that they hold an abiding grudge against President Jonathan for beating them at the poll. I think that people must be able to separate partisanship from national interest. Even when they are politicians and they belong to the opposition they have a duty; they have a responsibility to place the national interest above their own personal interest. The Presidency belongs to all Nigerians. Once the election is over and someone has won that election and he is already president, he is president of all Nigerians and President Jonathan sees himself as the president of all Nigerians. He welcomes criticisms, no doubt about that and you will recall that he has always defended the right to free speech.”
He also goes on to defend the President’s dressing, and personality, pointing out that he is regarded as a “fashion icon” in many places, and is a popular choice for media covers due to his unique dress sense.
“Now they say the president is not colourful, or how did you put it? if you look at the president, you cannot say that he is colourless person, this is a man who is charismatic, this is a man who has the common touch, this is a man who whenever he travels either at home or abroad he is a target of good will and affection. In fact, he is even regarded in many places as a fashion icon. With the kind of statement he makes with his unique dressing, that is not a colourless man. And he is a man also that the media like to put in their cover all the time both at home and abroad. It is not just because he occupies that office. It is because of the magnetism of his personality. This is a man who has an interesting story to tell, who is a symbol of hope for many young Nigerians. This is a man who represents the ultimate Nigerian dream that any individual at all can come from nothing to something; that greatness is not the preserve of a particular group of Nigerians; that every Nigerian child can aspire to get to the top. President Jonathan himself represents a very interesting story. There is a lot of colour and dynamism to his personality.”
The full interview is over at Tribune.
Oh, and another interesting quote: “But we have a hyperactive and hypersensitive and hypertensive opposition that is very quick to put the blame in the wrong location.”