by Isi Esene
Analysts are of the view that president Goodluck Jonathan, on Sunday, during the presidential media chat, contradicted some of his media aides on certain policy issues emanating from the presidency.
It was noted that the president did this on issues concerning power, the first lady’s health, and security.
On the issue of power, the special adviser to the president on media and publicity, Reuben Abati, had on November 14 announced the cancellation of the Manitoba contract saying, “Mr. President has cancelled the Manitoba power contract with immediate effect.”
But during the media chat, when asked about the status of the Manitoba power contract, president Jonathan answered saying, “Manitoba contract has not been revoked.”
He said his administration observed that the company “did not follow the law strictly” when it got the contract.
Manitoba Hydro, a Canadian state-owned firm, emerged the highest bidder, in April, to manage Nigeria’s transmission network, under the Transmission Company of Nigeria, for 3 years.
On the issue of security, the president stated unequivocally that there is no form of discussion between the Federal Government and the dreaded Islamic sect, Boko Haram.
“There is no dialogue between the Boko Haram and government,” Jonathan said during the media chat.
Jonathan said, “Boko Haram is still operating under cover, they wear masks, there is no face. They operate under cover. No dialogue that is going on anywhere.”
Abati had, however, given Nigerians the impression there’s are “backroom” discussions with the group. He said, “The ongoing talk is a back channel one in which those who know members of the group are talking with them on behalf of the government.”
The most striking contradiction is on the status of the first lady’s health which had been a subject of general speculation.
Patience Jonathan’s spokesperson, Ayo Osinlu, had maintained that the First Lady is in good shape adding that she had only traveled out of the country for a “moment’s rest”.
“If you look at her itinerary in August, you would be wondering how she was able to accomplish that. In the course of this week, she will be back home. But remember, it all depends on her plans,” Osinlu said.
During the presidential media chat on Sunday, Jonathan put an end to the misinformation admitting that she was ill but now recuperating.
“She was ill, she received treatment. When she returned, she had to further recuperate,” the president said while explaining the first lady’s seeming absence from public glare since her arrival in the country on October 17.
Well, now we know what had been kept under wraps by the presidential information machinery, we, however, wonder how much more is yet to be uncovered.