by Tolu Orekoya
President Goodluck Jonathan sat down for his third televised media chat on June 24. The program was anchored by Ohi Alegbe, media consultant and broadcaster with Ishaq Modibbo Kawu, Columnist, Blue Print Newspaper; Edward Dickson, Editor, Nigerian Tribune; and Maope Ogun, co-presenter, Daily Sunrise show, Channels TV directing the questions to the president. The president has been taking a more agressive stance lately, and it looks like he is challenging the importance of social media and its role in Nigeria head on, though he mostly discussed the issues facing the country.
Here’s my round-up of the chat’s highlights:
- The president had nothing new to say about Boko Haram he is willing to talk if they come forward with a face, but no negotiations are in underway as of yet.
- The president needs his own playbook much like the Barack Obama’s campaign in 2008 where he refused to suspend his campaign when faced with adversity, the president said of his South American trip to Brazil, “The day the international community gets to know that the president of Nigeria couldn’t travel because of Boko Haram, then we are finished,” the president said. “The Boko Haram and their sponsors cannot stop Nigeria.”
- His assets are none of Nigeria’s business “It is not right,” he said. “I didn’t want even want to declare my assets as VP,” he said but pressured into doing so by his predecessor. It is “not the right thing to do,” he said.
- Yet another probe has been commissioned this time into the freezing of the Nigerian Embassy in the US’s bank accounts, and he initiated a probe into the oil industry.
- His predecessors’ friends are his friends too According to the Premium Times he spoke in defence of the businessmen, including Femi Otedola who is currently embroiled in the $620,000 bribery scandal. He however said he did not initiate the sting operation that caught Mr. Lawan.
- The slowing economy is not his doing “It is not Jonathan that is managing it,” he said. It is being managed professionally.
- Nigerians should exercise a little…patience when it comes to his records and his possible re-election. “It is too early to talk about 2015,” the president said. “When INEC opens the gate, we will know who will contest or who will not contest.”
- You don’t like him because of Twitter the duplicitous nature of the internet and social media is why his public polls are so low, and that can revive interest in his administration when next year rolls around according to the president. “People (critics) will begin to change after one year,” he said.
- He still does not get it about the UNILAG/MAUL name change: The president argued that the procedure to rename the school was correct procedurally “What we did, was the normal procedure,” he said. He said young Nigerians may not understand the importance of Moshood Abiola in the country’s history.
- 9 minutes before the show ended the first call to made it to the president after a series of dropped calls. He said nothing about the telcomms companies and their fines.
As you can see, it was an exciting chat.