RIVERS CRISIS: I Have No Hands in It - Jonathan Insists

RIVERS CRISIS: I Have No Hands in It - Jonathan Insists

Yesterday Dr. Reuben Abati, President's Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, who was on a radio programme “Fact File” on Raypower F.M, said despite President Jonathan’s insistence that the politics of 2015 was distracting and slowing down delivery of good governance, those obsessed with the election were bent on distracting the President.

Special Adviser said contrary to the belief that the President’s 2015 ambition was overheating the polity, Jonathan had never stated his position on his second term, rather, he has persistently called for concentration on good governance at all levels.

Abati said the President led by example by presenting the Mid-Term report of his two years at Aso Rock Villa.

On why it took the President this long to admit that politicians were overheating the polity and his pledge to call them to order, Abati said: “Well, the first thing that Nigerians must know is that President Jonathan is not just President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces, he is also the premier political leader in the country. What that means, of course, is that he has the responsibility to ensure security and the well-being of Nigerians.

“And in that case, he, as the number one person in the country will not, will never at any time, stand by while there are issues within the polity that could overheat the polity.

“And it was within that context that he made the point when he met with the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) leadership that he had the primary responsibility to put an end to the political excesses that seem to be overheating the polity.

“And I think the President should be commended for his being sensitive and being fully aware of the primary responsibility not just as Head of State, but also as Head of Government and as head of the political process and as a citizen and as a patriot,” Abati said.

The presidential spokesman noted that Jonathan has directed him on four occasions to issue statements on the same matter and that it was not true that he was just reacting.

“Well, Mr. President meets with people on a daily basis, people from different constituencies, different groups. When the NBA visited, they brought up the issue about the political process and the President said look, what is overheating the polity is because people are obsessed with 2015 and that he, as a person, believes that we are in 2013 and we should continue to focus on good governance at all levels.

“And it didn’t take the visit of the NBA for the president to make that statement, he has directed me to issue statements more than four times on this particular issue to say look, if as the political leader, as the Head of State he is not talking about election, he is talking about how to provide leadership and transform the lives of Nigerians. And that should be the focus at all levels.

“At that meeting with NBA, he alluded to the fact that some people are just desperate for power and he made the point that the issue is not about desperation, the issue is not about power, is about governance”.

On the allegation that the President’s 2015 ambition was also heating up the polity and that he has a hand in the crisis in Rivers State, Abati replied, “Well to the best of my knowledge, the President has never at any time discussed 2015. He has never at any time said this is his position on 2015. His position has been consistent and straight-forward and that has been the President, saying look let’s focus on governance.

“If the Nigerian people have given you an assignment to deliver and move the country forward, that is what we want to focus on. And that was the statement about the Mid-Term report that was publicly presented. Two years down the line, the President presented to the Nigerian people the scorecard of what they have been able to do.

“He said I took over and now two years down the line, I have moved the country forward, this is the evidence. Nobody has been able to dispute the evidence. So, we must be able to make a distinction between politicking, the fact and reality.

“The President stands on the side of truthfulness, of fact, of reality. So, he wants to be engaged at the level of his performance. And I will continue to tell Nigerians that this presidency will remain focused.

“He is doing the job that Nigerians have given him and he is making progress and has provided evidence that he is making progress. People who concentrate on politics want to distract Mr. President”, he said.

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