President Goodluck Jonathan this evening hosted his fourth Presidential Media Chat since returning to office in May 2011. During the two-hour programme which was broadcast live on major TV stations between 7p.m. to 9p.m, he tackled questions from a panel of senior media practitioners and members of the public who sent in their questions via Twitter and SMS.
The questions thrown at him ranged from insecurity to economy, corruption, fuel subsidy, second term, education and more.
Here are some highlights of his responses to various questions and comments which have been trending since the chat.
On the expenditure of the State House on feeding and ancillary services
“There is a lot of misconception about the State House”…. “I even eat two times a day, breakfast and dinner; and the food I eat is not very expensive.”
On Boko Haram
It was earlier reported that the Federal Government had begun dialogue with the sect, however, he said “So far, no dialogue is going on with the government and Boko Haram.”
On whether he would run for a second term in office
He asked for more time for himself and cabinet to work before he is faced with the question of whether he will run for elections in 2015 or not. “Four years is too small to make an impact, the media should give me time please… I don’t want to distract members of my cabinet.”
“The effort this government has put in in fighting corruption, I don’t think any other person has done that. This government is fighting corruption and the results are obvious.”
On Fuel Subsidy Removal
The President said he was misquoted in some instances. “If we want to remove subsidy, we wouldn’t have made provisions for subsidy in 2013 budget.”
“We are working very hard. You cannot get jobs overnight, we are coming up with programs like #SURE #YOUWIN to develop people…. I never promised to reduce poverty. I promised to create wealth.”
On Constitutional Amendment
The President said he cannot teach the National Assembly their job on constitution review even if he supports a referendum. “It will not be proper for me now to begin to impose my ideas.”
On Fuel Scarcity
The Presidents said by the time he concludes with “the issue of sanitizing the oil sector,” the issue of queues in fuel stations will be over. “As we are talking today, there is no fuel queue in Benin Republic, and all the fuel are from Nigeria, yet there is fuel queue in Lagos,” he said blaming the human factor for the current scarcity of fuel in Nigeria.
He made some promises:
“Before the middle of next year, we would have stable electricity in Nigeria.”
“I will fix the Benin-Ore road.”
Cleared up some controversies:
“The first lady is OK. She was with us in service today. She is fine.”
And said his administration was focusing on progression
“We have set up a committee to identify why none of our Universities are among the top 100 in the world.”
The media chat ended with the president assuring that he, with his vice president and team, will “leave something behind by the end of his four year tenure that Nigerians will be proud of.”
Despite the President’s efforts at reassuring Nigerians of his commitment to the country’s development, the media chat has been greeted with widespread criticism with many having little faith in his words. What do you think about the topics raised and the President’s responses?