BY BEN AGANDE
ABUJA—President Goodluck Jonathan, Monday, said politicians desperate for power were out to distract him from delivering on the mandate given to him by Nigerians to move the country to a greater level because of their ambition in 2015.
Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, who stated this while appearing on a Ray Power Radio Programme monitored in Abuja, noted that the President had consistently stated that he was determined to deliver on the mandate given to him by Nigerians and would not allow himself to be distracted by the campaign for 2015.
According to Abati, “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 Nigerian people have given you an assignment, it is your 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 Nigerian people scorecard of what he has 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.
Focus on governance
“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.”
Asked why it took the visit of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA, leadership for the President to announce his intention to check the excesses of politicians alleged to he heating up the system, Abati said “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 all Nigerians. And in that case, he, as the number one person in the country, will not standby while there are issues within the polity that could overheat the polity.
“It was within that context that he made the point when he met with the NBA leadership that he has the primary responsibility to put to an end 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.
“When the NBA visited, they brought up the issue about the political process and the President said look, what is overheating the policy is because people are obsessed with 2015 and that he as a person who believes that we are in 2013 and we should continue to focus on good governance at all levels.
“It didn’t take the visit of the NBA for the President to make that statement, that is the statement the President has made. 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”.
“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, it is about governance.”