Presidential Media Chat: 15 questions for President Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan will this evening host a televised media chat with some Nigerian journalists during which he is expected to respond to questions on a number of topical national issues.

Aso Rock spokesperson, Reuben Abati, said in a statement the presidential media chat, to be aired live on major television and radio stations in the country, would begin at 7 p.m. Nigerian time.

The presidency promised in the past to entertain questions from Nigerians via telephone, although the phone failed to work  during those episodes of the programme.

Critics believe the phones were programmed not to work as a way of blocking citizens from asking the president embarrassing questions.

So, in case you are able to reach the president on the programme today, we suggest you put the questions below to him, in addition to others you might have.

We also urge the editors, who will interview the president, to consider asking him some of the questions suggested below.

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Find the questions we raised for the June 24 edition of the Presidential Media Chat here.

1. Why has your government proved incapable of addressing the fuel scarcity problem across the country?

2. Why did you claim in your October 1 broadcast that Transparency International had endorsed your administration’s fight against corruption when the contrary is the case? Why did you also refuse to apologise to Nigerians after you realised you were wrong?

3. The Malabu oil deal dredges the shame of a nation directly to the corridors of the presidency. Why did you as President, without the National Assembly’s approval, authorize the transfer of $1.1bn from a Federation account into the account of Malabu Oil, a company with falsified registration details, and owned by a man convicted in France for money laundering?

4. Why has the President not ordered anti-corruption agencies to probe the Malabu scandal and if found guilty prosecute the persons that could have duped Nigeria?

5. What do you say to those who say your leadership of the country has been at best inept and ineffective, and that your administration has not been able to tackle any of our national challenges? (Corruption, electricity, broken infrastructure, unemployment etc).

6. You were severely criticised by Nigerians after you said on June 24 that you don’t give a damn whatever anyone thought about your refusal to publicly declare your assets. Is that still your position on this important matter, or are you reconsidering your stand?

7. As the leader of the PDP, which dominates the two chambers of the National Assembly, why has the party continued to allow lawmakers earn obscene but illegal allowances in the guise of office running cost?

8. The National Human Rights Commission has an important role to play in our country. But the work of that Commission is being hampered by the refusal of your administration to inaugurate the Board about a year after it was constituted. What is responsible for the delay in inaugurating the Board? Why has your administration reduced the commission to a toothless bulldog?

9. You hinted a few days ago that the deregulation of the petroleum industry is irreversible. It was suspended last January to enable government put in place the necessary conditions that would make it succeed. Does government think it has now done enough to contemplate the speculated plan to remove fuel subsidy and hike the price of petrol?

10. The Lagos-Ibadan federal highway has finally become one of our national shames, and a lot of Nigerians are dying on that road every day. The road was concessioned to Wale Babalakin’s Bi-Courtney three years ago but has been unable to fix it. When will your administration do the right thing and save the nation the daily carnage on that expressway? 

11. Your administration has come under criticism for setting up committees almost every week.  Why does the government set up panels and committees for tasks that can and should be performed by law enforcement and other regulatory agencies, and when you know that the reports of those committees won’t be implemented? We also like to know how many reports of government committees in various sectors are currently before the presidency and what the deadlines for their implementation are.

12. What is the reason for your reversal of the Transmission contract awarded to a Canadian firm, Manitoba. Was due process not followed in the award? If not, has anyone been sanctioned for violating due process?

13. Why have you insisted on retaining the petroleum minister, Diezani Alison-Madueke, despite her indictment  both by the House, Senate and even executive committees set up by your administration?

14. Why did your government honour Mike Adenuga with a GCON few weeks after the Finance Minister and Coordinating Minister for the Economy, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, mentioned his company, Conoil, as one of those guilty of fuel subsidy scam and responsible for fuel scarcity in the country?

15. Several reports, including one by the EFCC, indicted three former Presidents – Sani Abacha, Abdusalami Abubakar and Olusegun Obasanjo for sharing in the Halliburton bribery money along with some other top government officials. Abacha is dead and some officials have been arraigned in court. When is your administration arraigning Obasanjo , Abdulsalami and Gaius Obaseki, a former NNPC GMD, who couriered part of the bribe money to some beneficiaries?

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