President Goodluck Jonathan has again pushed forward the timeline for his administration’s pledge to deliver improved power supply, telling CNN’s Christiane Amanpour electricity will be “relatively stable” before end of 2013.
Mr. Jonathan spoke from Davos, Switzerland, where he is attending the World Economic Summit.
The president claimed Nigerians were impressed with current level of improvement in power, and that if there was one area “ordinary Nigerians” applauded his administration for, it was power.
The response came after Ms. Amanpour pressed the president over current dismal statistics indicating there were hardly improvements in the two core areas of power and corruption which Mr. Jonathan assured he would tackle in his first interview with Ms. Amanpour in 2010 as he assumed office then as acting president.
“I would have loved that you ask the ordinary Nigerian on the streets of Lagos, Abuja or any other city this question about power,” he told Amanpour”. That is one area Nigerians are quite pleased with the government that our commitment to improving power is working. So if you are saying something different, I’m really surprised.”
“That is one area civil society leaders agree that government is keeping faith with its promise.”
The president’s claim was immediately challenged by Twitter commenters following the interview in Nigeria with many tweeting that they were monitoring the interview using generators.
Ms. Amanpour put that forward to the president, who responded that prolonged failings in the power sector, and the complexities of producing power was responsible for the slow delivery of steady electricity.
“This is one thing that even if you have the money and the political will you cannot do it over night. So we are working very hard to make sure before the end of this year power supply is relatively stable,” he said.
The president has failed in meeting previous self-set deadlines either for the improvement of electricity supply or curbing the menace of Boko Haram.
He did not give a direct response on what he is doing in tackling the massive corruption ravaging Nigeria, nor the impunity that has seen culprits left unpunished.
The president rejected Ms. Amanpour’s remark citing the United States of America States Department report that a brutal response from the Nigerian security forces was driving even more people into the fold of the extremist Boko Haram sect.
As Ms. Amnapour made the point, Mr. Jonathan interrupted twice asking the interviewer “How?” He then declared that such comments could only be propagated by “interest groups.”
When told that the source of the interviewer’s remark was the U.S State Department, Mr. Jonathan said the comments were untrue and that the state department should have ways of finding out the truth.
“People get wrong information from the State department. The state department has a means of finding out the truth. It should find out the truth,” he said.
He rejected the claim that Boko Haram evolved due to misrule in Nigeria, and said the world needed to help Nigeria tackle the sect.
“Boko Haram is not as a result of misrule, certainly not,” he said. “But sometimes people think it’s a result of poverty, certainly not. Boko Haram is a local terror group.”
He also accused the international refineries of accepting and refining stolen crude from Nigeria when it was clear the oil was stolen.
Watch the interview below.
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