Nigerians reject Jonathan’s electricity claim in CNN Superbowl follow-up

President Goodluck Jonathan

Many Nigerians told the CNN that President Goodluck Jonathan’s claim was false.

Nigerians, disgruntled by President Goodluck Jonathan’s last CNN interview claim of improved electricity, seized on Sunday’s U.S. Super bowl power outage, to issue a fierce rebuttal, stirring intense debate on the social media on Monday and Tuesday.

CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, who interviewed the president a fortnight ago, said she received torrents of tweets from Nigerians after President Jonathan said during the interview that electricity had tremendously improved.

Speaking from Davos in Switzerland where he was attending the World Economic Forum, the president had told Ms. Amanpour power was one area “Nigerians were really impressed with my administration.”

“I would have loved that you ask the ordinary Nigerian on the streets of Lagos, Abuja or any other city this question about power,” the president told Ms. 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.”

Reactions denying that claim soon followed on Twitter, even while the interview aired, with some Nigerians also affirming the president’s position.

Ahead of her Monday evening programme, Ms. Amanpour said she continued to receive so much reaction on Twitter that she set up the CNN “Open Mic” in Lagos, to seek reactions from everyday Nigerians.

“Pres. Goodluck Jonathan’s comments to me about power probs sparked so many tweets that CNN set up an Open Mic in Lagos,” Ms. Amanpour tweeted earlier, before following through with “Our OPEN MIC report has every-day Nigerians telling us about the power situation in their country.”

The second spur for the outrage, she said, was Nigerians drawing comparisons with the 35 minute power outage during Sunday’s U.S. top sporting event, the Super Bowl.

“Received so many tweets from #Nigeria about #SuperBowl power outage that we decided to include them in the show tonight on,” Ms. Amanpour said.

Visual she later aired showed the reactions from the streets of Lagos, which the president spoke about, again repudiating the president’s position.

“It’s a lie,” one man said. “Power is not improving at all.”

A woman told the CNN crew, “There’s (no) electricity for about three weeks now. You can’t even put anything in the fridge because it spoils. You have to eat everything or you’ll be in trouble.”

On the Twitter, CNN posted reactions from Nigerians who mockingly contrasted Americans witnessing a outage for just 35 minutes, and Nigerians enduring same for days, even weeks.

“If they had the Super Bowl in Nigeria, the power coming back on would be the real surprise,” one tweet said.

The reactions only trained the platform for a fierce debate on the social media, and online fora.

By Tuesday noon, the post on CNN Amanpour blog had drawn 107 comments, with Nigerians either backing the president, or denouncing his claims. On Twitter, majority of comments denied that electricity had improved.

An aide to the president on social media, Reno Omokri, followed in the background with suggestive tweets highlighting the “achievements” of the president.

“Fixing decades old problems take time. You don’t go to the gym do a set of bench presses and expect muscles. There’s a law of process,” Mr. Omokri wrote.

“Some may disagree that poverty is reducing, but it’s not a lie according to the World Bank poverty in Nigeria reduced from 48 to 46%.

“Some may disagree our economy is expanding, but it’s a fact not a lie. Nigeria is not rich but is one of the world’s fastest growing economies,” he added.


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  • Afam

    It may please you guys with junk journalism to think about where we were before GEJ on power sector and where we are today,GEJ did not in any way claimed to improve the power sector but he made it clear that his government is trying to solve the moribund cases of power,for decades there was no investment in our power sector,all we see are paper work and the budgeted money ended up in some pockets..Today GEJ has done what no president has done by privatization of power sector…OBJ and Yradua tried it many times but the power that be did not allow it to see the light of the day.even when Obj claimed to have spent 16Billion USD in power for 8 years without adding 1MW to our national grid.Today we are generating over 4,5000MW and GEJ acknowledged that we are not where we supposed to be..If Obj did what GEJ did in power sector for the whole 8 years he spent,we would have been somewhere 20,000MW by now…I will advise some people who claimed the power have not increased in their area to check their transformers and transmission lines..

    • Enemona

      Spare us the made-up figures. If the power situation in Nigeria improves Nigerians themselves would acknowledge it, no selling and sound bites necessary.

    • 9jaSpeaks

      Shut up!

  • sarah

    Afam am sure u reside in Aso rock dat is why u know all dis,nigerians are worse off today,living is hell,u virtually provide power

    • Thank you, all those Nigerians supporting this present government seem to be ‘blind’ to me.

  • Naijaa

    I like this, from the horses mouth, not from Jona, attack lion, or basket mouth

  • Ale Y

    After watching the comments on the electricity debacle, and remembering that not too long ago the government lied to the people about oil subsidy, I wonder why the people of Nigeria still allow the nincompoop to remain as president. Have the people heard of Arab Spring? Oh, as a friend told, the people of Nigeria are cowards…no one wants to sacrifice themself for the greater good.

    The popular saying is, “na you want repair Naija?”

    • Thank you, well said. The answer to your question is that we ‘Nigerians” are very stupid believe it or not

  • Ale Y

    The corruption in Nigeria is so bad that GEJ is too scared to shuffle his cabinet for fear of what might result from the oil and aviation ministers’ (known mistresses of the boy from Bayelsa) might write in their tell all books….you can fool all the people some of time; some of the people all of time, but you cannot fool all of the people all of the time. Sooner or later, the people shall prevail.

    a

  • Mike

    Jonathan should have known he couldn’t lie like that on a worldwide network like CNN and not expect to be challenged on it. I could hardly believe my ears hearing him talk about how Nigerians are satisfied with his government about the electricity situation. The man seems as clueless as ever…

    • Mike

      …or perhaps he was thinking Nigerians wouldn’t have electricity to watch the interview so he foolishly thought he could get away with such a blatant lie …lols

  • Dr Pat Kolawole Awosan

    President Jonathan is a certify liar who talks from both sides of his mouth.Power supply is epileptic as people experience power outage up to fifty or 100 times per day if, ever power supply come around in two or three days interval.

    When professor Bath Nnaji was in charge of power as minister truly there was noticable improvement but since Jonathan found some excuse to remove him power supply deteriorates further and there is no improvement.

    Infact! president Jonathan has nothing working for him as president except official corruption and pardon he extended to his former boss governor Diepreye Alamieyeseigha of Bayelsa State who
    made Ebele Jonathan deputy governor of Bayelsa State that they jointly looted Bayelsa State treasuries to the bone before Obasanjo brought him to Abuja and made him vice president to late president Umaru Musa Yar’dua.