Reuben Abati spoke on a radio programme on Monday.
President Goodluck Jonathan is not focussed on the 2015 elections and is more concerned with delivering on his mandate, his spokesman, Reuben Abati, has said.
Speaking on Fact File, a radio program on Ray Power FM, Mr. Abati said the president has not declared his stance for the 2015 elections as he remained focused on delivering his mandate to the people.
The spokesman said Mr. Jonathan is ready to curb the excesses of politicians, whom he said were heating up the polity. He denied that Mr. Jonathan’s 2015 ambition was the major cause for the violence in Rivers State.
He said Nigerians must know that Mr. Jonathan is not just President and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, but also the 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, will never at any time standby while there are issues within the polity that could over heat the polity. And 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,” Mr. Abati said referring to a meeting Mr. Jonathan had last week with leaders of the Nigerian Bar Association.
The president had said at the meeting that the crisis in Rivers and other parts of the country was caused by the coming 2015 elections.
Mr. Abati said the president should be commended for “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”.
Responding to accusations that Mr. Jonathan’s insistence on re-contesting in 2015 was heating the polity, Mr. Abati said the president has never discussed 2015 with anyone.
“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 the 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,” he said.
Mr. Abati said the president’s mid-term scorecard, as presented in May, was a confirmation of Mr. Jonathan’s successes and has not been disputed by anyone.
“He (Mr. Jonathan) 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. He is doing the job that Nigerians have given him and he is making progress and has provided evidence that he is making progress,” he said.
Mr. Abati also denied that Mr. Jonathan only reacted to the Rivers crisis after the lawyers’ intervention.
“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 believes that we are in 2013 and we should continue to focus on good governance at all levels.
“And 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. And 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,” Mr. Abati said.
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