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 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 telephone 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, PREMIUM TIMES suggest you put the questions below to him, in addition to others you might have.
Mr. Abati said you can also send your questions to the President via Twitter handle @mediachatng1.
We also urge the editors, who will interview the president, to consider asking him some of the questions suggested below.
1. ASUU has been on strike for months now over your administration’s refusal to honour the 2009 agreements reached with it. ASUP (polytechnic lecturers) has also threatened to resume its suspended strike on Friday over your government’s failure to fulfill promises made to it. Other unions in the educational sector – NUT, NASU and SSANU – are also threatening to sjoin forces with ASUU to effectively shut down the education sector. Why is your government insensitive to the plights of students and parents? What are you doing to strengthen our educational sector and ensure lecturers return to the classrooms?
2. Media reports suggest you travelled to the U.S. for the just-concluded UN General Assembly with a 600-member delegation. Your aides said the figure cited was inaccurate. Can you clear the air as to how many people accompanied you on this trip? What roles did these persons play at the event?
3. The Nigeria Governors’ Forum and the Finance Minister, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, recently exchanged verbal punches over the state of the economy. In April this year, the Minister of Health Prof. Onyebuchi Chukwu also said medical workers’ salaries can’t be increased because Nigeria is poor and broke. State allocations have not been paid for months. Even top shots within your own party have admitted the economy is in tatters and that you are running the country aground. Mr President, is Nigeria broke? What is the actual state of the Nigerian economy?
4. In February 2009, your predecessor, Umaru Yar’Adua, under whose administration you served as vice president, moved to cut the cost of governance because of the economic meltdown. That resulted in a directive to the RMAFC to review downwards the remunerations of political, public and judicial officers. Even the governors reportedly agreed then to pay cuts. However, there has been this allegation that the cost of governance under you has skyrocketed. What are the plans by your government to reduce the cost of governance especially given that the cost of feeding in the presidential villa is itself scandalous?
5. There is not no doubt that as president you can hire and fire, in line with the constitution? However, many had expected that during the recent cabinet reshuffle, you would fire the controversial ministers as well as those accused of corruption? Some Nigerians are wondering why the likes of Diezani Alison-Madueke and Mohammed Bello Adoke, accused of corruption, have not been dropped. Aren’t you worried that your refusal to remove these controversial ministers could soil the image of your administration?
6. About a hundred policemen were killed and mutilated by the Ombaste militia in Nassarawa almost six months ago, yet the leader of the militia group and his men have not been arrested and prosecuted for their alleged crime. What is stopping the government from arresting them? What is the government doing to ensure that the families of those murdered get justice?
7. Many have expressed worry over the remunerations of members of the National Assembly, which have remained controversial. Investigations have even revealed that our lawmakers earn more than their counterparts abroad. A national newspaper reported recently that they earn more than President Obama of the United States. Granted that it is a separate arm of government, but as the president of the federation, do you know how much the lawmakers earn? Are you not worried that Nigerians do not know how much their lawmakers earn in legitimate and controversial allowances.
8. There is an upsurge in killings by the extremist Boko Haram sect after the initial lull following the declaration of a state of emergency in some northeastern states. Is the army losing the war against the terrorists? How does your government plan to put an end to their activities?
9. The corruption and abuse of due process by officials of your administration seem to be unprecedented. Documents have shown how the BPE and the Vice President Namadi Sambo-led NCP violated privatisation guidelines to hand over Enugu Disco to Emeka Offor’s Interstate Electric. Also, the Malabu oil deal dredges the shame of a nation directly to the corridors of the presidency. Why are you as President overlooking these corrupt acts? 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?
10. One of the demands of the members of the Kawu Baraje-led faction of the PDP is that you drop your 2015 reelection plan. Will you contest in 2015? And will you declare your assets?
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