Presidential Media Chat: 10 Questions for President Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan at a presidential media chat

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 are told only questions relating to the ongoing electioneering would be answered. So we have restricted our suggested questions to the focus area.

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

Find the questions we raised for the May 4 2014 edition of the Presidential Media Chat here. 

1)   You have always promised Nigerians and the international community free and credible elections. Yet a recently leaked audio recording suggested that you directed the military to rig last year’s Ekiti governorship election in favour of your party. In fact, your then Minister of State for Defence, Musiliu Obanikoro, was overheard in the recording saying he was on a presidential assignment to rig the election. What exactly was your role in that saga? And why have you not commented on the matter or order an investigation?

2)    Mr. President, you have always said that his election is not worth the blood of any Nigerian. But Niger Delta militants have on more than one occasion threatened blood and war if you are not re-elected. Some PDP governors – specifically those of Katsina and Kaduna – have been heard loud and clear threatening violence on their opponents. Why have you remained quiet over such inciting statements?

3)    Can you, Mr. President, on your honour, give a clear commitment that INEC chairman, Attahiru Jega, will be allowed to conduct the rescheduled polls, given speculations you might illegally send him off before the polls? Nigerians are suspicious you might give him the kind of treatments you gave Justice Ayo Salami and former CBN Governor, Sanusi Lamido.

4)    Mr. Buhari, your main challenger in the presidential election, has contested thrice and lost thrice. From his first outing in 2003 to the last in 2011, he never drew a significant popular support across board as many Nigerians viewed him as part of the old system. As Mr. Buhari’s co-contestant in 2011 and now 2015, what do you think is responsible for what appears a massive support for the same Mr. Buhari this time around?

5)    Mr. President, besides widespread unemployment in Nigeria, one of the talking points of this electioneering has been the action of one of your ministers who apparently seized on the widespread unemployment in Nigeria to collect nearly a billion naira from unemployed Nigerians without giving them jobs. He did so through a company he unilaterally appointed, against public procurement rules. Worst, at least a dozen people who turned up for the job test died. These much were confirmed by a Senate investigation. Why have you, the president our country, failed to sanction Minister Abba Moro who committed these acts?

6)    Mr. President, you said in 2011 you would not run in 2015 and that whatever you cannot do in four years you would never be able to do in 100 years. But recently you contradicted yourself, saying four years are not enough for any president to make an impact? When did you realize that four years are not enough? And why this apparent self-contradiction?

7)    The Federal Government said the military would not be available to provide security for the postponed election. How did we come to see election security more a responsibility for the military than the police, para-military and other arms of the security agencies?

8)    Mr. President, you said during your campaign in Lagos that militant group, MEND, wanted to assassinate you in 2010. This is contrary to what you said in 2010 after the bombing in Abuja, when you defended the group, saying it is not a terrorist organization. At what point did you realize that the group wanted to assassinate you? And why did you defend the group in 2010 even when investigations had not been done on the bombing incident?

9)    Your estranged godfather, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, on Tuesday formally endorsed your opponent, Muhammadu Buhari. How did the relationship between both of you degenerate to this extent? What really went wrong between you and him?

10)Your administration has now promised to flush out Boko Haram from the North-East in six weeks so elections could hold in all parts of the country. One of our readers requested us to ask you why you are now more committed to defeating Boko Haram for election sake. He wants to know why you could not do that in six years for the sake of fellow Nigerians that were being killed, maimed and displaced?


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