Sunday, 18 November 2012

FG’ll not dialogue with Boko Haram – Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan said on Sunday night there would be no dialogue with the insurgent Islamic sect, Boko Haram, because the group has remained faceless.
He emphasised that government would not waste its time dialoguing with a group that has refused to unmask itself.
Speaking during a presidential media chat transmitted live on radio and television from Abuja, the President said, “This government is on top of the security challenge and we will do anything within the law to ensure the security of Nigerians.
“We will not dialogue with Boko Haram; they have remained faceless,” Jonathan said.
On the ongoing constitution review, Jonathan assured that there would be no dictating to members of the National Assembly on how they carry out the exercise.
He believes the lawmakers are competent to accomplish the task satisfactorily.
Jonathan reiterated that the review became necessary because critics claimed that the 1999 Constitution was imposed by the military.
The present undertaking was, therefore, to give the Constitution the needed legitimacy.
But he disagreed with those canvassing for the convocation of a Sovereign National Conference, saying the tag ‘sovereign’ had become a source of confusion to many people.
Jonathan argued that the only way to give the Constitution legitimacy was to follow the procedure provided in the Constitution itself.
Similarly, the President said the nationwide consultation embarked upon by the National Assembly Constitution Review Committees was enough to make the clamour for a referendum to validate the final document unnecessary.
Once again, the President refused to come out clear on his speculated ambition to run again for the Presidency come 2015, saying it was still too early to disclose his intention.
The present tenure has only just begun and development would be bogged down if he made any categorical statement on the matter, he said, while observing that there were enough competent people for the Presidential job.

Assessing recent governorship elections in the country in which the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was defeated, the President argued that the party was doing wonderfully well across the country.
He said the outcome of the elections where the PDP lost was a testimony of the development of genuine democracy in the country.
He also observed that electoral practice in the country has been accepted as a model in the international community.
“If the PDP is controlling all the states, then there is no genuine democracy.
“We contested against incumbent Governors and you don’t expect easy victory, but I will assure you that in the next election, PDP will do better.”
On the face-off between Rivers and Bayelsa states over disputed oil wells, he assured that he had not exercised any influence on the issue since he was expected to play a neutral role.
However, he disclosed that he had directed all relevant agencies to be on top of the situation.
“As President of this country, I must treat all Nigerians equally,” he said, adding: “It is interesting to note that I have more friends in Rivers State than in Bayelsa; I will not influence (the case) in favour of Bayelsa.”
Defending his government’s budgeting system, Jonathan explained that it was always professionally handled, and that stakeholders such as the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), the Planning Ministry, the Petroleum Ministry, among others, were all involved before settling for a benchmark.
According to him, “Benchmark is a key instrument used to manage the economy of the nation; it is only the Nigerian people that would want you to spend all the money you get, and that is wrong.
“Benchmark is professionally done and chosen to the best interest of the country and the economy.”
Responding to the burning issue of corruption, Jonathan said his government was confronting corruption frontally, stressing that the administration has zero-tolerance for corruption, just as he disclosed that efforts had been made to sanitise not only political corruption but also all other sectors.
“We have done very well in the case of fighting corruption; you must have dealt with corruption associated with the election sector for you to have an election that is adjudged credible.
“We have committed much money fighting corruption, and we have been getting results.
“We have dealt with election-associated corruption and are still dealing with it.
“We have dealt with fertilizer problem and now we are dealing with petroleum sector problems, and I can tell you a lot of efforts made are getting positive results.
“We are committed to sanitising all sectors where there is corruption, but it’s me after the others.”
On electricity, the President assured that there was no cause for alarm, and gave his word that his administration would stabilise the power sector.
Similarly, he promised that the Lagos-Ore-Benin and Lagos-Ibadan roads would be fixed soon.
“As a responsible government, we cannot continue to allow Nigerians to suffer; I will be the best President because I will provide the needed infrastructure.
“I will ensure that power is stabilised and all other things would fall in line.”
The President also assured Nigerians that recent bidding in the power sector had not been compromised contrary to some opinions.
As for the involvement of a former military Head of State in one of the bidding exercises, he said former Heads of State could not stay idle.
They must survive, he added.
“They have legitimate right to do business,” he said, adding that the Manitoba power contract had not been revoked.

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