The Presidential Chat That Wasn’t…


Earlier today at 7pm, Mr. President was on a live broadcast across the nation. Naturally, not many people thought much of it as previous chats have not been so engaging. The moderator and 3 journalists from media houses around Nigeria came off as trying to be careful with their questions in fact, the lady from Wazobia FM seem to be awed by the President’s presence and said as little as possible throughout the “chat”.

The chat  started with questions about the upcoming centenary anniversary and National Conference. It would come as no surprise that no projections were made as to the amount the celebration will cost the nation, On projected cost of centenary celebration, Mr President cannot state any amount. Says private bodies are sponsoring….do we believe that? according to Goodluck Jonathan the nation will only pay for the feeding, accommodation and transportation of visiting Heads of State and dignitaries (let’s add souvenirs, accommodation and feeding for PA’s and Aides of visiting HOS, security, thanks for coming arrangements, and so many other unnecessary spending to that).  Awards will be presented to 100 people…well,  just because he wants to honor 100 people and 100 is a good number (right?!). A centenary city construction will commence followed immediately by the National Conference.

Next, the issue of Sanusi Lamido Sanusi came up, in the president’s words “Sanusi is still the governor of CBN” but he went ahead to iterate how he has the power to suspend SLS and as a matter of fact, the suspension was not as a result of the report of the missing 20billion Dollars, rather it was as a result of the 2012 audit report of the CBN which was submitted  February 2013 (approximately one year now). NNPC’s activities were brought to the surface too but swept under the carpet as soon as it reared its head as long as he is concerned due process should take its course…

About 10 minutes to the end of the chat, the topic of the ongoing attacks in Northern Nigeria particularly the most recent ones in Borno state, and the most striking thing the president could say was “We will get over it”. Asked what measures are being taken to end the Boko Haram attacks, the answers were as vague as they could get. Finally, Goodluck Nnaji raised the issue of increased power generation and why after so many years, we are still stuck with the same problems we had about 5 years ago in the power sector, Mr. President’s answers were not a bit satisfying as according to him he cannot give figures.

All of the above would come off as a chat between a president and his people in a country where everything is fine and every sector is in order like it should be. Nigeria presently is in that state where it is no longer okay to pretend things are fine.In a country where people are killed everyday, security level is almost zero, nothing seems to be working well but our president and his committee feel a centenary celebration is what will bring back cheers into the country, why waste so much money on things we can do away with or are we missing something here? should we even be celebrating the 100years of amalgamation when the country is being held together by only the strong-will of the inhabitants?  what exactly can we show for our 100years of existence apart from the name and past glory?

There was no single mention of the 20 abducted schoolgirls in Borno state, Stella Oduah’s corrupt practice was not touched (as per due process i believe), the missing 20billion Dollars from NNPC was treated as if it was 20Naira and we are all expected to adopt the “siddon look” approach. We are not calling for a president who will be pushed around by the citizens, we just want a president who has empathy for the people he governs. We are not calling for DAM’s suspension/sack, but what is good for the geese is also good for the gander. Let Goodluck Jonathan know that Nigerian youths have gone past the days of leaving the activities of national matters and concern to the older citizens, we know what we want and we know when we are being insulted.

If and when next you intend to have a media chat, let it be a chat in the true sense of it. Do not make mockery of our intelligence and rub off your intended lavish spending on trivial matters when serious national issues are pending in our faces.

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