Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Reuben Abati, Thursday, once again addressed the unrelenting outrage and condemnation that greeted the sudden appearance of posters of President Goodluck Jonathan in some strategic locations in Abuja, declaring that “the President of Nigeria has an office that is so important that he cannot behave in a cowardly manner.”
The pasting of the president’s 2015 campaign posters has generated widespread criticism from opposition parties in the country, some of whom accused the President of flying playing the voice of Jacob but the hand of Esau.
Speaking with State House correspondents yesterday, Dr. Abati said: “The President of Nigeria has an office that is so important that he cannot behave in a cowardly manner. This is a man who is honest and have reputation of being honest.
“Those who are bent on distracting this government have brought out the posters. I repeat that President Jonathan knows nothing about it.”
When asked why the President had not directed security agencies to go after the people behind the posters, Abati said: “The security agencies have their jobs cut out for them. If they feel there is anything that is likely to disturb the polity, that is likely to affect the integrity of the State or they feel something has happened and they need information, that needs to be investigated, then of course they will do their job.
“They don’t even need to wait for presidential directive. It is part of their normal duty to find out what is happening in the environment particularly if what has happened is a matter of public interest.
“The President does not need to give any order. People whose job is it to ensure that nothing goes wrong within the Nigerian state will do their job.
“They will make their own assessment; they will do their own investigations. If they feel that there is any threat whatsoever to public peace, to rule of law and order, they will make sure that that is not allowed.
“President Jonathan has not launched any campaign for re-election in 2015. He has not asked anybody to go and paste posters around Abuja. Whoever those people are, they are acting on their own. They are not President Jonathan’s agent. They are on to their own mischief.
Reiterating Jonathan’s earlier stance that it is too early in the day to be discussing 2015, Abati said, “The President has been consistent with the issue of 2015. In the last presidential media chat, he said he was not talking about 2015 at this moment.
“He had been given assignment by the Nigerian people which is to see through the transformation agenda, to ensure the different changes he has promised in life and society. That is what he remains committed to.”
He said what was playing out was an indication that “the contestation for power in Nigeria is quite a complex one and people will go to any length to push their own agenda.
“This is not coming from the President. When the President takes a position in terms of his own personal involvement or otherwise with regards to the 2015 elections, you can be sure he will come out to Nigerians and say this is where he stands on this matter the same way he did on previous occasions.
“But the President is not going to adopt this kind of tactics that you see on display.”