4 January 2013

Nigeria: 2015 Posters - Security Agencies Don't Need Order to Arrest Sponsors - Jonathan

Photo: Vanguard
Campaign posters.

There were indications yesterday that security forces in the country may commence full-blown investigation with a view to tracking down those behind the campaign posters of Presidential Goodluck Jonathan's alleged 2015 presidential ambition which reportedly flooded the streets of Abuja on New Year's Day.

Special adviser to the president on media and publicity Dr Reuben Abati said security agencies do not need any directive from the president before tracking those who pasted them if the security agencies feel that their activities could compromise public peace in the country.

LEADERSHIP gathered that the president is seriously upset with the development because he felt it was a ploy by mischief makers to make it look as if it was another shocker from the presidency, just the way the fuel subsidy episode emerged in January 2012.

Jonathan had maintained last year that he was not really keen about 2015 at the moment, as all that was uppermost on his mind was to deliver on his 2011 campaign promises to Nigerians who had placed much confidence in his presidency.

Reacting, however, to questions as to why the president has not directed security agencies to go after those who placed his posters in Abuja, 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 a 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 it is 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," he 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 has 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," he added.

Reiterating that Jonathan knows nothing about the posters, Abati said, "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 agents. They are on to their own mischief.

"The president has been consistent with the issue of 2015. In the last presidential media chat, he said he was not talking about 2015 as 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."

"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."

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