President Goodluck Jonathan has said that his government has done well in turning around the deficit in the power sector and that he believes that Nigerians are pleased with his government.
Speaking in an interview with Christiana Amanpour on CNN last night, Jonathan expressed surprise at her suggestions that 60 per cent of Nigerians were still without stable power supply three years after he had pledged, in another interview with her, to make improvements.
Jonathan also dismissed the notion that the existence of Boko Haram was as a result of government misrule and that the activities of the security agents were aggravating the situation, driving people to the sect, adding that “we should not play politics with Boko Haram.”
He also said that if the terrorist rebellion in Mali was left unchecked, it would not only affect Africa but may have repercussions for the rest of the world.
On the power sector, he said, “I would have hoped you would ask an ordinary Nigerian on the streets of Lagos, Abuja or any other city on this issue about power. That is one area that Nigerians are pleased with. And with our commitment, it is working.”
Speaking further, he said, “Even if you have the money and the political will to do so (provide stable power), you cannot do it over night. We are working very hard and I promise here that by the end of this year, power will be stable in Nigeria. This is something that has been a problem for years. You cannot correct it overnight.”
But available figures showed that while the generation of power peaked in the second half of 2012 to about 4,321megawatts, it did not translate to stable power supply for Nigerians as there were still challenges in the distribution and transmission of generated power.
Available data and PHCN sources have also said that the generation of power which peaked in September had since been declining steadily.
When Amanpour queried Jonathan on the issue of corruption and crude oil theft going on at a massive scale under his administration, estimated at 400,000 barrels daily and $7billion a year, he shifted blame away from his government and challenged the international community to stop buying stolen crude oil from Nigeria. He said the stolen crude was not refined in Nigeria but in refineries in other parts of the world.
Also speaking at a different occasion in Davos, Switzerland, Jonathan warned that if terrorists in Mali were not contained, there would be a spill over effect on some western and African nations.
According to a news agency report, Jonathan told the World Economic Forum yesterday that terrorists “always want to create crisis” and “that’s one of the reasons why we will have to move fast.”
A military coup in March 2012 led to the takeover of northern Mali by Islamist militants, who recently started moving south, threatening the rest of the West African country.
Jonathan thanked France for sending in troops and aircraft to push back the terrorists.
He said the crisis in Libya, where a weak government is struggling to maintain control, had made things worse in Mali since weapons and fighters from Libya had joined the Mali extremists.