Efforts made by President Goodluck Jonathan to shield some obvious truths during the fifth Media Chat held last night on national television, have been exposed by P.M.NEWS painstaking investigation.
Contrary to the President’s claim in the televised media chat that prior to the emergence of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, as the ruling party at the centre in 1999, there was no mobile phone, the truth, according to P.M. NEWS finding, is that mobile cellular services made their debut in Nigeria in 1993 with a “national” service operated by NITEL and a smaller Lagos service operated by Mobile Telecommunications Services (MTS).
The two companies, with a joint subscriber base of 12, 500, offered voice services over an analogue E-TACS network, as well as basic value-added services such as voicemail and paging, from three switches (in Lagos, Enugu, and Abuja).
Also, in 1995, MTS closed its operations due to failure to pay interconnection charges to NITEL. M-Tel subsequently emerged as Nitel’s mobile service provider. NITEL introduced the 090—phonelines. This was, however, analogue, very expensive and was reserved for the very few. It indeed was a status symbol, but it had limited coverage.
Furthermore, Multi-Links, a private limited liability company was incorporated in Nigeria in 1994 to provide telecommunication services. It only got “a Unified Access Service Licence with an initial 10 years validity and with an option to renew for a further five years to enable it further expand its services and provide a wide ranging bouquet of services covering Digital mobile fixed telephony, ISP, VAS and payphone, Full international gateway and National long distance services,” on 6 November, 2006, from the Nigerian Communications Commission, NCC.
Prior to its expansion, it already introduced the 01- 775-lines into the market.
President Jonathan further claimed that since the emergence of the PDP, the country has witnessed improved standard of living. Surprisingly or maybe in the attempt to cover up the party’s failure at the federal level, he failed to state that many of the statistics churned out yearly do not correctly reflect the true prevailing situation in the country.
Last year, for instance, the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) raised an alarm over an increase in the country’s poverty rate. The Statistician-General of Nigeria, Yemi Kale, presented a study report indicating that poverty had risen from 54 percent among Nigeria’s population in 2004 to 69 percent in 2010, or about 112 million Nigerians, a huge figure when compared with Nigeria’s estimated population of 163 million in 2010.
Kale further said estimates show Nigerians may have gotten poorer in 2011.
Again, this year, the Statistician-General put the current rate of unemployment in Nigeria at 23.9 per cent even though it is believed to be higher.
The United Nations has also said that with 60,000 Nigerian children infected with the Human Immunodeficiency Virus (HIV) last year, the country has the highest number of children with the virus in the world.
Jonathan also claimed that the Federal Government had only been assisting the striking lecturers of Nigerian universities in terms of payment of arrears as, according to him, the universities are supposed to be self sustaining, getting their pay from their internally generated revenue.
But P.M. NEWS findings have shown that his claim is false as it is not in conformity with the 2009 agreement the union reached with the Federal Government. According to the details of the report released by an implementation committee in November 2012, and obtained by P.M. NEWS, there was nothing to indicate that allowances or even salaries would be paid the lecturers through their internally generated revenue.
The report even made provision for grants for the lecturers to enable them attain more professional qualifications and degrees. The report was signed by both parties from the government and ASUU.
Many Nigerians this morning further slammed the President for mentioning that the ASUU strike was political.
According to them, the statement is unpresidential since the union has a justifiable reason for embarking on the industrial action.
Again, another obvious lie the President told Nigerians was that he had not declared his ambition to contest for the presidency in 2015.
He also denied seeing any of his billboards campaigning for his election, stressing that it was illegal to declare since the electoral laws of the country had not permitted it. Nigerians have not forgotten the recent campaigns by Dame Patience, the President’s wife, both in Port Harcourt, the Rivers State capital and the recent Abuja rally which brought thousands of PDP women together.
Apart from this, the President’s body language has shown his desperate interest in a second term in office. His loyalists and handlers have also, several times, given Nigerians the reason to believe that Jonathan is interested in contesting in 2015.
Analysts also believe that his ambition is the reason for the crises that have engulfed the PDP and torn the party into two.
President Jonathan claimed that his administration had fought corruption and that it is not even a major problem in the country or a major consideration for investors who want to do business in the country. In contrast to this claim, however, Nigerians and the international community have always lamented the high evel of corruption, especially in recent times and the inability of the government to check it.
There has also been a complaint that the rate of oil theft has never been as widespread and as frequent as it is now. This is even as the President has awarded contracts for the monitoring of the country’s waterways.
The secrecy with which the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC, operates has also been a major point in the criticism of the present administration regarding the huge fraud being perpetrated in the petroleum industry.
At the last count, Transparency International rated Nigeria the 8th most corrupt nation on earth. This was in July this year, when it released the 2013 Global Corruption Barometer, which grouped Nigeria along with Zambia, Paraguay, Venezuela, Mexico, Russia, Zimbabwe, Liberia and Mongolia as the leading corrupt nations in the world.
Most informed analyses have always singled out corruption as the fundamental problem inhibiting Nigeria’s march to progress. President Jonathan’s comment will thus be deemed an absurdity.