President Goodluck Jonathan has said that occupants of the offices of the first lady across the nation “are not spending government money,” even though the platform has become veritable means of mobilising women for national development.
The President’s position was a response to the complaints on social media that the offices constitute unnecessary burden to government, as they have become avenues through which public resources are frittered away.
The President, in an argument tweeted by his Special Assistant on New Media, Reno Omokri, said, “I can tell you that these offices (of first ladies) are helping to mobilise the women.”
He boasted that his administration had made remarkable achievements in women empowerment, with several women getting key political appointments.
“Nigerian women, I don’t believe that you are designed by God to pound yam for me, to be a baby factory,” he said.
The President also did self-evaluation on key areas of governance on Monday as the campaign trains of the two leading presidential contenders moved around the country.
Among the areas he mentioned was education. If re-elected, he said, he would not build prisons for Nigerians but more schools.
Apparently referring to the candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Major-General Mohammadu Buhari, he said many office seekers had started promising what they had opportunity to do but never did in the past.
“I believe in you, I love you. We will work hard to improve the quality of our lives. A lot of people are coming to deceive you that they will do things they had opportunity to do that they never did. This government has built more tertiary institutions than any other government. We’ve built 14 universities.
“We are creating future leaders. We don’t believe that you must be of a very high age to lead,” Jonathan, who is seeking a second term, said.
He promised to use technology to deal with graft, a national disgrace his administration has been severely accused of, saying several people have used corruption to enrich themselves.
In a response to the Baga attack where scores were killed, the President said he had ordered the National Security Adviser to give a “comprehensive report to Nigerians.”
He continued, “We are encouraging young graduates to go into farming and be the future millionaires and billionaires.”
Jonathan was also quoted by Omokri as saying that the Peoples Democratic Party was the highest shareholder in APC – a party he also described as “a subsidiary of PDP.” He based his judgment on the number of ex-PDP members “in charge” of the opposition party.
Meanwhile, the Buhari social media teams on Monday also gave minute-by-minute account of the APC’s activities in Imo and other parts of the country.
The retired general told Nigerians, “Get your Permanent Voters Cards. Make sure you vote; make sure you defend your vote. Make sure that your voice is heard.”
The Buhari Presidential Campaign coordinator and Rivers State Governor, Rotimi Amaechi, said Jonathan should not expect votes from Imo indigenes because he did not do anything for them. He challenged the President to tell the Igbos what he had done for them.
Also on twitter, the APC Chairman, John Oyegun, wondered why the people should not be tired of the lies they had endured in the past 16 years. If nothing else, he said, they should be “tired of epileptic electricity.”
A former minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Nasir el-Rufai, lambasted the Jonathan administration for the Baga attack. He said it was shameful the government could not discuss its occurrence even though it debated the number of casualties.
Amid the intense political horse trading, news of confirmation by the United States Army College that Buhari, indeed, graduated from the school went viral on social media.
The confirmation letter that was purportedly issued by Carrol Kerr of the Public Affairs Office of the institution said Buhari graduated with a diploma in 1980.