A Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan, Doyin Okupe, on Monday, said “President Jonathan is like Jesus Christ, who the Christian faithful call the saviour of the world”, because the manner in which he (Jonathan) bears the burden of Nigerians is the same way Jesus Christ bore the burden of the world.
“People do not understand the burden this president is bearing. He’s like Jesus Christ. He’s bearing the burden of everybody,” Okupe said while commenting on the state of the nation on Sunrise Daily.
According to him, the efforts of the government in fighting the Boko Haram insurgency as well as in power were being hindered by external factors, even as the nation gears up for the 2015 elections, which Okupe said would be impossible for Jonathan to lose.
“I can’t see GEJ losing this election; It’s not possible.”
On managing serious challenges in Nigeria and also campaigning for a second term in government, Okupe noted that “the beauty of executive is being able to multitask,” which he said was one quality the President had.
However, there have been complaints concerning two major issues – security and power.
On electricity, Okupe explained that Nigeria has been “under-powered” for many years, noting that in Ikeja, Lagos State, the electrical infrastructure on ground is about 35 years old.
He admitted that “power is a problem”, which was why the government was working to improve generation and distribution, through the power reform.
He also noted that the equipment were expensive which had caused the private owners to borrow billions of dollars. “We are not there yet but we are certainly on an irreversible road to better power supply,” he further insisted.
Asked why the government did not first work on changing equipment before increasing generation, which also costs money, Okupe said that there was a limit the government could do as power was controlled 100% by the private sector.
“In the power situation, we are not there yet. We are definitely on a road that cannot change,” he emphasised, hinting that the government is working on huge dam projects to allow the private owners work effectively on distribution.
He also claimed that government efforts were being sabotaged by politicians who sponsor vandals to attack gas pipelines.
“We noted that there were 10 NIPP projects which were performing below 50 per cent”, he disclosed, alleging that some persons were making sure they underperformed so as to make the government appear incompetent.
He, however, added that the rate of sabotage had reduced in the past year.
On the state of security in Nigeria’s North East region, Okupe commended the government’s efforts, noting that all aspects of the war against terror, including funding, administration were being worked upon.
“Today, the Nigerian Army is in total and perfect control,” of North East, he added.
On the recent comments made by Governor of Borno State, Okupe said the governor “never fails to amaze me”, adding that majority of problems of insurgency was situated in his state but he was travelling to Lagos, London and other nations, to discuss insurgency but failed to meet the President on the matter.
Okupe argued that Boko Haram was a “multinational, international insurgency arrangement in Nigeria” as the group had links with ISIS, Al Qaeda, and other international terrorist groups.
He also said he did not know about the identity of the sponsors as he was not working with security.
He also claimed that there were huge political considerations in the fight against Boko Haram, making an example of General Buhari, who Okupe said had polled over 12 million votes in the North in the last election.
Okupe alleged that Buhari had said any attack on Boko Haram was an attack on the North and that Buhari’s recent condemnation of Boko Haram was as a result of his fourth bid to become Nigeria’s president.
#BringBackOurGirls Not Time Bound
Speaking about the 219 schoolgirls in Boko Haram captivity, Okupe said “the issue of Chibok girls was (an) emotion(al) tragedy but it is a tragedy that we must bear with fortitude,” noting that issues such as rape, murder and other atrocities were common in war.
“Chibok girls are a major thorn in the flesh of the administration,” he explained, stating that “If it was possible to get them yesterday I know that this government would have done it”.
He also called for caution in the rescue mission, noting that “any mistake will lead to their death” and that there’s no time limit for returning the girls alive.