Is the presidency speaking from both sides of the mouth? Last week, presidential aide, Doyin Okukpe picked holes in the Ribadu Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force report by saying its recommendations couldn’t be implemented but SSA Media to President Goodluck Jonathan, Reuben Abati, has disclosed that the president has no personal interest in the Ribadu committee report and is not obligated to shield anyone found wanting in the petroleum sector.
While reacting to the controversy that trailed the presentation of the panel’s report, Abati said the president has nothing to hide as he is already implementing recommendations of some of the committees that investigated the oil sector.
“President Goodluck Jonathan has no reason whatsoever, personal or political to protect wrong-doers in the land. He took on this assignment to make Nigeria better and that is what he is doing everyday: working hard at the Nigerian project and taking every step to transform it for good,” he said.
Insinuations that the Ribadu panel was set up to fail ab initio was described by Abati as, “absolutely uncharitable.”
“President Jonathan has not dumped any input, rather he welcomes every possible input and he has no private interest in this matter,” he said.
Abati said the president has already taken steps towards implementing the reports saying “the Nigerian people are enjoined to stand on the side of truth and to reject the mischief of all hunters of fortune whose interest is their own ambitions, for in this Ribadu Committee Report matter, personal ambitions are beginning to becloud the facts. President Jonathan will continue to provide leadership. Nobody should drag him into the cheap arena of opportunistic demagoguery.”
Abati reiterated the president’s non-interference with the works of anti-graft agencies in the country saying, “we have made the point, again and again, that in this on-going fight against corruption, there will be no ‘cover ups’ and no ‘sacred cows,’ and that President Jonathan’s only interest is the people’s interest.”