The Presidency has reacted to media reports that the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan placed orders for 53 gold-plated iPhones to celebrate the country’s 53rd independence from Britain, saying the report is not only misleading but false and mischievous.
A statement signed by the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati on Thursday, blamed the report on those with “politically vested interests,” who would do anything to discredit the Jonathan administration.
The statement reads: “We consider the reports in a section of the media claiming that the Nigerian government had ordered customized gold iPhones from a Dubai-based company to mark the country’s 53rd independence anniversary in October as not only false and misleading, but utterly mischievous.
“It is instructive that despite the refutation of the story by the company, which ought to have laid the mischief to rest, a number of politically-minded news media continue to insist on promoting the blatant falsehood. We deplore their antics as yet another attempt to use any trick or means possible to discredit President Jonathan’s well-meaning, hardworking and focused administration.
“It is certainly a matter of public record and knowledge that since his assumption of office, President Jonathan has ensured that October 1 independence-day anniversaries are low-keyed, without any pomp or pageantry. Ironically, even this prudence generated criticisms from a cynical and opportunistic segment of the public which alleged in 2011, and again in 2012, that the President was either too scared to celebrate or that the government was broke.
“This administration has no intention to depart from its established habit of prudent management of resources and modest celebration of the country’s independence. This year, the public should be assured that the October 1 anniversary will also be low-keyed. Neither the Federal Government nor its agencies has ordered any gold iPhones to mark the anniversary.
“We do not see any justification for such extravagance either now or at any other time. The Jonathan administration’s gold standard is to continue to provide responsible, committed, and result-oriented leadership, not to engage in the purchase and distribution of party gifts.
“We urge the Dubai-based company, which has since said that the order for the said 53 gold i-phones was placed by a private individual and not the Nigerian government, to go ahead and disclose the identity of that individual. We appeal to the public to beware of the increasing desperation of those with politically vested interests, seeking to pull down this administration. Their moral bankruptcy is condemnable.
“The Jonathan administration will remain focused as it continues to serve the Nigerian people diligently” he said.