The Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Dr. Doyin Okupe, has rejected criticisms saying that he committed an act of blasphemy by comparing Goodluck Jonathan with Jesus Christ.
Okupe, who spoke when he visited the Corporate Headquarters of PUNCH newspapers in Lagos on Thursday, said that Christ Himself advised His followers to be like Him and even urged them to do greater things. According to the presidential aide, there was nothing wrong with what he said.
“The whole thing was just blown out of proportion. Comparing Jonathan with Jesus Christ is not blasphemous, because even Christ said we must be like Him and that we should even do greater things than Him. It is there in the Holy Bible, not from me”, he said.
Okupe came under fire recently from a large section of Nigerians, particularly Christians, who frowned at his comparison of Jonathan with Jesus during a programme on Channels Television earlier on Monday.
“There are political issues. People do not understand the burden this particular president is bearing; he’s like Jesus Christ. He (Jonathan) is bearing the burden of everybody”, Okupe was reported to have said during the programme.
But Okupe insisted that he was quoted out of context.
Speaking further, the presidential aide revealed that the North was still angry with Jonathan over how he emerged president following the demise of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
“There is some form of bias against President Goodluck Jonathan. This bias has been sponsored and supported by some existing geo-political disparity and disconnect that preceded his becoming President.
“The North felt that it was not fair to have someone from another part of the country other than a northerner to take over the leadership of the country after the death of Yar’Adua. For that reason, many parts of the North became quite recalcitrant and unforgiving towards Jonathan.
“Their behaviour towards him is not because Jonathan is a bad person or because they feel he would not do well but because they see him as somebody who has taken their turn in power. That was the beginning of Jonathan’s problems”, he said.
On the performance of the present administration in delivering its electoral promises to Nigerians, Okupe said that though the administration had not optimal capability as widely expected, the Federal Government under Jonathan has made bold inroads into key sectors of the country.
He said: “I have worked very closely with Presidents in the past. I say it with all sense of responsibility; Jonathan has great vision for this country. This administration has succeeded on several fronts than previous administrations”.