PRESIDENT Goodluck Jonathan has said he has no regret for proposing a six-year single term of office for president and governors, stressing that the idea remains the only way to educe social unrest and stabilise the polity.
The president said this on Monday, during the maiden media chat since he assumed office in May.
He allayed the fear that he had a hidden agenda about the proposal, while urging those who had criticised the idea to wait and see the provisions of the pending bill.
Jonathan reiterated that the nation could not withstand the tension created as a result of the tug-of-war for second term of office among politicians.
According to him, the nation had never experienced a stable political climate since 1960, when it got independence, adding that the proposal was necessary to stabilise the country and its economy.
“Äs we speak, there are people holding meetings because of 2015. This creates so much tension, which the country cannot stand. The idea is not being newly raised, it was proposed during the administration of the late President Umaru Yar’Adua,” he said.
When asked for his take on agitations for a sovereign national conference, Jonathan said he was in support of the need for a dialogue, adding that he would soon send a bill containing the recommendations of past dialogues to the National Assembly for deliberation.
He disclosed that over 180 issues touching on sensitive areas of the country had been agreed upon by Nigerians from past recommendations from dialogues and discussions.
The president said the nation would not disintegrate, but admitted that the problems militating against it needed to be discussed and thrashed out.
While dismissing reports credited to Wikileaks about him and his wife as “mere beer-parlour gossips,” he urged Nigerians to take the report with a pinch of salt.
He said he would not vilify anyone for being fingered in any of Wikileaks revelations because the medium lacked credibility.
President Jonathan also spoke about the crisis in the judiciary, saying that the arm of government would cleanse itself as it was currently doing, adding that he was worried the judiciary had been mired in ugly controversies.
He urged politicians to refrain from intervening in the issue, adding that the judiciary would come out of its present quagmire stronger.
On employment generation, President Jona-than said the economy had grown by over eight per cent, but it had regrettably not translated into job creation for the average Nigerian to know it was growing.
He lamented that poverty level in the South-West was higher than in the North-West because of agriculture, despite the fact that the South-West was the most industrialised.
Specifically, he said the agriculture and the petrochemical industries would be explored to drive the job creation goal, adding that the plummet of share values at the capital market was worrisome and was responsible for the misfortunes of some banks.
While expressing confidence in the ability of the agriculture minister to revamp the sector, he said about three million jobs would be created from the sector in due course.
He disclosed that licences would no longer be issued to anyone or company for rice importation except to those committed to growing local economy by producing the product.
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