By Lawrence Olaoye
The Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Prof Rufai Ahmed Alkali yesterday debunked insinuations that the Presidency is financing the activities of various associations and groups that came out to support Mr. President.
Reacting to a lead report in one of the national dailies, Alkali said there are several thousands of groups across the country that are supporting the transformation agenda of the Goodluck Jonathan administration but they are all privately funded by the sponsors of the group.
According to him, most the identified support groups voluntarily came under one umbrella, the Goodluck Support Group (GSG) for proper coordination and administrative convenience since they all share common goal of mobilizing support for the laudable achievements of the federal government.
“I want to reiterate that these groups are completely independent and self-financing and the Presidency does not in any way foot the bills for the activities of these groups.
“They are voluntary non-governmental organizations and every Nigerian is aware that these NGOs source their funds independent of government.
Alkali further declared that members of these groups are Nigerians who are appreciative of the landmark achievements of President Jonathan and have been exercising their fundamental right of freedom of association and free speech.
On the issue of campaign, Alkali reiterated that President Goodluck Jonathan is a law abiding citizen and cannot jump the gun to start any form of campaign since the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, has not given the political parties green light to commence campaign.
“Mr. President has not even declared yet and campaigns cannot commence unless there is a formal declaration of intent to contest the 2015 presidential election.”
“Apart from being a law abiding citizen, President Jonathan is also a true and loyal member of the Peoples Democratic Party and the party has not yet brought out guidelines for the conduct of its primaries and convention.”
He advised journalists to always seek for clarification on sensitive national issues before going to press in order to balance their report, saying his office and telephone lines are always open all day long for those who wish to reach him.