President Goodluck Jonathan’s decision to pay an American firm $40, 000 (N6.3 million) to secure an interview with the CNN has been condemned by majority of Nigerians who partook in a poll.
In a two-week random poll conducted by PREMIUM TIMES on its site, majority of the 397 respondents said payment for such interviews by the president was wrong. An average of 7 out of 10 (67 per cent) of the respondents said the president’s action was wrong saying, “the media should be the ones seeking to interview the president.” An average of two out of 10 (17 per cent) said the spending is “rather lavish and can be put to a better use.” It was not all negatives though as almost 15 per cent of the respondents either totally agreed or gave a conditional nod to such payments.
One in 10 persons (9 per cent) said it depends on whether the interview would bring foreign investors/ investments into the country. Another one in 20 people (5 per cent) said the interview arrangement was right, saying Nigeria has the money and needs the publicity from such interviews. Another one in 50 people (2 per cent) didn’t care about the arranged interview or how much it cost.
After a PREMIUM TIMES exclusive report on the payment for the interview, the American firm involved confirmed that it did get paid, but claimed it was paid $40,000, and not $60,000 (N9.5 million) as agreed initially.
Fleishman-Hillard Inc. said that parts of planned “communication services”, including media interviews for the president in 2010, were later suspended, with equivalent $20,000 (N3.2 million) reduction in its fee which implies that for arranging one interview, the firm was paid $40,000 (N6.3 million).
The company did not state which media interview went through, but said the service was in support of the president’s trip to New York for the 2010 United Nations General Assembly. The interview, anchored by Isha Sesay, held in Aso Rock in Abuja on September 30, 2010 in preparation for the Golden Jubilee Celebration of Nigeria Independence.