Special Adviser to President Goodluck Jonathan on Media, Dr. Reuben Abati, has debunked insinuations that Jonathan is a drunk and a glutton.
In an opinion article in The Guardian on Sunday, Abati said the piece was to “correct” some of the myths about Jonathan, underline the achievements of the administration and equip the “twittering, pinging, Facebook crowd of the new age” with facts that should guide social commentaries.
The social network have been awashed with reports of the President’s passionate love for the local gin, Ogogoro, widely brewed in Jonathan’s home state of Bayelsa State.
Abati said, “We are not allowed to touch alcohol. Alcohol is not served during official duties. Yes, when there is an international function, wine is served, but nobody gets drunk around here (Presidency). That will amount to an act of indiscipline.
“The President himself does not allow alcohol to be served at his table. But when you go to social network media, they tell you something else. Lies. Lies. Lies.”
The presidential spokesman also denied that contrary to what had been circulated on social network sites, Jonathan does not eat much.
He said, “I have even heard that the President spends billions on feeding. Well, I have enjoyed the privilege of eating at the President’s table. What does he eat? Fish pepper soup. Cassava bread, slices of yam, rice, boiled plantain, fruits and vegetables.
“He fasts when he chooses, and fasts all month during Ramadan and Lent. And because he takes his exercises and keep fit regime seriously, he eats very little. Okay, he drinks coffee. And yet, there are people out there who keep claiming that there is a feast in the Villa every day. They say at every meal, the table is decorated with roasted turkey, and every delicacy under the sun. Lies. Lies.
“This President is not a glutton. We have a disciplined, hardworking President who enjoys his privacy, and the company of intelligent people.”
Abati equally berated the legion of “critics”, whom he said had described the President as clueless.
He said, “They criticise him out of ignorance. They abuse him out of mischief. You say he is a clueless President. You are wrong; he is not clueless. Nobody is more committed to the Nigerian Project than President Jonathan. In spite of unforeseen challenges, which his administration has had to contend with, President Jonathan is doing his utmost to positively transform Nigeria. Ordinary Nigerians know and appreciate this.
“Those parading themselves as leaders of the opposition, who claim that the President has lost the support of Nigerians, represent only themselves and their selfish interests.
“President Jonathan is a clever, methodical and intelligent man, who is very adept at wrong footing all the persons who make an effort to second-guess or under-estimate him. He understands the complexity of Nigeria.
“He is acutely conscious of the historicity of his emergence as Nigeria’s No. 1. He knows that he is here as the leader of all Nigerians.”