President Goodluck Jonathan Sunday night insisted that there was never a time that he signed an agreement with any group or persons not to seek re-election for a second term in office.
Speaking during a Presidential Media Chat to mark the nation's 53rd Independence Anniversary in Abuja, Jonathan challenged those who had been using propaganda over his perceived 2015 second term bid to publish such agreement for Nigerians to see if it really exist.
The President also used the opportunity of the Media Chat anchored by Senami Ohiemohia of AIT in company of Shehu Dauda of Capital Post, Nosa Igiagbor of Tell Magazine, Gloria Ume-Ezeoke of Channels Television and Shola Oshunkeye, of Sun Newspapers to appeal to the Academic Staff of Universities (ASUU), to sheathe their sword and return to class.
Jonathan who himself was once a University lecturer described as unfair the continuous strike by the Academic Staff of Universities (ASUU), despite efforts by his government to address the infrastructural decay in the institution of higher learning.
The President has also disclosed that he met with the service chiefs after the church service on Sunday with an order to end the embarrassing attacks by Boko Haram, adding that the state of emergency he declared in the three North Eastern states of Adamawa, Borno and Yobe has been successful.
He was of the view that the insurgents were now looking for soft spots like schools just to frustrate and embarrass government.
Speaking further on his second term re-election bid, Jonathan insisted that he was misconstrued over his remarks at an interaction in Addis Ababa with some Nigerians that should the seven-year single tenure be passed he will not run.
According to him, "I didn't sign any agreement not to contest if I did they would have shown you.
"What I said was if Nigeria accepts the single tenure agreement I will not run because it will be assumed I'm greedy that having served four years as a president and two years completion of Yar'Adua's term following his demise, adding additional seven years will amount to 13 years on the seat".
President Jonathan, in spite of been fired questions severally by the media practitioners on when he would declare his interest on 2015, he insisted that the time was not right for him to declare his intentions on whether or not to contest the 2015 election, saying doing so will be against the electoral acts and a criminal offence.
"It is even against the electoral law for me to declare that I would contest when the electoral body has not blown the whistle", adding however that his silence should not be a stumbling block to other people interested in contesting because they must prepare to convince Nigerians that they are the better alternatives.
On the allegations that his aides were already erecting billboards announcing his intentions, President Jonathan expressed surprise about the development and said it would be investigated and corrected since he had given order after the 2011 elections that all bill boards bearing his campaign should be pulled down.
On ASUU's strike, President Jonathan said, the varsity lecturers' continuous demand for earned allowance which is not part of the Federal Government's responsibility as they are supposed to be paid from eternally generated revenue and touting infrastructural decay despite efforts meant to addressed it was unfair and appealed to the lecturers to return to class.
According to him, the government has fulfilled the major part of the 2009 agreements and that the others would be fulfilled as time goes on.
President Jonathan said that he personally ordered the inventory of all the universities in the country with the aim of exposing the problem and gradually addressing them.
"That is why we released the sum of N100 billion to uplift the infrastructures of the universities across the country. We cannot solve all the problems overnight".
Apparently supporting the Nigerian Senate's intention to enact a legislation to curb ASUU's perceived excesses, Presidential Jonathan expressed surprise that in spite of his goodwill to the universities, ASUU had decided to remain adamant, hinting that it was high time the labour laws were looked into in other to check some of these excesses of striking workers.
He said, "ASUU strike is very unfortunate. Throughout this period, government decided to take inventory in schools. We set up technical team that visited all the schools and presented a video and pictures to the Federal Executive Council and I directed the Vice President to ensure that the same report was presented to the National Economic Council meeting which has governors as members.
After seeing those documentations, we said this must change, for us to take that inventory, it means we are committed to improve the university infrastructure, so for ASUU to go on strike on this is unfair. They didn't prompt us to take this inventory we did it voluntarily.
"No government wants to expose itself, so for me to do this it shows we are committed. I didn't expect the strike to last this long that it has lasted this long is unfortunate".
Asked what are the immediate steps to end the strike, President Jonathan said, "I call on ASUU that for the sake of our children to return to class. Their earned allowances is suppose to be paid from internally generated revenue. We are only assisting them is not mandatory. Until, Nigerian universities is autonomous and yet we don't have a say on how it is run. Autonomy without responsibility will lead to anarchy.
"Even if we have all the money in the world we can't solve the problem now and we have released N100 billion outside the line budget, they should return to class".
Asked how soon deadlock be broken, the President said, "ASUU members are humans they should look at the students. This is one government that has been sincere but this cannot be done over night. We took inventory and is the first time we got the document to establish the level of decay in our system. So ASUU can't insist we close down government to solve ASUU's problem. We should all plead with ASUU to return to class. The state own universities our owned by states so why should state universities go on strike when federal government is not doing well? Then we must begin to look at labour laws because of these excesses".
Asked how hot the seat of power was, the President said, "Is hot in the sense that whatever happens in the country, people look up to the President to solve it.
The President said despite the numerous challenges, Nigeria was better off under his administration.
He reeled out the achievement of his administration to include the establishment of more federal universities, stemming corruption in the agriculture and petroleum sector as well as the successful sale of power generating and distribution companies to the private sector, saying the results would soon be felt.
He said, "One of the ways to emancipate people is education, without education you won't see Jonathan here, I was liberated because I went to school.
"Before the PDP government, a director in the civil service had no phone but today, my mother has a phone.
"Before the end of the first quarter next year power will improved. By Monday (today) I will be handing certificates to those who bought the power plants".
President Jonathan denied that the Nigerian economy was bankrupt, describing those behind such assertions as unpatriotic.
He asked if Nigeria was bankrupt, "why are more business concerns coming to Nigeria. In our capital market more than 50 percent investors are foreigners if Nigeria is not doing well, they will all remove their money. Those who say Nigeria is bankrupt is either not informed or just playing politics".
On the issue of oil theft, President Jonathan agreed that the business were being carried out by the rich and that is why government was seeking partnership with countries were the stolen crude are being shipped into to frustrate the cartel.
He said, "We are doing everything possible to end this theft. The issue of vandalism and crude oil stealing, over the period its been allowed to felter, is not something that can be ended with magic wand. We need superior security infrastructure to monitor our pipelines and checking the stealing of our oil and we are working on that.
"Crude oil stealing is not done by poor people because you need a vessel, and connections with international market that buy this product. There is no reason to buy stolen crude oil that is why we are appealing to the governments where our crude are sold to cooperate with us. Those boys boosting the pipeline are paid boys they are not the real oil thieves".
Speaking on the recent sacked ministers, he said it was necessary in order to deliver on his campaign promises to Nigerians, denying that their sack had any political undertone or linked to the seven aggrieved governors.
"In a team, you may need to strengthen your strikers or your defence. Cabinet reshuffle should not be an issue. Nigerians should be interested in how institution works not individuals. I am talking strengthening institutions not individual, a coach of a team doesn't explain his strategy".
On why he is yet to replaced his defence minister, the President said those asking were ignorant of how things work.
"Those who handle defence issues are the service chiefs, the IGP handles the police not the ministers. And that is why I don't envy service chiefs even though is a prestigious post being an ultimate in a man's career, you can be sacked any time even after just briefing the President.
"If you look at the Boko Haram insurgency we lacked security architecture when it started but I can assure that we are trying are best to prevent this incessant strikes.
"I told you earlier that I had security council meeting with the service chiefs after the church service this afternoon and I asked them to meet and ensure this embarrassing attacks are brought under control. Security issues are not issue you advertised but we are on it".
On the incident in Gudu District of Abuja where Nigerians are calling for probe, the President said, it was said that people were questioning the security authorities in the course of their jobs.
"People made confessional statements and the security operatives were taking them to their hideouts when they were confronted and they responded, when there is an encounter between security operatives and criminal elements, the innocents may suffer.
"Some of the people arrested were leading the security operatives to where they carry out their activities when they opened fire on them and of course they have to respond. So for people to begin to make certain remarks is unfortunate".
He said that he stood by his statement that Boko Haram has infiltrated the government and he has been proven right with examples in judiciary, National Assembly and security, where a number of betrayals have been uncovered and they are being prosecuted.