ABUJA, Nigeria – In the whirl of Nigerian politics, a historical snippet resurfaced with former presidential spokesperson Ima Niboro, dispelling recycled reports regarding former President Goodluck Jonathan’s rejection of a presidential yacht.
Niboro issued a clarifying statement on Saturday, November 4, 2023, challenging the resurrection of a 2010 news piece by the Daily Trust.
The report once heralded President Jonathan’s refusal of a luxury yacht, initially intended for presidential use, advising instead that the allocated funds be diverted to refurbish the Nigerian navy’s deteriorating fleet.
The reappearance of this narrative has come to light amid attempts to draw parallels between Jonathan’s austere decision and the current presidency of Bola Tinubu.
Niboro, perplexed by the dredging up of this archived event, emphasized the continuity of frugality demonstrated by Nigerian leaders, including President Olusegun Obasanjo, who initially dismissed the yacht and advised its conversion to a naval gunboat.
Under Jonathan’s tenure, when the yacht proposition resurfaced, he too instructed the navy to pursue a virement from the National Assembly, redirecting the N3.3 billion budget towards reinforcing the navy’s maritime capabilities.
“There is no basis for comparison between Tinubu and Jonathan on this issue,” Niboro articulated, underscoring that both statesmen, following in Obasanjo’s footsteps, renounced the presidential luxury.
In a moment of retrospection and counsel, Niboro called upon naval authorities to abandon the recurrent proposition of a presidential yacht that seems to entangle presidents in unnecessary controversy.
“Someone at the navy needs to take a look at this issue of Presidential Yachts that no president wants, but which rears up to embarrass successive administrations,” he stated.
The ongoing discussion highlights the recurrent theme of presidential frugality in the face of national budgeting for defense and public utility, and the desire for clear communication from past to present administrations.