The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has said it is not the business of the opposition to spoon feed the government in power on how to successfully pilot the affairs of the country, saying if the Jonathan Administration is overwhelmed by the demands of running the country, it should indicate so and step down.
Reacting to a statement credited to a presidential aide, Dr. Doyin Okupe, that the opposition only criticizes without offering solutions to the country’s myriad of problems, the party’s National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohamed, however said the ACN has gone beyond its brief to offer suggestions to many knotty issues.
”If the PDP-led federal government is expecting the opposition to waste its time and energy in helping it to run the government, then it is another clear indication that those at the helms neither prepared for the huge responsibility placed upon them by being voted into office nor learnt fast enough on the job. Little wonder the country’s development has been in reverse gear since 1999,” it said.
The ACN said it is aware of its responsibility as the leading opposition party, and that it has always been guided by the highest ideals of democratic principles and the best practices of democratic opposition in the world.
”In speaking truth to power in Nigeria, on many occasions we have turned ‘non-issues’ which are critical for democracy, liberty and justice into issues; we have, through our media interventions, created the possibilities of greater participation by Nigerians in the governance of the country, while canvassing for greater transparency and accountability in the affairs of government and public institutions. We are glad Nigerians appreciate this and have constantly told us so.
”Because we believe in constructive criticism, we have even gone beyond our brief to offer suggestions. Any close perusal of our regular interventions dating back to the Obasanjo presidency will realize that we have proffered solutions to oil militancy in the Niger Delta and Boko Haram violence, suggested ways to wean the country off fuel subsidy through local refinery of crude oil instead of making Nigerians to bear the brunt of a corrupt system; pointed out what areas of the economy needed more government attention to enhance socio-economic development and alerted the government to the dwindling fortunes of the oil sector due to low investment and the emerging dangers of shale oil discovery in the US and elsewhere.
”But we have since realized that this federal government is not in power to improve the lives of the citizens but to enrich the few members of its clique and feather its own nest. That is why we are gearing up to take over the mantle of leadership at the centre through the support of Nigerians, who are totally fed up with a party (PDP) that has failed to make their lives better since assuming office in 1999,” the party said.
ACN also responded to the statement that it is trying to mislead Nigerians with the allegations that SURE-P funds are being channeled into the pockets of PDP members across the country in preparation for the 2015 elections, saying the presidency just doesn’t get it.
”Lest the presidency and the PDP muddle the waters, what we have said is that after the SURE-P funds have been shared among the three tiers of government, the federal government converts its own share into slush funds which are then given to persons who are neither elected nor recognized by law to ferret into the pockets of PDP members.
We went ahead to list the names of those who have been appointed to coordinate the sharing of the funds, and noted that they are the same as President Jonathan’s campaign coordinators in the states – and no one has been able to fault us!” the party said.
Meanwhile, the ACN has expressed its total disgust at the increasing resort to the use of gutter language by presidential aides when responding to the criticism of the federal government by the opposition.
”It is sad that this presidency is being increasingly defined by the use of rude and crude language against the opposition. The ACN and its leaders have been mercilessly maligned and called unprintable names, to such an extent that the deeper you sink into the gutter in talking about the ACN and its leaders, the more assured your meal ticket is at the presidency.
”But we are honestly not surprised. When a key spokesman for any government is a corrupt and undignified personality who, under a decent dispensation, should be undergoing trial for collecting huge funds for contracts not executed, that government has already defined its own public image.
”When a key spokesman for any government is a man who has jettisoned every principle he used to hold dear and has negated everything he ever wrote, just to secure a meal ticket, that government cannot and should not expect to be respected and believed by the citizenry. That is the crisis facing the Jonathan Administration,” the party said.