ACN National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed
By Ike Abonyi and Tunde Sanni
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) Monday attributed poor performance to the ongoing debate on whether or not President Goodluck Jonathan would seek re-election in 2015.
This also came on the heels of the party’s insistence that the kid glove treatment being accorded the Boko Haram sect by the President had been responsible for their mindless bombing of some parts of the country.
Reacting to a presidency statement over the “growing furore in political circles and the media” over the President’s alleged ambition for 2015, the party said in a statement through its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, that a government that fails to perform has created a conducive atmosphere for rumours that will inevitably overheat the polity.
“Mr. President, we in the ACN are not bothered about whether or not you plan to run in 2015. What concerns us now is how to alleviate the collective suffering of the Nigerian people, who have experienced more pain than gain in one year of your administration, and have yet to reap the fruits of democracy almost 15 years of the country's return to constitutional order under your party’s watch.
“If we must be frank, this past one year has been like four for Nigerians who have been subjected to untold hardship and the effects of a catalogue of bad and inconsistent policies. As governance takes the back seat and meaningless politicking becomes the order of the day, many wish the four years of your administration will just pass by fast to give them the opportunity to make a better choice of leadership. This is what is driving the 2015 debate,” it said.
“This was followed by the ill-advised fuel subsidy removal that has now turned into a fiasco; the poorly-managed aftermath in which peaceful protesters were crushed by gun-totting soldiers, even in a democracy; the unprecedented corruption revealed by the fuel subsidy probe, and an equally-horrendous looting of the public treasury in all sectors.
“Add this to what is arguably an all-time low supply of electricity that has thrown vast swath of the nation's landscape into darkness, the rising unemployment, worsening state of infrastructure and monumental insecurity of lives and property, and you have a ready mix of ingredients that will easily overheat a polity,” the party added.
Meanwhile, Mohammed told journalists in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital that the party wanted the Federal Government to be proactive in dealing with the Boko Haram menace.
His words: “We have been telling the President long time ago that there is no alternative to education. We don’t share the views of those around the President that tend to look at the Boko Haram either from the viewpoint of ethnicity or from the viewpoint of religion. On the contrary, it started as a local dispute. It was a way of people who felt marginalised and reacting against the local situation. But because it was badly managed, it has now completely gone out of hands, while the people close to the President keep telling him that there is no point for meeting with terrorists. I think this is wrong.
“Even in the UK, after almost several decades of war with the IRA, until the Good Friday peace negotiation, there was absolutely no solution to the IRA problem. I think it has come to the stage that the Government needs to ensure that it calls a roundtable conference of all major stakeholders – traditional rulers, militia groups, security agencies, politicians-all of us must sit together and find an enduring solution to the problems in the country.”
The ACN spokesman urged the Federal Government to, as a matter of urgency, organise a roundtable conference of all major stakeholders in the nation, with a view to finding an enduring solution to the grievances of the fundamentalist sect.
Mohammed advocated for traditional rulers, representatives of security agencies, aggrieved militia groups as well as politicians, among others, to sit down and discuss intimately the issues at stake in the stakeholders’ meet.
On the endemic corruption in Nigeria, the ACN spokesman remarked that it is a symptom of bad government and lack of values in the land. He submitted that “with good government, we will be able to minimise corruption in the country.”
Mohammad said: “Good government can only evolve if there is equity, justice and fair play in the nation. When gainful employed is ensured for the masses, poverty will be reduced and insecurity will be tackled.”
The ACN national publicity secretary also commented on the call from some quarters that President Goodluck Jonathan should resign, saying the Constitution of the country provides adequately enough for the emergence to power of a leader and how he can leave such high office.
Hear him: “We are in a democratic dispensation, and of course, constitutionally, there are ways in which a President comes to power and there are ways in which a President leaves power. But I think what people are saying is that Mr. President has not shown that he has capacity to deal with the problems facing Nigeria. They are expressing their anger at the lack of capacity on the part of the Federal Government. And we as an opposition, we are not surprised for we have always said right from day one that this government lacked capacity, they lacked focus.”