Chuks Okocha, Onyebuchi Ezigbo, Omololu Ogunmade and Sunday Okobi
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has called on the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and other opposition political parties in the country to show respect to the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria as it remains the only institution that unites the nation.
PDP was reacting to the statement by the ACN which urged President Jonathan’s administration to shake off what it described as its trade mark of lethargy and take governance more seriously in 2013 to ease the hardship Nigerians are facing.
But the ACN believes that the President Jonathan-led administration has not done enough to rekindle the hope of Nigerians on democracy. In what looked like agenda setting for the ruling party, the ACN through its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said President Goodluck Jonathan should drop his amorphous Transformation Agenda in favour of a compact programme that prioritises security, job creation, infrastructural development and the fight against corruption.
In a New Year message released Tuesday, the party stated that since the country’s return to democratic rule in 1999, the year 2012 ranked among the worst years for Nigerians.
The party rated the President Jonathan’s administration very low in performance, accusing it of profligacy in handling the resources of the country.
But the PDP, in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metu, condemned the manner the ACN and other opposition parties abuse President Goodluck Jonathan in the name of criticism.
“The Presidency is the highest institution in the country and it deserves our collective respect. There should be a limit between criticisms and abuse.
That President Jonathan is from minority geo- political zone should not be the reason why ACN and other opposition parties should be heaping insults and abuses on him in the name of criticisms.
The party said that it was not against criticisms of the Federal Government’s policies, but said: “Let all our criticisms be constructive on issues that will move the nation forward. It is too early in the year to start with negativism and insults. We call on the ACN and other opposition political parties to make contributory criticisms that would make positive impacts on the nation’s nascent democracy.”
The PDP urged ACN and other opposition political parties to emulate the Republicans in the United States on how they criticise the policies of President Barack Obama without making insulting comments on the personality of the President.
“We are all watchers of political developments in the US and the present cliff, but it has not degenerated to abuses. They make their points and offer useful suggestions of what should be done.
National Leader of ACN, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in his New Year message to Nigerians asserted that the country was suffering from the crosswinds of change and near chronic government inability to govern the country.
The former Lagos State governor said: “In the face of many opportunities to actualise her potentials to the benefit of the people, Nigeria is held down by a leadership that is indecisive, insensitive and clearly incapable.”
He further argued that developments in the past year revealed a gulf between what the present government promises and what it eventually delivers and it is difficult to point to any incremental or minimal improvement in the overall governance of Nigeria as it affects the quality of life of the average Nigerian.
But the ACN argues further that the Jonathan-led administration is fast losing its good will on account of poor performance.
‘’Suffice it to say that Nigerians cannot and will not trust an administration that promises to fight corruption but has presided over the worst cases of corruption in the history of the country; Nigerians cannot and will not trust an administration that sets up committees after committees to probe the oil sector, only to shamelessly dump the reports of the committees in the garbage bin! And Nigerians cannot and will not trust a spendthrift administration that wastes scarce resources on flimsy projects like banquet halls and mansions for a few government officials, when millions are jobless and homeless,” ACN said.
According to the ACN, the President had by the singular act of raising the fuel price January last year, eroded whatever trust Nigerians reposed in his administration.
The party which had previously faulted achievements credited to President Jonathan’s administration, said there is need to build genuine trust between the government and the governed by delivering on government promises.
It also advised the administration to stop relying on phantom statistics to give Nigerians the impression that it is delivering the dividends of democracy, when indeed the opposite is the case.
“The President Jonathan administration trumpets economic growth figures with glee, but of what use is economic growth that has not translated to better lives for the people, create jobs, put food on the table and make our roads more motorable?
“Despite this so-called economic growth, the reality of the Nigerian situation is that more of our youths are daily meandering through traffic in our major cities selling toothpicks, rat poison and pure water. What does this so-called economic growth figures mean to them?
“In 2013, the President Jonathan administration must jettison cooked-up economic growth figures and make a concerted effort to reverse the situation that has seen an estimated 11 million Nigerian children out of school, 46 per cent of our youths unemployed.