The Action Congress of Nigeria on Tuesday said President Goodluck Jonathan’s comments on key national issues during the Presidential Media Chat on Sunday exposed his administration’s lack of commitment to the fight against corruption, ending the Boko Haram crisis and others.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said, “If that programme had been designed to showcase the President’s ability to grapple with key national issues, it only succeeded in achieving the exact opposite, and the programme’s architects must now seriously have a rethink on whether they want to continue to feature their principal on that platform.”
It described as unfortunate and poorly thought through, the President’s exhibition of nonchalance when he said he would not publicly declare his assets.
The party said with that statement, the President had undermined his own administration’s fight against corruption and almost wiped off whatever gains that had been made by the country in its continuous battle against the vice.
It said, “The President, by refusing to publicly declare his assets, and by doing so with a choice of words that portray arrogance and nonchalance (I don’t give a damn about that), has given the green light to his cabinet members and other government officials to downplay the fight against corruption and to eschew transparency.
According to the ACN, though Nigeria’s constitution does not mandate public officials to make their assets declaration public, public declaration of assets is more an issue of morality and leadership than constitutionality or legality.
“Since leadership is key to achieving success in this epic battle, President Jonathan, by thumbing his nose at his own administration’s much-stated commitment to transparency and anti-corruption, has simply decreed an Open Sesame for corruption and opaqueness in government,” ACN said.
The party describes as disturbing, the President’s statement that “because Boko Haram is faceless,” the government could not engage in talks aimed at ending the daily dosage of maiming and killings.
“Mr. President, if this remains the stand of your administration almost three years into the Boko Haram insurgency, then Nigerians are in serious trouble. This stand is as dangerous as it is ill-informed. Such negotiations are done through back-channels, through intermediaries, Mr. President. Waiting for the leaders of Boko Haram to come to the table to negotiate with the government is like Waiting for Godot,” it said.
The party said the statement confirmed the speculations in some circles that the Jonathan administration was not sincere about ending the Boko Haram crisis, because it is being increasingly seen by the President as his trump card for a second term in office.
ACN said, “It has also confirmed the President’s own admission that Boko Haram has infiltrated his administration, in which case it is now possible that he is being advised by fifth columnists within his government on how to end the crisis!”
The party also expressed shock at the President’s justification of his ill-advised trip to Brazil when his country was in the throes of violence, saying he did not convince anyone that hopping into a plane with a large retinue of officials and flying off to Brazil was the best way to show the international community, especially investors, that Nigeria is a safe destination.