The Action Congress of Nigeria has described as irresponsible, cheap and inflammatory the Peoples Democratic Party’s statement that President Goodluck Jonathan is being criticised by the opposition because he is from a minority geopolitical zone
In a statement issued in Lagos on Wednesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party expressed shock and disappointment that a party that has always been quick to tout its ‘nationalist’ credentials will stoop so low to stoke the fire of sectional politics.
It said if the PDP feels that the President is being unfairly criticised over his Administration’s poor performance, it should use verifiable facts and figures, not cooked-up statistics, to counter such criticism, instead of resorting to a desperate tactics that could inflame the polity.
The ACN reminded the PDP that President Jonathan, as a democratically-elected leader, is subject to criticism from those who elected him into office as well as the opposition, which has a stake in the well-being of the country.
The party said: “President Jonathan is not an oracle or the head of an absolute monarchy who cannot be criticized. He is a democratically-elected President whose actions are subject to scrutiny by the people, irrespective of what part of the country he comes from.
“This statement credited to the PDP spokesman, Olisa Metuh, is unprecedented. Never before has the spokesman of a ruling party or a central government in Nigeria accused the opposition of criticizing the President because he is from one part of the country. This statement can only be the product of a lazy and desperate party official, who will find the easy way out, even at the risk of setting the country on fire, just to keep his job.”
The ACN wondered why the PDP did not blame the scathing criticism of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Ardua on the fact that they are from a section of the country, considering that both former leaders were not spared by the opposition during their tenure.
The statement added: “The records are there for anyone who cares to check that we never spared former Presidents Obasanjo and Yar’Adua over their actions or inaction while in office. Why, therefore, should we not criticize President Jonathan over his actions and inaction in his official capacity? Why is anyone now pandering to sectional sentiment?
“It is also on record that the ACN did more than any other party, including his own party the PDP, to push for his assumption of office as Acting President, on the strength of the country’s constitution, when his principal was sick and flown out of the country. This was at a time the PDP itself was waffling over the issue.
“Therefore, we reject and condemn the irresponsible accusation that President Jonathan is being criticized because of the part of the country he hails from. We reject the cheap blackmail that our criticism of the President’s action amounts to abuse of his person. We say, unequivocally, that while we have nothing but total respect for the office of the President, this will not prevent us from criticizing his Administration as constructively and responsibly as we have been doing.
“We note that there is nothing that the opposition has said about the Jonathan Administration’s non-performance and cluelessness that other Nigerians, including clerics, politicians and public commentators, have not said, and wondered why the PDP has singled out the opposition for castigation.”