ACN: Media chat exposes Jonathan's tolerance of graft


The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has said President Goodluck Jonathan’s comments on key national issues during his Media Chat programme last Sunday have exposed his administration’s lack of commitment to the fight against corruption and to ending the Boko Haram crisis, among others.

”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,” the party said in a statement in Lagos on Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

It described as unfortunate and poorly-thought-through the President’s exhibition of nonchalance when he said he would not publicly declare his assets, adding that with that statement, the President has undermined his own administration’s fight against corruption and almost wiped off whatever gains have been
made by the country in its continuous battle against the vice.

”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.

”Yes, the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria does not mandate public officials to make their assets declaration public. But in a country hobbled by corruption and lack of transparency in governance, 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 said equally disturbing is the President’s statement that because Boko Haram is faceless, the government cannot engage in talks aimed at ending the daily dosage of maiming and killing being given to innocent Nigerians by the sect.

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”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 has only confirmed the speculations in some circles that the Jonathan Administration is 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.

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!

”But we will like to tell Mr. President that when the Western allies, led by the US, decided to talk to insurgents either in Iraq or Afghanistan, supposed facelessness of the insurgency was not a condition for initiating the talks. In any case, when the intermediaries brokering
the talks with Boko Haram recently opted out due to alleged government insincerity and leakage of sensitive information, what did your
Administration do, Mr. President, to get the intermediaries back to the table?” ACN queried.

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 is the best
way to show the international community, especially investors, that Nigeria is a safe destination.

”As we said earlier, Mr. President, that trip was a product of poor and uncaring leadership, pure and simple. Leaders elsewhere rush home
from foreign trips when crises occur in their home countries. In our own case, Mr. President, you had not even taken off when the killings
and counter-killings started. Yet you travelled out, a huge entourage in tow, under the guise of assuring some gullible investors. Somebody
somewhere is not telling you the truth, Mr. President!” it said.

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