Saturday, 8 March 2014
‘A Legacy of Insecurity and Scandals,’ ACN Dismisses Jonathan Administration At First Anniversary
The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has described President Goodluck Jonathan's first year in office as a monument to insecurity and scandals of historic proportions, and a far cry from the transformation he promised Nigerians at his inauguration.
In a statement issued in Ado-Ekiti on Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said President Jonathan frittered away the goodwill of a nation so quickly after his inauguration, no thanks to gross incompetence and waffling leadership that shocked the citizenry, even by the country's poor leadership standard.
''A President who asked Nigerians to dream again succeeded in turning their dreams into nightmares. Simply put, Nigerians are worse off today than they were when President Jonathan assumed office on May 29th 2011, and the country under his watch has become more divided today than at any other time since the civil war of 1967 to 1970.
''In sports parlance, President Jonathan has snatched defeat from the jaws of victory and left his compatriots forlorn and transmogrified, instead of being transformed,'' it said.
ACN said that to be fair, one year is too short a time to judge an administration for failing to fully upgrade or put in place new infrastructure, more so in a country where everything from roads to hospitals, schools and public utilities have been left to decay by successive administrations.
But the party said it never imagined that any administration would make things worse than they have been, citing the case of power which has worsened so much that the only point of light for a large swath of Nigeria has been the sun during the day and the moon at night.
It said, however, that while Nigerians are willing to wager that the Administration could yet rediscover itself and make some impact in upgrading or building infrastructure, they are fast losing hope when it comes to the government's ability to ensure the security or life and property, a key responsibility of any government; check runaway corruption and prevent shameful scandals.
''As at the last count, over 1,200 Nigerians have been sent to their early graves by the rampaging Boko Haram, as the Jonathan Administration waffles - or perhaps deliberately delays – on efforts to end the crisis. As the government flip-flops between non-engagement with 'terrorists' to qualified engagement, the sect grew stronger and more daring. Today, it has seized the initiative from the government, despite its
allocating a lion's share of the 2012 budget for security.
''Add this to the continuing cases of kidnapping for ransom and other violent crimes across the country, and one begins to wonder whether Nigeria is on the road to Somalia, or if indeed there is a government worth its name in Abuja,'' ACN said.
The party described the Administration's first year as a tsunami of scandals and monumental corruption that have put a lie to President Jonathan's pledge, at his inauguration, to fight corruption ''with overwhelming force of our collective determination''.
''Through a combination of insincerity and deceit, the government went ahead to remove the so-called fuel subsidy, which inadvertently opened a Pandora box that has now let out the worms of unimaginable pilfering of the resources of the commonwealth in the name of fuel subsidy. Sadly, those who are paid
from the public till to prevent such theft did not come out unblemished after the House of Representatives' probe of the phony subsidy. Yet they remain on their seats because the government itself is not untainted.
''Under President Jonathan's watch, the multi-billion-naira police pension scheme was looted by incredibly-brazen public officials, emboldened by the impunity that now characterizes government affairs. There is yet no evidence that these officials will be robustly prosecuted and be made to answer for the crimes they were alleged to have committed,'' it said.
ACN said the President himself is fast losing the moral authority to fight corruption, after being embroiled in scandal after scandal in just one year of his tenure.
''First, he gleefully accepted a donation of a church from a government contractor, pretending not to see the obvious conflict of interest in a church where he worships being gratuitously renovated by a government contractor. As if that's not enough, he has been named in the Malabu Oil Bloc scandal, for which his Attorney-General has yet to offer satisfactory explanations. These scandals are chipping away at the credibility of the President and weakening his Administration's ability to fight corruption, which
is a major inhibition to the country's development.
''Overall, President Jonathan's first year in office is a poor and faltering start to his four-year tenure. He has no one but himself to blame for frittering away the massive goodwill that propelled him to office, in spite of his modest means. He has chosen to play politics with his office, instead of focusing on what his legacies will be. And on occasions that demanded a strong leadership and the need to uphold the constitution he swore to protect, he failed to live up to his pledge.
''The result is that the Jonathan presidency has been greatly diminished within and outside the country. Perhaps this is why he was left out when US President Barack Obama invited four African leaders to Camp David during the last G8 summit in the US to discuss food security in Africa. There is yet redemption for President Jonathan, if he is willing to learn his lessons and turn a new leaf, today!'' the party said.