The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has said that 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.
‘’If that programme was 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 yesterday 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 had undermined his own administration’s fight against corruption and almost wiped off whatever gains had 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 portrayed arrogance and nonchalance ( he said: ‘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 turning 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 was equally disturbed at the President’s statement that because Boko Haram was faceless, the government could not engage in talks aimed at ending the daily maimings and killings of given to innocent Nigerians by the sect.
“Mr. President, if this remains the stand of your administration, after almost three years of 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.