Akin Akande, Abuja
The Presidency has replied the former governor of Lagos state and the leader of Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), Ahmed Bola Tinubu, describing him as a liar who is living in the past.
The Presidency said that Tinubu’s address in London on Monday on the topic, “Leadership, National Development and The People,”was not only wide off the mark but betrays the hypocrisy for which the national leader of ACN and his party have become very well known.
Briefing journalists in Abuja on Thursday, the Senior Special Assistant to President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs, Dr. Doyin Okupe, said that Tinubu’s address was full of inconsistencies and utter falsehood.
Okupe added that Tinubu’s claim that, “everyone claims to be democratic but not everyone is faithful to his or her word, is a clear case of self-indictment as will be evident in due course.
Said Okupe: “As any keen and discerning observer of Nigeria’s democracy will attest, Senator Tinubu and his ACN are completely lacking in democratic temper. The ACN as a party is not only undemocratic but blatantly autocratic and makes no pretenses about it.
“It is clear that CAN leadership’s understanding of democracy is tainted and skewed by his undemocratic mindset, which has seen him exert authoritarian control over the party. With such disposition, it is easy to understand his warped and defective reading of the democratic situation in Nigeria.
“To assert as he did in that paper that Nigeria under the leadership of President Goodluck Jonathan is a dysfunctional democracy is not only the height of ignorance but equally of unbridled mischief,” the Presidential aide said.
Okupe also said that Tinubu’s submission on Nigeria democracy was nothing but wild conjecture, completely unrelated to reality.
The Presidency noted that President Goodluck Jonathan, being the most accommodative president in the history of Nigeria, is yet “the most unjustifiably maligned leader in the history of Nigeria with critics using their overriding influence on print and electronic media freely and in many cases unfairly to take potshots at him.”
It further said: “It is common knowledge that no administration has been abused, lied against and harangued like the present administration under Jonathan and yet there have not been any reprisals or harassment from government agencies.
“Instead, the administration has encouraged free speech and open government. It is on record that despite the avalanche of criticisms and attacks in the media, journalists and their organisations have not been hounded or closed down as we witnessed in recent past.
“Rather than muzzle free speech, this administration has always explored the legal option in seeking redress as was the case recently with the recent Leadership Newspaper issue.
Furthermore, the signing into law of the Freedom of Information Act after previous administrations had stalled it was a pointer to the inherent democratic character of the Present administration.
“Unlike the governments being run by ACN party at the state levels, the administration of President Jonathan however, has always bowed to the wishes of the Nigerian public on a number of occasions when they have disagreed with certain policies of his government.
The reversal of his decision on the removal of subsidy on petroleum products, the offer of amnesty to terrorists at the insistence of Nigerians in the northern part of the country and the decision to shelve the introduction of the N5000 note following public opposition, are three examples that will suffice in this regard.”