Presidency berates Tinubu over London speech

Doyin Okupe

Mr. Okupe said President Jonathan is most unjustifiably maligned leader in Nigeria’s history.

The presidency, on Thursday, dismissed the speech presented by the leader of Action Congress of Nigeria, ACN, and former governor of Lagos State, Bola Tinubu, at a forum in London last Monday, in which he described the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan as a colossal failure.

At the forum, Mr. Tinubu, who canvassed a ‘revolution” in Nigeria also unveiled the blueprint of the yet to be registered All Progressives Congress, APC, the proposed merger of some opposition political parties, including ACN.

Reacting to the speech, the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe, said the former governor “was not only wide off the mark but betray the hypocrisy for which the national leader of ACN and his party have become very well known.”

Mr. Okupe described Mr. Tinubu as a man living in the past, adding that the address was full of full of inconsistencies and utter falsehood.

“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,” he said.

“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 ACN 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 that Mr. Tinubu’s claim on Nigeria’s democracy is nothing but wild conjecture, completely unrelated to reality.

Mr. Okupe said though Mr. Jonathan is the most accommodating president in Nigeria, yet he (President) remains 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.

He stressed, “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.”

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