The war of words between the presidency and the All Progressives Congress (APC) raged on Monday as the party asked President Goodluck Jonathan to go to court if he felt libelled by comments made by its interim National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said Akande merely told the truth by his characterisation of the Jonathan presidency, adding that it believes truth is enough defence for any libel case.
According to the party, there is nothing strange or wrong in criticising a democratically elected president since Jonathan is not an imperial president, a monarchy or an emperor.
The president, in a statement on Sunday by his spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, had warned Akande to stop denigrating the Office of the President by using uncomplimentary words to criticise the incumbent.
The presidency reminded Akande and his fellow travellers that there are laws against libel and defamation of character in this country, “even if there are no legal impediments to indecorous, hypocritical and unpatriotic vituperations”.
It had described Akande’s criticism as a cheap ploy to gain popularity for the APC and divert attention from the alleged feud between the two prominent chieftains of the opposition party – former Head of State, Major General Muhammadu Buhari, and former Lagos State Governor, Senator Bola Tinubu.
However, APC yesterday took on the presidency again, saying nothing confirmed Akande’s assertion that Jonathan is running a kindergarten presidency than the crude manner it (presidency) responded to the frank but constructive criticism by its national chairman.
“In the true character of this presidency, its increasingly irreverent and undignified spokesman failed to respond to the issues raised by Chief Akande and instead chose to haul abuses at a man who is old enough to be his father.
“Such irresponsible act does no credit to the spokesman or the president he is serving, and Nigerians will definitely not forget such crudity in a hurry.
“Where is the presidency’s response to Chief Akande’s assertion that he has written two letters to the president over the serious challenges facing the country, without getting a response?
“Where is the presidency’s response to Chief Akande’s assertion that President Jonathan is witch-hunting political opponents? These are the issues that Nigerians are interested in, not how many hours the president sleeps at night because he is supposedly working tirelessly.
“In any case, if indeed this president is working tirelessly, we need to ask who he is working for, because Nigerians have yet to feel the impact of his administration.
“They are also not interested in the fact that the president once served as a deputy governor, governor and vice-president because the experiences he supposedly garnered from doing so have not impacted positively on his duty as president. That’s not a surprise, considering that the president owes his meteoric rise in politics to luck and destiny. Nothing else!” the party said.
The APC reiterated its position that the presidency is an under-achieving one, “always eager to celebrate tokenism, using questionable statistics”.
“As the presidency was composing its empty response to the serious issues raised by our highly-respected chairman, the African Development Bank was saying in its annual report (African Economic Outlook), quoted by the local media on Sunday that the proportion of people (Nigerians) living below the national poverty line has worsened from 65.5 per cent in 1996 to 69.0 per cent in 2010, most of those years under the PDP and the last four under President Jonathan.
“What therefore is there to celebrate in a presidency under which power generation has fallen to 2,500MW? What is there to celebrate in a presidency that has only given Nigerians widespread insecurity, unemployment, dilapidated infrastructure, oil theft and unbridled corruption.
“Of what use is the touted 6 per cent increase in the GDP when over 40 per cent of our youths are unemployed?” APC queried.
The party described as a figment of the presidency’s imagination the claim of a feud between its leaders, Tinubu and Buhari, saying the PDP and the presidency have been peddling lies over a phantom feud because they have not been able to fathom how the leadership of the APC was able to put national interest above personal considerations.
“Mr. President, don’t let your lickspittle aides deceive you. There is absolutely no feud between the two leaders. Waiting for such a feud is like waiting for Godot,” it said.
Souce: Thisday live