The Presidency on Sunday described opposition leaders in the country as lacking positive political antecedents and moral ground to find fault with the social and economic policies of the President Goodluck Jonathan-led administration.
While taking a swipe at the democratic credentials of the opposition leaders, the Presidency said the record of those behind the merger talks currently going on shows that they have nothing to offer Nigerians in terms of good governance and development.
Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to the President, Doyin Okupe, at a press conference in Lagos, said the opposition leaders are desperate to disparage Jonathan by “promoting an incongruous alliance of political weaklings and dysfunctional Lilliputians out primarily to foster their ego.”
Reacting to remarks by the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) National Leader, Bola Tinubu, at the recent convention of the party, Okupe said opposition leaders are fond of using “every platform to denigrate this nation and its government, confuse innocent members of the public and deceptively present themselves as possessing what it takes to move Nigeria forward.
“It is evident that the proposed merger revolves around two personalities only, Senator Bola Tinubu and General Muhammadu Buhari. Unfortunately, both are heavily burdened political liabilities,” Okupe said.
He said the antecedents of the ACN leader when he was Governor of Lagos State did not portray him as a friend of workers and the masses, nor does it show him as having better managerial ability which he hopes to give the Nigerian people.
“Bola Tinubu who spoke about poor budget implementation at the federal level never attained 60 per cent budget implementation while he presided over the affairs of Lagos between 1999 and 2003.
“Contrast this with the remarkable budget implementation record of the present administration in the last two years. The records are there for all to see.”
The Presidential spokesman picked holes in the merger of opposition political parties, noting that none of the parties has what it takes to move Nigeria forward.
He assured that Jonathan will not be distracted from pursuing his transformation agenda.
Okupe also assured Nigerians that the various programmes on power, infrastructure, agriculture and job creation will be pursued even more vigorously in the coming months.
On reports that more members of the Boko Haram amnesty committee are about to quit, Okupe said the Presidency has no problem if anyone wants to withdraw his membership but that that would be in bad faith.
He said if the President decided to give amnesty to the fanatical Boko Haram group after much pressure by Northern leaders, it is only appropriate for the gesture to be reciprocated, adding that government has nothing to lose if some members decided to leave.
“There is no problem if some people want to leave, but leaving the committee is shameful and should not be celebrated.
“If the government considers you good and responsible enough to serve in any capacity and you now decided to politicise it, it is very disappointing”, the Presidential aide added.
As Okupe spoke in Lagos, however, Tinubu himself was firing a salvo at Jonathan in Ado-Ekiti where he said the precarious security and economy situations in the country are a pointer to the fact that the President’s administration could not last beyond 2015.
Tinubu expressed this view shortly after a condolence visit to Governor Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti State on the recent demise of his deputy, Funmilayo Olayinka.
According to Tinubu, the unfolding events in the country showed that Jonathan was not on top of the situations and hence might not enjoy the confidence of the electorate after 2015.
He branded the administration a failure over its inability to secure the lives and property of every citizen as provided for in the Constitution he swore to protect.
Tinubu believes that any leader who fails to address security problem in his or her country would not make any meaningful impact economically and socially.
“President Jonathan and the PDP have failed in terms of security. Security is the engine room of industrial development.
“No country would partner with you when you are not secured. The attacks on Nigeria and its resources have caused a lot of inflation and retardation in the economy.
“If a President is clueless about security at a time he is about to celebrate the centenary of Nigeria’s existence and 53 years of Independence, he can’t by now track and identify the root cause of terrorism, it means he has nothing to offer the country,” Tinubu reasoned.
The ACN chieftain advised the Federal Government against offering a blanket amnesty to the terrorist group, Boko Haram.
He suggested a carrot and stick approach to ending the menace.
Tinubu emphasised that the amnesty should only be offered to groups that are fighting for justice and not those that were perpetrating evil against the country for no just cause.