Take Governance Seriously In 2013, ACN Urges Jonathan

The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has urged the Goodluck Jonathan Administration to shake off its trademark lethargy and take governance more seriously in 2013 to ease the hardship which his government has foisted on Nigerians, especially in the past year.

President Goodluck Jonathan (r), giving a piece of cassava bread to the Vice President Namadi Sambo during a Federal Executive Council Meeting in Abuja.

In a New Year message issued in Lagos on Tuesday by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, the party said since the country’s return to democratic rule in 1999, the year 2012 ranked among the worst years for Nigerians, even by the very low standard of a non-performing and profligate administration like President Jonathan’s.

It said having ambushed Nigerians on January 1, 2012 with a totally unnecessary and punitive fuel price hike, the Jonathan Administration ensured that everything went downhill from that moment until the end of the year, when Nigerians had to pay far above the official price for fuel, with its attendant bandwagon effect on the price of goods and services.

“Mr President, that singular act of your Administration helped to erode whatever trust Nigerians reposed in you. Since trust is a critical element between the government and governed, you must begin to rebuild trust by delivering on your promises, since trust can neither be decreed nor forced.

“Suffice it to say that Nigerians cannot and will not trust an Administration that promises to fight corruption but has presided over the worst cases of corruption in the history of the country; Nigerians cannot and will not trust an administration that set up committees after committees to probe the oil sector, only to shamelessly dump the reports of the committees in the garbage can!

“And Nigerians cannot and will not trust a spendthrift Administration that wastes scarce resources on flimsy projects like banquet halls and mansions for a few government officials, when millions are jobless and homeless,” the ACN said.

The party advised President Jonathan to drop his amorphous Transformation Agenda in favour of a compact programme that prioritizes security, job creation, infrastructural development and the fight against corruption.

It also advised the Administration to stop relying on phantom statistics to give Nigerians the impression that it is delivering the dividends of democracy, when indeed the opposite is the case.

“The Jonathan Administration trumpets economic growth figures with glee, but of what use is economic growth that has not translated to better lives for the people, create jobs, put food on the table and make our roads more motorable?

“Despite this so-called economic growth, the reality of the Nigerian situation is that more of our youths are daily meandering through traffic in our major cities selling toothpicks, rat poison and pure water. What does this so-called economic growth figures mean to them?

“In 2013, the Jonathan Administration must jettison cooked-up economic growth figures and make a concerted effort to reverse the situation that has seen an estimated 11 million Nigerian children out of school, 46 per cent of our youths unemployed, made Nigeria a country with one of the highest rates of road crashes in the world, put the country’s life expectancy at a mere 51.9 years (compared with 62.7 for Gabon, 73.4 for Mauritius and 74 for Libya) and the indignity of annually seeing the country ranked among the most corrupt,” ACN said.

The party wished all Nigerians a Happy New Year, and prayed that 2013 will bring peace and joy to all.

Nigerian media is politicised-Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has passed a damning verdict on the Nigerian media, claiming that the nation’s media is politicised.

According to the president, the Nigerian media is no longer the voice of ordinary people, but “the voices of their ‘rich owners’.”

“Before, the media used to be the voice of the ordinary people, but now, the media is the voice of those who own the media houses and those who owned the media houses have private jets and those who own private jets are not ordinary people.”

Mr. Jonathan made this known while unveiling the new performance assessment scheme for members of his cabinet on Wednesday, to highlight government’s targets and achievements in all sectors of governance.

The president also blamed the necessity for the new performance evaluation mechanism on the mass media, which he said no longer reflects the voice of the ordinary man.

On the signing of the performance assessment scheme, Jonathan assured the cabinet members that initiative was not to witch hunt any of them.

President Jonathan promised that he would not go back in his desire to meet up with the task set before his administration.

He said the exercise was only meant to remind all public office holders that they are representatives of Nigerians and they (the officials) are accountable to the people.

“There have been all kinds of speculations about this exercise. It is important to state what it is and what it is not” he said.

“I want to assure every one of you who has taken part in the exercise that this is not a witch-hunt.”

“It is to remind all of us, from the President to directors-general, to advisers and other aides that we are representatives of the Nigerian people, and we are accountable to them at all times.

“I had stated clearly during the inauguration of the Federal Executive Council that ministers are expected to be accountable, productive, transparent and focused.

“In the past two months, many of you have had to make detailed presentations on the Key Performance Indicators in your ministries. Today’s exercise is yet a reminder of our commitment to service delivery for the common good of Nigerians.”

I can stay in office for more than eight years – Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday affirmed that his stay in office could legally go beyond eight years under certain conditions.

Jonathan declared this in an Abuja High Court hearing, following a suit against his alleged 2015 re-election bid.

The case was filed by People’s Democratic Party presidential aspirant, Mr Cyriacus Njoku, on March 20 seeking the determination of section 135 (2) and 137 (1) of the Constitution which limit presidential tenure to maximum of two terms of four years each.

Counsel to Jonathan, Mr Kenechukwu Nomeh, who represented Mr Ade Okeaya-Inneh (SAN), argued that under section 315 (3) of the constitution, a president could stay in office for additional time beyond his tenure in certain circumstances.

“The tenure of occupant of an office can be extended by the National Assembly for six months in following conditions: when the nation is at war and in situation of death of the occupant of the office which applies to President Jonathan,” he said.

He urged the court to dismiss the suit for being incompetent and premature.

Earlier, Justice Mudashiru Oniyangi overruled an objection by Jonathan and the PDP that a certain newspaper publication is not a sufficient cause of action.

The publication in question, marked Exhibit VRA 1, is the Punch newspaper of March 16, 2012, which contained a statement credited to the Jonathan’s spokesman Reuben Abati alluding to the President’s intention to seek re-election.

Oniyangi also upheld the submission of Mr Njoku that the suit being a constitutional matter, he needed not show evidence of sufficient interest as locus standi to institute the action.

The case has been adjourned till October 18,  in consideration of  the annual vacation of the FCT High Court which begins on August 6.

My administration is moving slow because of Boko Haram – Jonathan

President Goodluck Jonathan has admitted that Boko Haram is the reason why  his administration is moving on a snail speed in terms of performance and why he is yet to fullfill his election campaign promises.

Mr Jonathan made the confession at the 60th National Executive Committee of the Peoples Democratic Party.

He attributed the security challenges facing the country, most especially Boko Haram insurgents in the Northern region as the major problems which had caused a lot of distraction to his Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s led government.

He listed job creation and power supply as priority areas that were meant to be addressed in earnest but which have been overshadowed by insecurity.

Mr Jonathan, however, expressed the optimism that the challenges posed by the sect would soon reduce, regretting that the relative peace experienced in the last three weeks was punctured by the recent attacks on mourners in Plateau State.

“Security agencies are working hard on the problem in Plateau and God willing, the issue of Boko Haram will soon come down.”