The presidency has issued a scathing rebuke of the All Progressives Congress, APC, describing its spokesperson as “rude and silly” after the opposition party accused President Goodluck Jonathan of abdicating his responsibilities and running a corrupt government.
In an earlier statement Sunday, the APC said Mr. Jonathan’s remarks, Thursday, that campaigners asking for the release of over 250 schoolgirls abducted in Chibok, Borno State, direct their protest to the captors, Boko Haram, amounted to shirking his responsibility.
Mr. Jonathan made the remarks as the protesters attempted to march on the presidential villa. He said pressure should be placed on Boko Haram, not the government, for the release of the school girls.
In the statement, the APC spokesperson, Lai Mohammed, said the comments by the president gave no hope to Nigerians.
“If the Jonathan-led government is right, then anytime a country suffers from deadly flooding, for example, the people should rather blame the sea or the sea goddess instead of looking up to their government for succour. If the Jonathan-led government is right, then the US, Britain France, China as well as the UN, which have all been asking the government to do more to secure the homeland, are wrong and do not understand the concept of governance. Certainly, there is a problem somewhere,” the party said.
The presidency said in a statement that the APC was merely “playing politics” with terrorism and insecurity that Nigeria is facing.
“While we admit that the opposition can claim that it is part of its duties to criticise the government of the day, in the case of the APC many of its spokespersons have made it clear that their duty is to pull down the Jonathan government and they have not hidden this motive,” presidential spokesperson, Reuben Abati, said.
Mr. Abati said the party’s statement was “irresponsible” and lacked logic.
“It is very clear that the APC is being dishonest. Its intention is to play politics with insurgency and terrorism. I think the question needs to be pointedly asked: What country does the APC belongs to? What country is the APC seeking to preside over?
“If you look at the statement by Lai Muhammed, he is accusing the government of abdicating its responsibilities. President Jonathan has never at any time abdicated responsibilities,” he said.
Mr. Abati said the president’s controversial statement on Thursday, read by the minister of state for Abuja, Olajumoke Akinjide, was meant to unite Nigerians against terrorism and Boko Haram.
“He was not saying they should not talk about government responsibility and talk only about Boko Haram. The president was calling for unity. He was calling for a proper focusing and targeting of the meaning of protest in this context,” he said.
“Finally, Lai Muhammed in that statement kept talking about competence. What does he know about competence? What does he know about running anything?
“People who have never run a poultry are grandstanding about running a country. Lai Muhammed is not in the position to talk about competence. There is nothing in his record that grants him the authority or audacity to talk responsibly about competence.
“For him to be openly accusing the President of incompetence or corruption without any evidence to back it up, is to say the least, rude and silly,” Mr. Abati said.