By Soni Daniel, Regional Editor, North
ABUJA — Barely 72 hours after former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, chastised President Goodluck Jonathan administration’s poor leadership, the Presidency, yesterday, fired back at him, describing his economic blueprint for Nigeria’s growth as obsolete and incapable of salvaging any economy.
Besides, the Presidency accused Tinubu of always playing to the gallery for cheap political gains without adding value to the people in anyway.
The ACN leader had on Monday addressed the House of Commons in London, during which he highlighted major political and economic challenges facing the country; in a lecture he called “Leadership, National Development and the People”.
Apart from describing Jonathan’s administration as lacking the needed capacity to move the nation forward, the APC chieftain also accused the government of taking Nigeria backwards.
Tinubu and democracy
The Senior Special Assistant on Public Affairs to President Jonathan, Dr. Doyin Okupe, in his reaction, yesterday, described Tinubu as an autocratic leader, lacking in democratic credentials to talk about leadership and good governance.
Okupe noted with dismay the claim by the former governor that the Jonathan administration was drawing the country backwards, boasting that the current leadership had done more than any other in Nigeria’s near 53 years of nationhood.
The SSA also described Tinubu’s economic blueprint, “Third Path” as moribund and incapable of taking any country forward and accused him of trying to delve into an area he has little or no knowledge about.
Okupe dismissed as verbose and lacking in statistical support, Tinubu’s recommendation that no large nation has ever attained growth without government running deficit budget to build required infrastructure.
The Presidential aide noted: “It is clear from Tinubu’s paper that the ACN chieftain and his party lack a fundamental understanding of both democratic norms and sound economic judgment.
“Tinubu’s Third Path blueprint for economic transformation is nothing but a hollow ideological concept. As the ACN national leader has failed to realize, the world has moved away from ideologies in favour of pragmatic and result-oriented policies, which impact meaningfully on the lives of the people.
“Nations like Russia and China, which spearheaded Communism, one of the great ideological movements of the 20th century, have since embraced market reforms, and states in the western hemisphere have also dumped pure capitalism for more people-oriented policies with less dogmas and economic clichés.
“We are sorry to say that the so-called “Third Path” is a clueless path to socio-economic abyss as it remains essentially a theoretical proposition with no evidence of success either in history or contemporary climes,” Okupe said.
Tinubu not a patriot — Okupe
The presidential aide also condemned the ACN chieftain for trying to portray himself as a patriot, noting that his actions and utterances were skewed and not in sync with actions of patriots around the world.
“This is why we regrettably disagree with Senator Tinubu’s labelling of himself as a patriot. As everyone well knows, patriots are concerned with the image, the well-being and survival of their countries and will do everything in their power to protect same even if they have political differences with their home governments. They do not condone terrorism neither do they travel around the world denigrating their country,” he added.
He pointed out that the former governor had no justification to criticise the rising wave of insecurity in parts of the North, having opposed the recent declaration of state of emergency by the Presidency to checkmate terrorism in the region.
Okupe said the country would have been consumed by terrorism if Nigerians were to follow the advice of the ACN leader and his CPC counterpart, who all asked the National Assembly to reject the imposition of a state of emergency in Adamawa, Yobe and Borno states.
Asking Nigerians to ignore the former governor’s undemocratic antics, Okupe stated that Jonathan had done his best to provide the nation with the needed people-oriented leadership based on the rule of law.
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 pretences about it.
“We recall that only recently, its National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, haughtily asserted that whosoever is not pleased with the national leadership of the party’s way of running the ACN and picking its candidates was free to leave the party.
“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.
“Unlike the ACN chieftain would have us believe, Nigerian democracy does not stand in any dark and uncertain corridor neither is it authoritarian. Rather, it looms large in the minds of Nigerians for its respect for fundamental human rights and the rule of law.
“For followers, local and international of Nigeria’s democratic journey since 1999, there is unanimity of opinion that no administration has equalled the Jonathan administration in the observance of and respect for the hallowed principles of maintenance of rule of law, free press, sanctity of the electoral process, separation of powers and respect for public opinion. President Goodluck Jonathan’s opening up of the democratic space through institutional reforms clearly marks him out as a committed democrat.”
“It is trite to observe that President Jonathan is perhaps 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 pot-shots at him.
“It is common knowledge that no administration has been abused, lied against and harangued like the present administration under Jonathan. 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 organizations have not been hounded or closed down as we witnessed in recent past.
The Presidency, which advised Tinubu to adopt a higher standard of integrity as a former governor and political leader, dismissed his London speech said to have been delivered to the House of Commons as an event put together by a private concern owned by a Nigerian who only rented a room within the premises of the British parliament.
“Good leadership must be distant and distinct from lies and deliberate falsehood intended to fool the public. For Leadership, integrity counts!” he warned.