The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has expressed serious concerns over conflicting statements emanating from
President Goodluck Jonathan and his spokespersons, saying what has now emerged as a credibility deficiency syndrome
afflicting the presidency raises questions over who indeed is in charge.
In a statement issued in Abeokuta on Monday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said
the concerns arose because of the frequency with which the President contradicts those he appointed as spokespersons,
and in view of the fact that the credibility of his Administration is at stake.
”Credibility is a key issue in governance, and lack of it renders a government impotent. Perhaps this worsening credibility
gap in the Jonathan Administration is one of the reasons that it had so far failed to perform to expectation,” it said.
Citing the latest examples of what can be described as flip-flopping at best and sheer disinformation at worst, ACN said
President Jonathan on Sunday, during his Media Chat programme, denied that his government has revoked the power
contract awarded to Canadian firm Manitoba, even though his spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, had been widely quoted as
saying – unequivocally – that the President has cancelled the contract.
Also, the party said while the same Dr. Abati has been widely quoted as saying, in August and this month, that the government
was engaged in ”backroom channel” talks with Boko Haram, President Jonathan was categorical in saying, during the Media
Chat, that there is no dialogue with the sect because there has yet been no face to it.
According to the ACN, it is also instructive that President Jonathan has finally confirmed the reported illness of the First Lady,
Dame Patience Jonathan, even when the spokespersons for the President and the First Lady said she was hale and hearty, and
implied she was vacationing abroad, even as reports circulated that she was being treated for an illness in Germany.
”We also recall that this flip-flopping and deliberate disinformation or both did not just start on Sunday, and that it has been the
hallmark of the Jonathan presidency. For instance, while some spokespersons at the presidency once described the report of the
probe of the oil sector by the House of Representatives as merely of ‘advisory’ value to the presidency, others said the presidency
has indeed started its implementation.
”Also, shortly after Dr. Doyin Okupe rubbished the Petroleum Revenue Special Task Force Report as inconclusive and therefore not
implementable, the President announced the setting up of a White Paper Committee on the report, indicating that Dr. Okupe, in his
usual exuberant disposition, may have been speaking for no one but himself.
”This development, which we must say has now been patented by the Jonathan presidency, is of great concern to us as a party and,
we are sure, to all Nigerians. This is because the credibility deficiency syndrome now afflicting the Jonathan presidency has far-reaching
implications. It impacts negatively on governance, and sends the wrong message to investors, both local and foreign, as well as the
entire international community.
”We are therefore left with no choice than to ask: Who is in charge at the presidency? Who speaks for President Jonathan? Who do Dr.
Abati and Dr. Okupe speak for? Do we henceforth take whatever these men say about the government with a pinch of salt? Or is the
Jonathan Administration deliberately misinforming Nigerians? If so, for what purpose?” ACN queried.