The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has described as a product of poor thinking, the decision by the Presidency to blame the inaccurate claim on Nigeria’s anti-corruption efforts, contained in the President’s 52nd anniversary speech, on the media, saying the action is worse than the original gaffe.
“It is lazy and irresponsible for handsomely-remunerated presidential aides to lift the claim of Nigeria’s supposed progress in the anti-corruption effort from a newspaper and insert such in a presidential speech without confirmation.
But then anything is possible in a rookie presidency populated by apprentice aides,” the party said in a statement issued in Lagos yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.
“It is even worse that those who committed this gaffe and made their principal and the entire country to look bad are justifying their action and, instead of owning up, shifting the blame to the so-called opposition media and the political opposition. What was the media supposed to do in the face of such egregious lies? Reinforce the lies to Nigerians and the entire world? And should the opposition have applauded such a spurious claim?’’ it queried.
ACN said in a global world with an almost instantaneous access to information, it costs nothing to ask Transparency International, the highly-responsive global coalition against corruption, to verify the claim reportedly made by a local newspaper.
In the alternative, the party noted, various government agencies engaged in the battle against corruption, including the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and other related offences Commission (ICPC), could have been contacted.
“The point that is lost on these indolent aides is that every presidential speech is a reference document. Therefore, packing it with lies and unverified claims is totally condemnable, in addition to being a disservice to the President,” the party said.
It advised the aides of the President who are engaged in communication or speech writing to take their job more seriously instead of running to the press at the slightest opportunity to lambast the opposition and denigrate the media, their latest whipping boy.
ACN congratulated the media for spotting the lie that was apparently aimed at making a do-nothing presidency to look good, saying it only shows that the fourth estate of the realm is alive to its constitutional responsibility.