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November 29, 2010

Atiku Fires on the broad side.

“Fiscal Responsibility Act constrains the deficit spending from exceeding 3% except in certain circumstances but the Jonathan administration is well over the limit without justification”

The 2011 election round one is on. Atiku fires on the broad side of President Jonathan’s administration handling of the economy. But is it possible that President Jonathan and his campaign is misfiring? Recently, following the endorsement of Atiku as the Northern Leaders Forum presidential candidate Atiku went on the offensive. During a press conference he spoke in broad terms against President Jonathan’s handling of the economy and hinted that the main pillar of his campaign would be economic issues. However, he failed to pinpoint what exactly is wrong with the economy. He spoke of symptoms without causes and he did not advocate a particular remedy either. He spoke of the rating agencies downgrading of Nigerian economic performance without pointing out exactly what is it the government is doing wrong and what it could have done better. Only on one instance did he give good stat. His campaign organisation stated:

"The Jonathan administration according to the Medium Term Expenditure Framework 2011-2013 has led Nigeria into a budget deficit of 6.06 per cent of GDP and plans a deficit of 5.75 per cent of the GDP in 2011 contrary to the provisions of Section 12 of the Fiscal Responsibility Act on aggregate expenditure ceiling.”

According to Atiku the the Fiscal Responsibility Act constrains the deficit spending from exceeding 3% except in certain circumstances but the Jonathan administration is well over the limit without justification. Excellent point. But it fails to tie the performance of the economy to this event. And also, the President’s men failed to explain this fact. Rather we see a vicious ranting and name calling without addressing the issues or defending the principles that lead to the government deficit spending. This is not politics. If President Jonathan wants to win fair and square in this election he must address the issues statesman-like. If he takes Atiku’s campaign as a personal attack then we are in for a big and bloody election once more. Calling Atiku a liar is uncivilized and unpresidential. At best that is an incitement. If the Presidential Campaign organisation acts in this manner what example are they setting for the rest of Nigerian people? Frankly, if anyone is desperate to win his election it should not be President Jonathan. Being a President already what more could you ask for? Your name is forever caved on the hall of fame of this great country. You will never be considered as one of the “also ran” candidates milling in the field, why play dirty? The statements in the media attributed to the campaign organisation of Jonathan/Sambo is NOT presidential. How can the Director of Research and Strategy in a presidential campaign descend to name calling and speculative statements. His talk of Atiku lining his pocket as Vice-President is unsubstantiated, unproven and there is no court judgement on that. If he says the IMF rates the economy a B.B rating that is a fact but when he says President Jonathan is working to “clean up the corruption bequeathed” by Atiku that is blackmail. Atiku could take him to court for defamation of character and he will pay for that. Campaign is not a personal vendetta. Mr Mike Omeri grow up. What is your strategy? What is the result of your research. Try digging up some facts about Atiku that the voters can use, name calling is base, premature and childish.

The economy cannot be dissociated from the political. The country is primarily in need of an economic guru, in the context of national development, more than we need a political leader. It appears that the Jonathan/Sambo campaign organisation has no plan. They are taking things for granted and they are underrating the machinations of Atiku campaign and the opposition. Frankly, Atiku is the underdog. He has nothing to loose. But Jonathan/Sambo has got it all to loose. Atiku could become the spoiler by throwing spanners into the works. He may not win the primary but if he is not handled carefully by Jonathan/Sambo during the PDP primary he may well weaken PDP and prepare a way for an opposition to trump at the general elections. I must remind you that this election is not given to President Jonathan before it has been held, won and or lost. Remember what happened when Atiku coloured his disagreement with Obasanjo to be a campaign for the rule of law and a campaign to stop Obasanjo changing the constitution to run a third term. What happened was unprecedented. Everyone I know supported Atiku. And he won the court battles. As a matter of fact, currently, Atiku campaign organisation is managing a better campaign than all the other candidates in PDP right now.

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