The All Progressives Congress has assured Nigerians that it is ready to reverse the prevailing gloomy situation in the country.
The party, in a statement in Lagos by its Interim National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, said that 2014 would be a year of change for long suffering citizens, even as it accused the Peoples Democratic Party government of misrule in the last 14 years.
The APC said, ‘’Because this government (the President Goodluck Jonathan administration) has become numb to reason; because this government has deteriorated from cluelessness to hopelessness and because this government has totally lost any sense of direction, we say it is time for Nigerians to gird their loins and join hands with all those who are seeking genuine change.
“To adapt Mahatma Gandhi’s timeless quote, Nigerians must be the change they wish to see in their country, and the year 2014 must be our year of change’’
However, the Presidency described the New Year message of the APC as a ranting of a dying political party.
Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Ahmed Gulak, said Nigerians should not take the party seriously because it had no democrats in its fold.
He said the APC leaders would not recognise the fact that the PDP was still the best until the opposition party tests its popularity among Nigerians at the poll.
“That statement is a ranting of a dying political party. They should not be taken seriously. APC is a party of undemocratic elements. Let them test their popularity at the poll and see that the PDP is the best.
“Who are the democrats among them? Is it Tinubu who replaced Senator Olorunmbe Mamora in the Senate with his wife? Is it Tinubu who replaced his late mother with his daughter as the Iyaloja of Lagos despite that she is not a market woman? Is it Nyako who just joined them?”
Also, the PDP National Publicity Secretary, Olisah Metuh, said that the ruling party was not surprised by the APC’s assessment of the government.
“I don’t expect the APC to say that the PDP has done well. I don’t expect them to say there is agricultural revolution going on. I don’t expect them to commend the President for establishing universities of technology,” he said.
Metuh reminded the opposition party that change of government could only come through the ballot box in 2015.
But the APC insisted that Nigerians should go into the New Year with an unyielding commitment to be part of efforts to set the country on the path of growth and development.
It said, ‘‘While wishing all Nigerians a great 2014, we hereby solicit their unalloyed support for our efforts to reshape the country’s political landscape, shake off the heavy yoke imposed on them by their selfish, self-serving and clueless leaders and make the country a source of pride not only to its citizens but to all black people in the world.”
The party said that elections in the country should be free, fair and credible.
It stated, ‘’As we wrote in the preamble to our manifesto, ‘democracy, to be stable and meaningful, must be anchored on the principle that government derives its powers from the consent of the governed….This means that governments are instituted on the basis of free, fair and credible elections, and are maintained through responsiveness to public opinion.
‘‘In addition, the exercise of political authority is rooted in the rule of law. The APC believes in the doctrine of social contract between the leaders and the led; which means that the public office holder is a trustee of the people and that power must be used in the interest of the people rather than in the interest of the public office holder.”
The opposition party said the year 2013 was among the worst for the citizenry. ‘’They say President Jonathan’s achievement in 2013 is unprecedented, yet Nigerians celebrated the Christmas and New Year holidays in unprecedented pitch darkness and an unprecedented number of our youths are unemployed.
“They say they are winning the war against corruption, yet key government officials, including the so-called Coordinating Minister of the Economy, do not even know how much Nigeria earns from crude oil and gas sales, and what happened to N12bn earned from domestic crude lifting. They are so eager to cling to any straw of ‘achievement’ that they are celebrating the revival of the locomotive engine in the 21st century.”