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ACN Denies Making U-turn On GNU, Says Position Remains Unchanged

Source: SAINT MUGAGA, THEWILL. - thewillnigeria.com
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ABUJA, June 03, (THEWILL) - The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has denied a report published by a section of the media Friday that it had made a U-turn and decided to join the Government of National Unity (GNU) being planned by President Goodluck Jonathan.

''We hereby state, for the umpteenth time, that we will not participate in any GNU,'' the party said in statement issued in Accra on Friday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed.

''Reports that we have embraced the GNU and adopted a 'guarded participation policy' amount to sheer fallacy, and should be treated as such by all our members and supporters,'' it said.

The party said it is a curious stretch to conclude that by participating in a meeting convened by President Jonathan in Abuja, the ACN has automatically reneged on its earlier decision not to join the GNU.

''Indeed, we were represented at that meeting by a powerful delegation led by our Chairman. Chief Bisi Akande, simply because it will amount to sheer arrogance to shun a meeting convened by the President to discuss nothing more than the issue of Nigeria, in which we are all stakeholders.

''However, when we received the letter of invitation, we immediately wrote back to the presidency asking to be intimated with the agenda of the meeting. When no response was forthcoming, we went to the meeting with a letter in which we reiterated our decision not to participate in any GNU, for the simple reason that a unity government in peace time can only stifle democracy and facilitate the emergence of a one-party state, which will in turn breed unbridled corruption.

''We also used the letter to convey our agenda to the President, which includes robust democratic reforms, fiscal federalism, security, especially the issue of community policing, and the fight against corruption. We also used the meeting to reiterate these issues as well as our decision not to be a party to any GNU. How this translates to making a U-turn beats our imagination,'' ACN said.

The party repeated its earlier warning that any of its members who decide to join the GNU does so in his personal capacity and automatically ceases to be a member of the ACN.

ACN said it is satisfied with its role as the leading opposition party in the country, and would continue to play that role and meet the yearnings of all democracy-loving Nigerians. It said, however, that it will practice - as always - responsible opposition, which is not the same as hostility to the federal government.

''We are a government-in-waiting, and we know Nigerians see us as such and also expect much from our party in deepening democracy and ensuring better life for our long-suffering people. We will not sacrifice that responsibility on the altar of short-term political gains,'' the party said.