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AC To Information Minister Akunyili: Physician Heal Thyself!

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The Action Congress (AC) has accused Information Minister Dora Akunyili of inconsistency following her comments on the recently-concluded Ekiti governorship re-run, saying the Minister must start her much-touted re-branding project by first re-branding herself.

In a statement issued in Lagos on Sunday by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said while Mrs. Akunyili was quick to accuse the Ekiti REC, Mrs. Ayoka Adebayo, of seeking to undermine the FG by her resignation in the heat of the re-run, the same Akunyili is now praising the same REC for acting in accordance with her conscience, after she announced a result that favoured the PDP.

``It is sad that the proponent of the Nigeria re-branding project is an unreliable and an inconsistent person herself. This has proved that we - as well as other critics - were right from the beginning, when we said the project would be a waste of taxpayers' funds.

``You cannot re-brand a country or a product successfully when all you do is stand the truth on its head. In this case, the truth is that the REC was pressured by the powers that be to act against her conscience and Christian belief in declaring the PDP candidate winner of the Ekiti re-run. For Minister Akunyili to try to pull the wool over the eyes of Nigerians shows she cannot be an agent of positive change for Nigeria. Her re-branding project is dead on arrival.

``Maybe the late Ibadan politician Lamidi Adedibu was right afterall when he said the only reason that Mrs. Akunyili moved against his people, in her days at NAFDAC, was because he refused to support her lobby to become Minister under Obasanjo. Is it not self evident now that Mrs. Akunyili will do anything to keep her job as Minister?'' AC queried.

The party said the only other way out is that after re-branding herself, the Minister must move quickly to re-brand the government in which she is serving, starting with the President and then moving on to the Federal Executive Council.

``President Umaru Yar'Adua said, in the heat of the Ekiti re-run, that the REC must act according to her conscience and that the will of the people of Ekiti must prevail. However, when his people, including IGP Mike Okiro and INEC Chairman Maurice Iwu, piled the pressure on the REC and virtually held her hostage just so that she could thwart the people's will, our President simply pretended not to notice.

``Of course, the PDP hawks and their collaborators also remembered that the President had earlier said, in what amounted to a careless statement, that Mr. Segun Oni will be the first governor to spend six years in the saddle, even before the re-run was conducted. For the avoidance of doubt, the result of the election at Ido-Osi was not the will of Ekiti people, otherwise it would not have been as contentious as it was, and the REC would not have resigned in the first instance just because she did not want to announce a fake result.

``Therefore, President Yar'Adua must be re-branded urgently. If this is not done, Nigeria will continue to lose respect in the international community, and will continue to be ignored by such groups as the G20 which simply refused to invite its leader to

their last summit because it did not think the country has a purposeful leadership,'' AC said.

It also said the FEC needs re-branding, adding: ``Afterall it recently approved the award of the 40-km Abuja Airport road contract to Julius Berger at a cost of 110 billion naira. This is the same contract that was awarded by former FCT Minister Nasir el-Rufai for 70 billion naira two years ago.

``Since then, the price of asphalt is down 50% due to the crash in oil prices, just like the prices of iron and bulk cement are down. We are therefore compelled to ask: What is responsible for the near-doubling of the contract sum? Could it be that the PDP has started raising funds for the 2011 elections, money to buy guns and other dangerous weapons for their boys? Akunyili must provide answers to these questions?''

Alhaji Lai Mohammed
National Publicity Secretary
Action Congress
Lagos, 10 May 2009

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