The Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) has condemned the presidency's reaction to the speech made by its national leader, Senator Bola Tinubu, at the British African Diaspora Conference in London.
It described as unnecessary and diversionary, the name-calling and personal attacks against its leader.
The party said the presidency should rather tell Nigerians whether the poverty level in the country had reduced since 1999 when the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) assumed power at the centre.
In a statement Wednesday in Abuja, by its National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the party said instead of reading the speech objectively, the presidency criticised it and denigrate the ACN and its leader, without first understudying it.
''The presidency went after the messenger, rather than the message, rehashing its old and stale clichés about the ACN and its leader for daring to carry out an objective analysis of the state of our economy as well as the state of the nation and also suggesting the way forward,'' it said.
The ACN challenged the presidency to controvert Tinubu's assertion on the state of the nation’s economy.
''Quoting the late British economist Dudley Seers, Tinubu had raised the following questions to be asked about a country's development: What has become of poverty? What has happened to unemployment? What is the state of socio-economic inequality?
''The ACN leader further posited: 'If all three have declined from high levels, then development has occurred. But if one or two of these central problems have grown worse, especially if all three have, it would be wrong to call the result 'development' even if GDP has improved','' the party said.
The ACN added that the presidency should rather tell Nigerians whether poverty has reduced under the watch of PDP; to what extent unemployment had been tamed and how far the socio-economic inequality had been curbed.
''This is how to counter any perceived incorrect assertion by any critic, instead of engaging in name-calling. The assertion by Tinubu in his speech tallies with our earlier statement that what we are experiencing in Nigeria, under the Jonathan presidency which has been reeling out highfalutin economic statistics, is growth without development, which is useless,'' it said.
ACN also challenged the presidency to prove to Nigerians that the country's leadership in the past 14 years has been visionary, disciplined and courageous – what Tinubu described as the ''missing link'' that has led to the retrogression of the three key drivers of development.
The party said another issued that should concern the presidency was the unnecessary controversy generated by the election of the chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF).
The ACN said these were the issues that the presidency should have addressed instead of attacking its leader.