The National Vice-Chairman (South-South) of the All Progressives Congress, Hilliard Eta, has urged the opposition Peoples Democratic Party to learn the art of constructive criticism to remain relevant.
He said this in an interview with our correspondent in Abuja, on Tuesday.
The party chieftain was reacting to the PDP’s criticism of President Muhammadu Buhari’s New Year Day message to Nigerians.
The PDP had in a statement on Monday described the President’s speech as “depressing, annoying” and lacking in substance.
Etta said constructive criticism remained an integral part of democracy which should be encouraged.
He, however, expressed displeasure that the opposition PDP had so far failed to play the role of a constructive critic of government but had instead reduced itself to an attack dog of every government’s pronouncement.
The party stalwart said, “I wish that the PDP will be more constructive and add some value to our democratic experience.
“The President has made a speech. He had said some things that his administration had achieved, he has set out the plan for 2018, the most constructive way for the PDP to have attacked the President’s address would have been to proffer their own kind of solution if they have any.
“It’s not that every time something happens the PDP begins to behave like an attack dog. They are not proffering solutions.
“Okay, if you say the President was not making sense when he said there was a conspiracy with regards to the fuel situation, proffer your own solution and tell Nigerians why you did not bring those solutions when you were there for 16 years.
“It is just unfortunate we just have an attack dog, we don’t have a responsible opposition party. Nigerians are a responsible people, they will not hastily forget the first 16 years of the current democratic experience so they will not forget, no matter how you attack this government, and it will still not becloud their sense of judgement.”
He advised the PDP to toe the line of the responsible, responsive and constructive opposition political platform and proffer alternative solutions if it truly wanted to re-brand itself.
In his reaction to the PDP’s criticism of the President’s speech, the Director General of the Voice of Nigeria, Osita Okechukwu, expressed surprise that “the regional Peoples Democratic Party” could criticise the President’s speech the way it did.
According to him, the opposition PDP has not got over its 2015 electoral defeat which has led it to the position of losing touch with reality.
He said, “Mr. President for the second time raised hope realistically by laying bare his strategic critical infrastructural foundation – Rails, Roads, Power (RRP), in the speech. That is by no means diversionary.
“If you will recall, when Buhari first told the nation that he will stop food importation this same PDP shouted impossible. Today, Buhari has halted food importation and taken Nigerians back to the farm. Let’s kindly support him to deliver on his electoral promises.”