By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
Director General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) Salihu Moh. Lukman, yesterday claimed that the impacts of the APC Governors Forum is felt more positively on the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors forum, which is why they are raising the issue of governance.
The PGF boss said this when he commented on the reported resolution of the PDP Governors Forum on the amendment of constitution and other matters.
Lukman said the PGF has made tremendous impact on how the PDP governors now conduct their internal affairs because the current chairman of the PDP Governors Forum (Tambuwal) was a member of Progressive Governors Forum.
He said he did not think it is right to predict that PDP governors have ulterior motives in the advocacy for free and fair election in Edo and Ondo states, added that “I will want to wait to see the details of the outcome of the Gov. Wike’s committee work on the basis of which we can engage them.
“I believe personally that PDP governors are only talking about governance issues now as a priority in their consideration likely because as Progressive Governors Forum, we have made a tremendous impact on how the PDP conduct their internal affairs and in a way you can trace that to the fact that the current chairman of the PDP Governors Forum (Tambuwal) was a member of Progressive Governors Forum.
“So, in a way, he has learnt something positive on account of his membership of the forum in the past. We do hope more positive things in terms of how they manage the affairs of PDP would come out of those experiences. However, I think it will be premature to predict what will be the content of what the Wike committee would recommend.
“So, it is better for us to wait and see what they will recommend. I won’t want to preempt them but as PGF, we are far ahead. Towards the end of last year, we inaugurated the steering committee of our legislative committee under the chairmanship of Gov. Aminu Bello Masari. Immediately after that inauguration, there was a meeting between the PGF and leadership of the National Assembly.
“Following that meeting, the steering committee of the PGF legislative committee was expanded beyond the initial two members from the National Assembly to now include about eight members which includes the two leadership of the National Assembly.
“We have had series of meetings and a technical committee was set up and on the basis of the work of that technical committee, we reviewed the report of the Gov. Nasir el-Rufai committee on True Federalism and some priority issues were identified and presented to our legislative committee which were adopted and now pending deliberations by the APC Governors Forum.
“Once the forum decides, the next level would be engagement with the National Assembly because those are issues that bother on constitutional amendment. It is beyond just electoral matters. It covers even contentious issues around resource control, true federalism and others. So, our governors are way ahead and I thought I should make that very clear.”
On the call for free, fair and credible elections in Edo and Ondo states, the PGF boss expressed joy that opposition PDP now interested in such exercise.
“I think we should welcome that PDP is talking and interested in free and fair election. And we do hope that it is really what is behind their agitation.
“My position is that it is a work in progress and whether anybody likes it or not, we have made qualitative improvement as a nation from a situation where elections can be predicted long before the actual election based on the choices of people especially the ruling of the president.
“That had been the case under the PDP. Now, it is no longer the case. The evidences are there. In almost all the places we contested elections, where as a ruling party we won, we won by a margin which shows that contest took place. That was not the case under the PDP.”