By Lateef Ibrahim, Abuja
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum, made up of elected Governors on the platform of the main opposition party, between Thursday and Friday gathered in Makurdi, the Benue State capital, for meeting where they x-rayed the general happenings in the country with a call on the All Progressives Congress, APC, led administration to act fast in preventing the nation from drifting into a failed state.
The PDP Governors equally pushed for a new revenue formular and the restructuring of the country among others.
When the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, elected Governors, under the aegis of the PDP Governors’ Forum, resolved to host its next meeting in Makurdi, the capital of Benue State, after the last one in Abuja, they must have done so with some reservations.
These reservations may, probably, have been heightened by the attempt on the life of the Benue State governor, Dr Ortom during an inspection of an ongoing project, few kilometres away from the State capital, by yet to be identified persons.
The attempt on the life of the governor, less than two weeks to the scheduled PDP Governors’ Forum’s meeting, was enough reason to have postponed the meeting or move it to another venue.
Lo and behold, the PDP Governors did not allow the worrisome/ugly development to deter or discourage them from going ahead with the meeting as planned.
Attendance at the Makurdi meeting, which was the first to be held outside Abuja, the nation’s capital, and about the third physical meeting since the outbreak of the corona virus pandemic in the country, was well attended.
The meeting, held under the chairmanship of Honourable Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, turned out to be a huge success, judging from the arrangements put in place by the host Governor, Dr Ortom to the massive attendance by the PDP Governors, national leaders of the party and the outcome of the meeting.
Governors in attendance at the meeting, apart from Tambuwal and Ortom, were; Dr. Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia State/Vice Chairman of the Forum, Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Sen. Douye Diri (Bayelsa), Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta State), Hon. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu State ), Barr. Nyesom Wike, (Rivers State), Engr. Oluseyi Abiodun Makinde ( Oyo State), Architect Darius Dickson Ishaku (Taraba State), Gov. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri (Adamawa State), Mr Godwin Obaseki (Edo State) and Hon.Bello Mattawale (Zamfara State).
The Deputy Governor of Bauchi State, Sen. Baba Tela represented his Governor, Senator Bala Mohammed.
In the communiqué issued after their meeting which lasted for over three hours with the National Chairman of the party, Prince Uche Secondus and Chairman, Board of Trustees, BoT, Senator Jubrin Walid also in attendance, the Governors warned, sternly, that if the alarming drift of Nigeria under the watch of the All Progressives Congress, APC, government continues, the country will become a failed state.
They expressed deep concern and alarm at the deteriorating relations between various groups in Nigeria, even as all the country’s fault lines and differences are being stretched to the limit allegedly by the APC government.
The governors, after critically reviewing the state of affairs in the country and common developments in their states, observed that due to the rise in ethnic and tribal tensions, religious divisions, and various forms of social and political cleavages, Nigeria was in dire need of leadership at the federal level to avert the looming disaster.
The communique presented by Tambuwal reads in part, “The meeting was similarly alarmed that security of lives and property of Nigerians are no longer guaranteed under the present government as a result of leadership incompetence and mismanagement of the nation’s affairs”.
While noting that governors have a role to play in the handling of some of the worsening situations, they noted with regret that their hands are tied behind their backs as the entire coercive authority in the country is monopolised by the APC federal government.
Continuing, the communiqué said, “Time has come to take advantage of the ongoing Constitution Amendment process to decentralise the security architecture of Nigeria and involve States and Local Governments”.
The governors reaffirmed their conviction that an urgent devolution of powers and restructuring of the country in a way that would bring together various groups and tendencies in the country appeared to have become imperative and timely now as Nigeria could not afford another civil war.
They charged the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission to send a new Revenue Allocation Formula that allocated more resources to States and Local Governments to President Muhammad Buhari for National Assembly’s action.
The PDP Governors’ Forum noted that it was a scandal that 21 years after the 1999 Constitution came into being, no new Revenue Formula was in place.
Furthermore, the governors called for a more transparent and accountable running and operation of the NNPC.
They condemned what they called the intimidation of their incumbent colleagues by the APC administration using all sorts of weapons like security agencies, unequal access to federal resources as well as promotion of divisions in the opposition political parties with fake promises and falsehoods.
They said, “We significantly condemn the double standards that are applied by the APC-led federal government to intimidate PDP controlled states.
“To this end, we call on Mr. President to lift the so called “No flight Zone” and other intimidating tactics, imposed on Zamfara State as similar measures have not been extended to similar states with security challenges like Kaduna, Borno, Katsina, Yobe and others.
“This is mostly politically motivated to ensure that the Governors move over to APC”, they stated.
The PDP governors took a swipe at the APC for being unable to have a democratically-elected National Executive Committee as required by the Nigerian Constitution.
According to them, a political party that operated by military fiat with an appointed and unelected Executive Committee from ward to national had no business running the affairs of the country.
The communiqué said further, “APC cannot deliver democracy to Nigeria; even to constitute a Board of Trustees has been an impossible task for the party since inception. It further expressed surprise that the APC is interested in playing politics and jockeying for power in 2023, when they have done an abysmal and terribly poor job of their current questionable mandate.”
The PDP governors said that they were distressed that Nigeria was now officially the country with the highest unemployment rate in the world at 33% and second highest poverty rate in the world under the disastrous leadership of APC.
The meeting received briefings from the National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, and Chairman PDP Board of Trustees, Senator Walid Jibrin, and assured Nigerians that help was on the way as the PDP was primed to offer effective leadership come 2023.
The meeting commended the governors of PDP-controlled states for their innovative approaches to governance in many fields especially infrastructure, education, health, women and youth initiatives and the timely delivery of developmental projects, across the country.
“It is these legacy projects being undertaken in many PDP-governed states that will be presented to Nigerians as our scorecard at the appropriate time.”
The PDP governors thanked Governor Samuel Ortom for hosting the first meeting of the PDP governors in recent times outside Abuja and for holding the party together not only in Benue State but in the entire North Central Zone.