APC Governors Back True Federalism, Restructuring

 APC Governors Back True Federalism, Restructuring

All Progressives Congress (APC) governors are backing restructuring and
true federalism as a way out of the agitation for Nigeria’s break-up.

The
Progressives Governors Forum also said that the recent agitation by
some ethnic groups was a reflection of the prevalent weak governance,
economy and law enforcement.

In an eight-page document containing
the governors’ position on the challenges to Nigeria’s unity, entitled
“There has to be a nation first”, they said that the demands for
political restructuring and true federalism could be met by adjusting
the federal system.

Such an adjustment, said the governors, will
not on its own address the root and branch of the country’s challenges,
but it is worth pursuing to meet the demands of various groups.

The
governors said: “It appears that demands framed by different groups in
terms of political restructuring or true federalism can be met through
adjustment in Nigeria’s federal system.

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“Although such adjustment
will not on its own address the root and branch of Nigeria’s
challenges, it is worth pursuing in order to meet the demands of various
Nigerian groups. The focus of this restructuring is to restore the
principle of non centralisation of power in the country’s federal
arrangement being the defining element of a federal polity.

“Alongside
the imperative of political and fiscal decentralization, contiguous
states can pool resources to address common development challenges and
embark on projects that can have maximum effect and efficiency through
endevours.

“Where possible, and agreed upon, a regional approach
to development issues that take cognisance of existing comparative
advantages within the existing regions as the initiatives in the
Southwest has demonstrated.

“Alongside addressing the issues of
structures in the Nigerian federalism and the mode of allocation of
resources among the constituent elements, there is the need to address
deficit in governance and politics accountability.

“PGF
challenges ethnic agitators and militant groups to demand good
governance and effective service delivery at all levels where the
Nigerian state system exists with endowed constitutional
responsibilities.

“We charge genuine youth organisations
to seek truly empowering programmes targeted at the youth population at
all levels to demonstrate their commitment to a Nigerian nation that
makes inclusive growth and development possible.”

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The APC
governors condemned the ultimatum to Igbo to leave the North, saying
“the Progressives Governors Forum has watched with consternation and
grief, the reckless and bellicose utterances of groups, organisations
and individuals fanning the ember of ethnic and regional hate and openly
seeking the dismemberment of Nigeria.

“It is even more
regrettable, different groups issuing provocative statements, including
the various Arewa groups that pose as representatives of northern
Nigeria and other groups that issue statements on behalf of other parts
of Nigeria, lack roots in the communities they claim to represent.

“It
is however conceded that the proliferation of these youth groups in the
first place is a reflection of the failure of development agenda that
has not created a future for its youth population who now turn their
energy to unproductive ventures, including serving as cannon fodders for
politicians out of power.

“While the PGF believes that the unity
of Nigeria is non-negotiable and is here to stay, it is a resolve that
must be underlined by the commitment of elected public office holders at
all levels to effectively govern and deliver services and promote
social justice, make policies and pronouncements sensitive to Nigeria’s
ethnic and cultural diversity and promote security and welfare of all
citizens in their respective jurisdictions irrespective of the ethnicity
and religion of individuals and groups.

“This statement of PGF
reinforces the very bold and nationalistic pronouncement of the Federal
Government and several APC governors since the unfortunate ultimatum
issued by the so-called umbrella Arewa Youth Organisation to the Igbo
community to leave Kaduna and other parts of northern Nigeria.

“The
statement is to remind Nigerians that the highest political ideal,
which Nigeria of all political tendencies and persuasions must seek to
pursue is the preservation of Nigeria as a corporate entity within which
we can pursue the lingering crisis of development and nation building.

“The
idea of Nigeria being a mere geographical expression is a myth in the
light of the present realities. We are convinced as governors elected on
the platform of the APC that our party has already articulated a vision
of governance and inclusive development can address these challenges in
the long run.

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“However, as we work assiduously to address these
challenges with unprecedented political will and determination, the
Nigerian nation has to survive as an entity before we can pursue the
resolution of these challenges.”

The governors identified failure
of development and nation building, regional inequality, failure of
democratic governance and dangerous manipulation of difference as some
of the issues, which, in their view, produced the tension characterised
by competing demands for ethnic justice, pronounced and silent
self-determination agenda, hate politics and extreme demand to dismember
Nigeria.

In a statement signed by the Director General of the
PGF, Salihu Lukman, the governors said the resurgence of desperate youth
groups promoting ethno-regional identities and extremist positions from
the geo-political zones was a reflection of prevalent weak governance,
economy and law enforcement system in Nigeria.

The statement
reads: “In line with the social democratic principles of the All
Progressives Congress (APC), the PGF promotes all-inclusive government,
for the development of policies and programs that improve the life of
every Nigerian citizen, regardless of ethnicity and religious
orientation.

“It is with this in mind that the Forum condemns in
the strongest terms the present secessionist and separatist agitations
promoting ethno-regional identity in the country. These sundry factional
groups, claiming to represent different ethnic nationalities, sow seeds
of disunity and promote secessionist agenda in the nation. We decry and
reject their activities in all intents and purposes.

“Acknowledging
the rich diverse heritage of Nigeria as a country, the PGF particularly
notes that the resurgence of desperate youth groups promoting
ethno-regional identities and extremist positions from the different
geo-political zones across the nation as currently experienced is a
reflection of prevalent weak governance, economy and law enforcement
system in Nigeria.

“The challenge before us as Nigerians
therefore is to commit ourselves to the unity of the country. We must
create by all means necessary, a country that we can collectively call
our home, irrespective of tongues and localities. This is a vision the
APC as a party is committed to lead and for which the PGF is
unapologetically and intrinsically loyal. These threats to national
unity must cease totally and put away into history.

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“While
acknowledging that as a nation, we do have challenges, PGF believes that
the resolution of those challenges rests with the development of our
democracy and with it, the ascendency of structured processes of
national consultations, negotiations and invariably agreements.

“Some
of the challenges are highlighted in the accompanied PGF Position –
There has to be a Nation First. As Governors elected under APC, we will
work with our party leaders, the Federal Government and all Nigerians
who are committed to democratic development of all parts of the country
to ensure unencumbered protection of lives of all citizens in every part
of the territorial boundary of our nation.

“PGF, therefore,
calls for the rise of all Decent Voices across this country to speak up
against the upsurge of some desperate irredentist movements across all
ethnic groups and support the emergence of a stronger and virile unified
Nigeria for us all. The Forum insists that, regardless of our diverse
identities and whatever differences, Nigeria has to thrive. Hence,
‘there has to be a nation first’.

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The Nation

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