Governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have challenged President Muhammadu Buhari to, as a matter of utmost urgency, stem the tide of endless ethnic and religious tension spreading like wildfire in the country.
The governors also called for a review of the current revenue sharing formula for better management of the nation’s resources.
Lamenting the growing divisions on ethnic and religious lines, the governors in a communique read by Governor Aminu Waziri Tambuwal at the end of their meeting in Makurdi, Benue State yesterday, said the endless ethnic and religious tension would make Nigeria a failed state under the watch of the All Progressives Congress (APC) if not quickly curbed.
The PDP governors expressed deep concern and alarm at the deteriorating relations between various groups in Nigeria, stating that they are deeply worried that indeed, “all the fault lines and differences are being stretched to the limit by a government that clearly lacks the capacity to govern.”
The PDP governors agreed that this had given rise to ethnic and tribal tension, religious divisions, and various forms of social and political cleavages.
The communique said that the governors were alarmed that security of lives and property of Nigerians were 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 regretted their hands “are tied” behind their backs “as the entire coercive authority in the country is monopolised by the APC federal government.”
The communique 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.”
Consequently, the governors reaffirmed their conviction that an urgent devolution of powers and restructuring of the country in a way that brings together various groups and tendencies appear to have become imperative and timely now, as Nigeria cannot afford another civil war.
The PDP governors also called on the Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission to send a new revenue allocation formular that will give more resources to states and local governments, to the President and for the National Assembly’s action.
They said, “It is a scandal that 21 years after the 1999 Constitution came into being, no new revenue formular is in place”, while calling for a more transparent and accountable running of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC).
According to the communique, “The meeting further condemned the intimidation of sitting governors by the APC administration, using all sorts of weapons like security agencies, unequal access to federal resources, promotion of divisions in the opposition political parties with fake promises and falsehoods.
“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,” the PDP governors said.
They noted that the APC had been unable to even have a democratically-elected National Executive Committee as required by the Nigerian Constitution, saying, “a political party that operates by military fiat with an appointed and unelected Executive Committee at all levels from ward to national has no business running the affairs of our country.”
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 communique said: “The Governors were distressed that Nigeria is now officially the country with the highest unemployment rate in the world at 33% under the disastrous leadership of APC. This is following on the heels of yet another feat of being the country with the second highest poverty rate in the world. For APC, it is indeed a race to the bottom.”
The governors, who received briefings from the National Chairman of PDP, Prince Uche Secondus, and Chairman PDP Board of Trustees, Senator Walid Jibrin, assured Nigerians that help was on the way “as the PDP is primed to offer effective leadership.”
They enjoined Nigerians to once more place their trust in the PDP as the only effective vehicle to salvage the country.
The meeting commended the Governors of PDP-controlled states for their innovative approaches to governance in many fields, especially in the development of infrastructure, education, health, women and youth initiatives and the timely delivery of developmental projects across the country.
According to PDP governors, “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.”