By ANDREW ESSIEN ABUJA
Director General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) Salihu Moh. Lukman has carpeted the recent meeting of the Peoples Democratic Governors in Ibadan, saying restructuring was no longer a partisan matter but an issue of national importance.
Lukman however urged the PDP governors to emulated the footsteps of their counterparts in the All Progressives Congress (APC) on the need for devolution of powers in the country.
Responding to the opposition governors through a statement made available in Abuja Tuesday, the APC chieftain said the progressive governors, in line with recommendations contained in the APC Committee on True Federalism, have taken a position on the matter and have since communicated it to the leadership of the National Assembly.
The PGF boss said the PDP governors should engage the leadership of the National Assembly to speed up processes of constitutional amendment, instead of playing politics on a matter that is beyond media campaign.
“The major outstanding political issue at this point is the inability of opposition parties in the country, including the PDP, to categorically declare their position, especially in terms of issues of implementation. Having mismanaged opportunities to initiate all the recommendations being proposed by the PDP Governors between 1999 and 2015, how can anybody in PDP claimed any moral standing to demand for any executive bill? If the issue is as simple as getting the President to transmit executive bill, what stops all the PDP Presidents from initiating it for sixteen years.
“At this point, it is important to appeal to PDP Governors to again follow the footsteps of Progressive Governors by working to reform the PDP. If PDP Governors want Nigerians to take them seriously it must be based on a very honest disposition of acknowledging challenges faced by all our political parties. Nigerians want to be able to have choices in terms of what political parties represent beyond the claims of politicians. As things are, PDP is a dissolute representation of an alternative for Nigerians.
“With all the smearing campaign going on, APC government has been able to do a lot in terms of facilitating devolution of powers from the federal government to the states. In line with recommendations of the APC Committee on True Federalism, many APC representatives in the two Chambers of the National Assembly have sponsored bills for relevant amendments to our laws. PDP Governors, in the spirit of the resolutions adopted in their Ibadan meeting should call on their representatives to support the passage of the bills.
Beyond issues of proposed bills in the National Assembly, it is to the credit of the APC under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari that issues of autonomy for states’ Assemblies and judiciary as provided in the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended are given full effect through Executive Order 10. What are the PDP Governors doing in their states to comply? These are issues that were completely ignored by the PDP throughout their tenure between 1999 and 2015.”
While welcoming the decisions of the PDP governors to support the need to devolve powers to states, the PGF boss said “it is important that they go beyond the cheap politics of reducing it to a campaign against the APC. If PDP Governors are to be taken seriously in terms of their commitment, it must be based on a stronger commitment to reform the PDP!”