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Progressive Governors Forum DG insists on implementation of el-Rufai report on restructuring

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Kaduna State governor Nasir-El-Rufai

The director General of the progressive Governors forum (PGF), Dr Salihu Lukman has reiterated the need for the implementation of the Governor Nasir Ahmad el-Rufai led All progressive congress (APC) Committee on True Federalism.

Lukman in a statement argued that the implementation of the report would avert the reccurrence of the circumstances that led to the controversial quit notice issued to Fulani herdsmen by Governor Rotimi Akeredolu of Ondo state.

The PGF boss charged those entrusted with the leadership of the country to rise to the occasion of the challenge posed by the quit notice to Fulani herders which has pitted a section of Nigerians across the Hausa fulani and yoruba divide.

“So long as we are going to remain as a country with all our diversities, there will always be this kind of difficult challenges requiring skillful and careful handling,” Lukman said.

“This may require that our political parties are able to intervene when problems of our polarisation get activated to the level of manifesting as a threat to our peaceful co-existence as a nation.

“As a party, APC has a good experience when it comes to managing problems created by ethnic polarisation in the country. This is because in 2017 when the madness of Nnamdi Kanu’s IPOB and the so-called Arewa Youth got heightened so much that there was the senseless ultimatum to Igbos to vacate the North and national debate on restructuring was producing all manner of proposals including maps of break-away parts of Nigeria, the APC National Working Committee under the leadership of Chief John Odigie-Oyegun initiated internal consultations leading to the appointment of the Mallam Nasir El-Rufai led APC Committee on True Federalism. Although yet to be implemented, the report of the Mallam Nasir Committee on True Federalism provides a standard template of how a party in government should handle difficult challenges of polarisation.

“Certainly, if the party was able to move recommendations contained in the report of Mallam Nasir El-Rufai Committee to the level of implementation, the current levels of misplaced anger against the APC and the Federal Government in the country would have been moderated. May be the challenge we have today present a golden opportunity for APC to be able to initiate processes of implementing the recommendations contained in the report of the APC Committee on True Federalism.

“What may be required in the circumstances is for the APC Caretaker Committee led by His Excellency Mai Mala Buni to initiate internal processes of consultations both within the party and across the executive and legislative arms of government. Given that there already exist APC tripartite consultative committee, chaired by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo with both the party Chairman, HE Mai Mala Buni, Senate President, HE Ahmed Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiala and PGF Chairman, HE Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, Secretary to Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Gida Mustapha and Chief of Staff to President, Prof. Ibrahim Agboola Gambari serving as members, the initiative to commence processes of implementation can be started.”

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Continuing, he noted: “Our leaders should be reminded about the words of Malcom Gladwell in the book, David and Goliath to the effect that ‘much of what we consider valuable in our world arises out of lopsided conflicts, because the act of facing overwhelming odds produces greatness and beauty.

“And second, that we consistently get these kinds of conflicts wrong. We misread them. We misinterpret them. Giants are not what we think they are. The same qualities that appear to give them strength are often the source of great weakness. And the fact of being an underdog can change people in ways that we often fail to appreciate: it can open doors. And create opportunities and educate and enlighten and make possible what might otherwise have seem unthinkable. We need better guide to facing giants.’

“While it is tempting to continue to interpret our current disagreements based on our deep momentary anger and hatred for one another, it may be the true catalyst for our attainment of greatness. That can only happen if our leaders are able to insulate themselves from being among the drivers of public anger and hate based on which they are able to painstakingly lead the country in a new direction of unity and national co-existence.

“There has to be a way out of this mess. Our political leaders and our party need to assert their authority in mobilising alternative responses, which should inspire Nigerians to rise above the current high wave of ethnic and religious hatred in the country that is weakening our capacity to arrest and prevent criminal activities

“No doubt every Nigerian must be worried about what is going on. Much more troubling is the fact that pronouncements of Mallam Garba Shehu on these issues tend to unfortunately accentuate our polarisation. While recognising that it is necessary for government to make some public responses to most of these developments, should it come from the office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President?

“Being a matter that may require clarifications bordering on both issues of interpretations of the law and policy of government, one would have thought it is better handled at ministerial level. Besides, given the nature of such issues, a strategic approach should have been to allow for instance the Minister of Information to continue to manage the responsibility of communicating positions of the Federal Government, since the issue is not just about position of the President. It also involves the need to engage state governments.

“The way things are, it is difficult not to conclude that mandated agencies of government are unable to discharging their statutory responsibility as required because once the President spokesperson makes public statements, capacity to initiate any response may be obstructed. At this point, as APC members and as Nigerians, it is important to appeal for moderation in the way this issue is being managed.

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” With the level of polarisation in the country, crazy responses from people such as Sunday Igboho and their likes in every part of the country are further worsening the situation. That can never be the goal of the government.”

El-Rufai had during the 26th edition of the Nigerian Economic Summit held last year stressed the need for the implementation of the report to ensure good governance in the polity noting: “The federal government is so overstretched, and which makes it not be effective in doing so many things.

“We need to look at our constitutional arrangements, give more responsibilities to the state and hold them accountable. We need to have a very honest conversation on how to redesign our country to work better, for it is currently not working very well.

“Nigeria consists of 36 states. Nigeria can only make progress if the 36 states are making progress and pushing in the same direction. These are my views based on experience in public service. Te political culture as it currently stands does not lead to emergence of competent political leaders.”

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