APC Governors Seek Collaboration for ‘Next Level’
POLITICS DIGEST – The recent All Progressives Congress (APC) Governors meeting in Jos, Plateau State capital, underscored the resolve of the ruling party to succeed in its ‘Next Level’ agenda.
If you want to go fast, go alone, but if you want to go far, go together.
The above saying by Plateau State Governor Simon Lalong illustrates the essence of unity and collaborative efforts. This was the reason why the Progressives Governors’ Forum, which comprises governors elected under the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was established in 2015 shortly after the party took over leadership at the national level. At inception in 2015, the Progressives Governors’ Forum was made up of 24 governors.
This invariably means the ruling party had 24 governors between 2015 and 2019. But after the 2019 election, the ruling party lost some states and members of the forum reduced to 19. With the recent election victory in Bayelsa State by the APC flag bearer David Lyon, membership of the forum will hit 20 the moment Lyon assumes office in February next year.
The reduction in the membership of the Progressives Governors’ Forum in 2019 does not, however, weaken the primary focus of the group. From the onset, the forum has resolved to strive to meet the expectations of the electorates through the initiation of policies and programmes that has direct and indirect impact on the lives of the people.
The APC as a political party was founded on the ideology of “change”. By this political ideology, the party intends to change the status quo that was obtainable before they took over the mantle of leadership.
The ruling party intended to change the pattern of development, by introducing a new style of governance that would make a significant difference from the 16 years the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] was at the helm of affairs.
In order to draw the line between the ruling and the main opposition party, the PDP, the APC governors decided to establish what they called the Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF).
The Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum, Gov. Lalong, who hosted the recent Jos meeting of the Progressives Governors’ Forum dwelled much on the vision of the group in his welcome remarks.
He said: “As governors under the banner of the All Progressives Congress (APC), we are fully committed to our vision of providing accountable, responsible and responsive leadership to the people.
“This is in line with the promises we made while seeking votes from the electorates and the oath of office that we took to serve our people. Despite the financial challenges confronting the states, we are not unaware of the torrents of expectations from the people we were elected to serve. The onus is therefore on us, to justify why we were chosen from among millions of Nigerians by devising ingenious ways of meeting the expectations of the public.”
One of the changes Nigerians noticed in the affairs of the APC governors was the synergy between the Federal Government and APC-controlled states. It was a policy synergy meant to maximize dividends of democracy in all aspects of human lives. The Jos meeting, said to be the third in the series, was a continuation of the policy synergy between the Federal Government and the APC governors. The last meeting was held in Birni-Kebbi, the capital of Kebbi State in 2017. Two years after, the PGF deemed it fit to meet again and do a thorough review of policy synergy so far. So, at the Jos parley, the governors took time to do a review of the journey so far.
Lalong said in his welcome address: “You may wish to recall that the last parley took place in Kebbi State on August 1, 2017, with the theme ‘Policy Synergy to Ensure Development’ which focused on finance, internally generated revenue (IGR), agriculture, education and social investment. This underscores the relevance of our meeting here in Jos, as we synergize to explore what we can do together, what we can share with each other and areas we can collaborate with one another, particularly the Federal Government that has partnered with us all the way.”
The PGF knew very well that having been given the mandate by the people of their various states, they are saddled with the responsibility of moving their respective states forward, by providing social services like potable water, electricity, roads, medical facilities, etc. In doing so, the ruling party must, irrespective of scarce resources, do the needful and satisfy the needs of citizenry as much as they can. Lalong added: “We must also put on record that notwithstanding the many challenges we face as a country, the APC administration both at the national, state and local government levels have recorded tremendous progress in reshaping the economy, rebuilding infrastructure, creating jobs and improving security among others.”
The host governor, however, charged his colleagues: “But we must also admit that there is still more work to be done, considering the level of decay, we inherited in our various states. That is why we have to commend Mr. President for leading the way in the determination to deliver ‘change’ and take Nigeria to the Next Level.”
The Jos parley had three key areas of focus: security and humanitarian services, health and education. This is happening at a point when insecurity is threatening the survival of the country and the freedom of the citizens. Banditry, kidnapping, armed robbery, killings, farmers-herders clash, ethno-religious crisis political violence and other violent conflicts across the country formed major news in the media daily. The APC governors need to come up with practical and effective ways on how to tackle these social menaces that is fast making democracy meaningless in Nigeria.
The governors must work with the Federal Government and the local governments to ensure the protection of lives and properties. Aside from issues of insecurity, what types of positive changes have the progressive governors provided in social sectors like primary health care, health insurance, social protection for the vulnerable, and also the quality and compulsory education? Equally too, issues agitating the minds of the electorates include the level of synergy with the Federal Government through the Universal Basic Education, the National Social Investment Programme, the Humanitarian Crises Management, and the National Primary Healthcare Strategy among other programmes that the APC-led Federal Government has rolled out.
The theme of the Jos meeting was “Strengthening Public Service Delivery”. It must be noted that with service delivery comes sharp practices, shoddy deals, kick back and mismanagement of resources, which the governors failed to address during the meeting. The people need more accountability, transparency and prudent management of scarce resources in the course of service delivery. This is because the people see the way their governors enrich themselves, mismanage resources, in spite of what they promised when seeking votes.
There is usually no fiscal discipline, no transparency, and no accountability. The third tier of government, which is the one closest to the masses, has been in the pockets of the state governors.
President Muhammadu Buhari in his keynote address dwelled much on these areas of transparency in service delivery. His words: “I must at this point renew my call on the state governments to double their support in the anti-corruption battle as the gains of our collaboration continued to face the danger of annihilation if corruption persists at sub-national levels. Going forward, we must all work towards building a socially cohesive society in which the resources of the country work for all. We will continue to apply public funds in such a way that no section of the country or segment of the population will suffer social exclusion.”
Buhari also sought more collaboration on the issue of security. He said: “You are all aware that insecurity has remained a big challenge for us all. We must remain determined to subdue this challenge and secure the country more than ever before. While the protection of lives and properties is a primary responsibility of government, it is also incumbent on the citizens to share in this responsibility, as security is a collective responsibility. The APC administration has remained committed to improving the welfare of all Nigerians and that is why this administration has remained justifiably proud of the singular achievement of bringing our economy back on track from the recession and place it on the part of growth and competitiveness in the last four years; especially, in the areas of human capital development, infrastructure development and prosperity.
“Nigeria is on a renewed growth trajectory. Accordingly, we will do everything within our powers to sustain the current economic recovery efforts. We will continue to reinforce our microeconomic policies to achieve sustainable economic stability and growth. We will also continued to ensure that the growth come along with more jobs and a fair and just distribution of the national wealth. Your continued cooperation in this regard is very vital.”
The President also applauded the governors for the synergy between the Federal Government and APC-controlled state governments. He said: “This administration has come this far because of your unfaltering support and goodwill. I am confident that together we would achieve our objective of building a united and prosperous Nigeria.”
The National Chairman Comrade Adams Oshiomhole also threw some challenges to the governors. Oshiomole told the APC governors to ensure that they are be the first to implement the new minimum wage of N30,000.
He said: “As the ruling party, it is good for the states controlled by the APC to take the lead in the payment of the new salary structure to prove that the APC is a welfare party. I want all the APC states to be the first to implement the new minimum wage, so that when workers start making trouble in some states as a result of nonpayment of the minimum wage, the APC states will not be affected. It is my desire that APC governors make the payment of the new minimum wage a priority as a demonstration of our progressiveness and as government of the masses”
Oshiomhole also encouraged the governors to give special attention to education in their various states. He also urged the Progressives Governors’ Forum to work with the party and its leadership in the interests of Nigerians. He said: “I say this because we are talking of synergy of policies as a theme of this meeting. It is with the synergy between the APC governors and the APC as a party that makes ordinary Nigerians fee.
Via: The Nation