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By Omeiza Ajayi
Governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC have warned partisans against politicising Nigeria’s economic and security challenges, saying the nation has to be united if it wants to defeat the twin evils.
The governors gave the charge on Friday in a statement signed by their Chairman and Governor of Kebbi state, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu.
Part of the statement reads; “The Progressive Governors Forum PGF wishes to join all Nigerians to welcome the beginning of 2021. We commend the resilience of Nigerians, and indeed humanity all over the world. The year 2020 was the most challenging year of the last century. People and nations across the globe are still struggling with the health pandemic occasioned by Covid-19. The discovery of vaccine at the end of 2020 is a landmark progress, which certainly bolster hope that human life will return to normal in 2021.
“Apart from the difficult health challenges experienced by citizens who got infected by the Covid-19 virus, resulting in unfortunate loss of lives, periods of lockdowns in Nigeria and world over as a result of the pandemic, spanning over a period of close to six months, created a lot of hardships for our citizens. The adverse economic consequences have created economic recessions for virtually all countries.
“Combined effects of all these have further increase our security challenges in the country. The challenge before us as a nation is to ensure the development of democratic institutions in the country to be able to mobilise effective national responses and resolution of the health challenges created by the pandemic, the economic difficulty and the security challenges facing the country. These are not issues that should be reduced to politics. We must appeal to all Nigerian to have a strong sense of national unity and togetherness in responding to these challenges”.
The statement also commended the excellent work of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on COVID-19 and appreciated the support of all Nigerians across partisan affiliations.
“Our ability as a nation to control the spread of the virus is no doubt the result of the diligent work of the PTF under the leadership of the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, and the support of all Nigerians. We appeal to all Nigerians to continue to support every initiative of the Federal Government in order to bring a permanent closure to this world pandemic.
“We in particular wish to note that, once again, our party, APC, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari is able to inspire the process of producing a national budget for the year 2021 before the New Year. This new fiscal orientation is part of the change we promised Nigerians. This is made possible given a committed, patriotic and selfless leadership of the legislative arm of government, under His Excellency, Sen. Ahmed Lawan, Senate President and Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila, Speaker, House of Representatives. As a party and as a government, we have set a new standard in our national budgeting system. Already, many of our states have similarly replicated this feat. We therefore also commend all our state legislatures for effectively demonstrating abiding loyalty to ensure that all our governments lived up to our philosophy of change.
“One issue that has dominated public attention, especially in the second half of 2020 was the new wave of insecurity in the country. Beyond Boko Haram insurgency in the North East, sadly we now have banditry in North West, which is as disruptive and threatening as the activities of insurgents. In addition, kidnapping activities is rampant in North Central and South West and is spreading to every parts of the country. Every Nigerians is justifiably disturbed by this unfortunate development. While acknowledging that our security agencies are doing their best to control the situation, a lot more need to be done. We are confident that our security agencies will effectively restore order and guarantee security of lives and properties of all Nigerians in every part of the country.
“We appeal to all Nigerians to continue to support our security forces in the effort to end insecurity in the country. Nigerians must resist all attempts to politicise insecurity. Ending insecurity will require strong national unity. We therefore wish to acknowledge and commend President Muhammadu Buhari, for providing the leadership at national level, as well as ensuring that all arms of our security services are discharging their responsibilities. As Progressive Governors, we will continue to support the Federal Government and the security services.
“We hereby once more restate our commitment to make all our states models of good governance with records of rapid human development and progress founded on the principles of social democracy in line with provisions of our party constitution and manifesto. In 2021, we shall continue to take all the necessary steps to roll out programmes that will consolidate development of synergy, experience sharing and collaboration by all progressive states.
“The Progressive Governors Forum felicitates with all Nigerians on this festive season and reiterate our commitment to the unity and development of Nigeria, development of our democratic institutions while putting in place genuine programmes to bring an end to Covid-19 pandemic, tackle insecurity, fight crime, destroy all vestiges of corruption and create jobs and opportunities for all Nigerians. This would remain the basis of our programmes for massive infrastructural projects that would stimulate economic activity, reduce inequality and diminish poverty”, the APC governors added.