By Godwin Amunde
Director General (DG) of the Progressive Governors Forum, (PGF), the umbrella body of Nigerian governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Salihu Moh. Lukman said the crisis produced by the EndSARs protest has highlighted the need for President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently take steps to overhaul the machinery of his government if the nation’s democracy and the government are to meet the expectations of Nigerians.
In a statement made available to newsmen in Abuja on Thursday, Salihu Moh.Lukman while noting that the federal government has superior responsibility to initiate response to the current crisis, also faulted government Ministries and Agencies which are responsible for one form of intervention or the other.
He said if all agencies and appointees of the Federal Government were alive to their responsibilities, the current pressure on the president to act in the wake of the protests would not have arisen.
He however said state governors are at the receiving end of the unfortunate twist of the #EndSARS protest.
“Although given their constitutional powers, they also have critically important responsibilities, but the Federal Government has superior responsibility to initiate a response to the current crisis,” he said.
Adding that, “While this is not a period to resort to any blame game, it is, however, important to recognise that part of the problem weakening Federal initiatives is the inability of many, if not all, of the mandate ministries and agencies responsible for one form of intervention or the other to competently and effectively initiate needed responses.
“For instance, how can we have a Ministry of Police Affairs and the ministry is unable to simulate good engagement strategy with innocent young Nigerians calling for reform of the Nigeria Police?
“What is the advantage of democracy if a ministry cannot be able to engage the demands of citizens?
“Where is the Ministry of Disaster Management and Humanitarian Services in all these? Doesn’t the mandate of the ministry include initiatives to prevent disaster? Or, is disaster management limited to attending to human casualties by way of providing palliatives?
“Where is the Ministry of Youth in all this? How can the ministry absent itself from centres of legitimate protests of our youth for more than a week?
“Where is the Ministry of Defence? Where is the Ministry of Interior? Where is the National Orientation Agency?
“If all the agencies of government and political appointees managing these agencies had handled their responsibilities as is expected, this crisis would have been averted. In fact, the pressure on President Buhari’s direct intervention will not have been the case.
The crisis produced by the #EndSARS protest highlight the need for the President to urgently take steps to overhaul the machinery of government if our democracy and our government are to be able to meet the expectation of citizens.
“It is the constitutional prerogative of the President to determine the best strategy and the details of governmental reforms aimed at overhauling the machinery of government to make them more effective in responding to the democratic needs of Nigerians.”
Lukman said APC will appear to be fast losing any moral credibility to present candidates for any election unless the Party is able to develop a strong national response and restore peace in the country.
“This means winning elections in the country by APC, especially in the crisis affected areas will just be a daydream. Part of the sad reality is also that many of our political leaders live with the delusion that, if APC’s electoral viability is weakened or destroyed, they can move to other parties. All our political leaders should appreciate that the situation, as much as it is damaging to the APC as a party, it is more politically destructive to every leader”
While lamenting the current crisis in the country, Lukmon appealed to leaders, particularly President Muhammadu Buhari to urgently hasten intervention through appropriate civic engagement across every parts of the country to ensure restoration of peace.
“It is now a national imperative for all our political leaders, irrespective of partisan, ethnic, religious, gender or any other demographic affiliation, to forge a strong national unity as a cardinal requirement for restoration of peace in the country. We are faced with emergency situation and every political leader should recognise that, in fact, political contest is only possible under conditions of peaceful atmosphere.”
Appealing to Nigerians in Diaspora, he said it is “within their right to join the campaign to make Nigeria better and every Nigerian should welcome their contribution, which is expected to come with superior knowledge of best practice across the world.”
He however noted that “it will be very unfortunate, if all join the campaign to destroy the country by promoting sectional and religious hatred.”
He added that: “No doubt, recognising that as Nigerians they also nurse the pains we are going through and their contribution is desirable and welcome but must avoid the opportunistic traps of joining the anarchistic enterprise of promoting hatred and violent conducts. Hate can only lead to destruction and self-destruction.
“Initiatives to resolve our national challenges is the responsibility of everyone.
“It is possible that this is being considered as I am confident our leaders are working round the clock to ensure immediate restoration of normalcy in every part of the country.”