Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) Progressives Governors Forum (PGF) has dismissed speculations that there is a crack in the presidency, describing rumours as a figment of the imagination of its mongers.
Speaking while inaugurating the PGF Media and Communications Programme Steering Committee in Abuja on Thursday, the governor of Lagos State, doubling as the Committee chairman, Babajide Sanwo-Olu (campaign group), argued that the fact that President Muhammadu Buhari had been delegating responsibilities to the vice president was enough to rest the rumours.
Represented by the state deputy governor, Obafemi Hamzat, Sanwo-Olu while reacting to the question, told newsmen that: “There is no crack. It is in the realm of gossips. By the time they said that, the vice president went to Zimbabwe to represent this country. It was the prerogative of the president but he nominated him.
“Like I said earlier, it is in the realm of gossips because only on Wednesday, the vice president presided at the Federal Executive Committee (FEC) meeting which is the highest decision- making body in the country.
“So, we don’t listen to rumours. We deal with facts and the fact is that they are working together. So, it is all rumour; don’t take it that seriously,” he said.
Setting agenda for the committee, the co-chairman, and governor of Kaduna, Mallam Nasir El-Rufai, said the committee adopted a number of initiatives, emphasising that the PGF would work with the committee to take a closer look at issues of strengthening the capacity of the states to implement approved initiatives.
“Based on the recommendations of the PGF Media & Communication Steering Committee, during the 2015–2019 era, we have adopted a number of initiatives, which included the PGF Monthly Progressive Strides, online sectoral campaigns, and Town-Hall Meetings.
“While recognising that the successes and impact of these activities especially in relations to stimulating the envisioned public engagements in our states is constrained by factors, which may have to do with capacity gaps of state officials and associated issues of conservative mindsets, we, however, should be able to strengthen our capacity to rollout more progressive public/media engagement initiatives during this era 2019–2023.
“We will, therefore, want the work of the committee to take a closer look at the issues of strengthening the capacity of our states to implement approved initiatives. Where evaluation of capacity highlights gaps in the ability of our state officials to facilitate implementation especially on the issue of media and public engagement, we will require the Steering Committee to develop capacity development proposals as integral components of your recommendations.
“This will have to be well tailored around the initiatives we subscribe to rather than the generic approach. Together with my colleague, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, we will take more steps to ensure that the forum is able to give you the needed support to ensure that we are able to get all the technical services for us to achieve our vision.
“Given that some of you are non-partisan professionals, your decision to serve us must have to also reflect on your assessment of the political environment, which must have persuaded you on the potentials of our party and government to meet the developmental aspirations of our people and nation.
“On behalf of our Progressive Governors, I want to assure you of our commitment to serve our people and nation and invite you to consider the work of the PGF Media & Communications Steering Committee as an opportunity to directly engage us to strengthen public and media engagement on governance initiatives across all our APC states,” he said.