Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Governors on the platform of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) in the country have condemned the call for revolution, saying it was unpatriotic.
They said rather than engage in a revolution march, those behind the call should have waited for the next general elections to express their grievances through the ballot boxes.
Chairman of the APC Governors Forum and governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, was responding to a question asking his comment on the #RevolutionNow protests held in some parts of the country and Abuja on Monday.
An organization called the “Global Coalition for Security and Democracy in Nigeria” had planned a “RevolutionNow” march on Monday with the aim of bringing about “regime change” in the country.
The arrowhead of the protests, Omoyele Sowore, and publisher of Sahara Reporters, was arrested last, weekend by the Department of Security Service (DSS), he is yet to be charged to court.
According to Baguda, the protesters should have on the alternative made their grievances known to their representatives either in the state or National Assemblies who would in turn channel same to the appropriate authorities.
He said: “Any call for disorder in a democratic setting is condemnable because the democracy, as the saying goes, is not the best form of government but it is the best that we have, because it gives opportunity periodically for the electorate to exercise their mandate in affirming or rejecting leaders.
“We have just come through a general election in March this year where Nigerians embraced the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari and he has been elected for a second term with a little more votes than he had in 2015. Also state governors were elected in different states; a lot of them second termers and a number of them first termers and interestingly enough we have seen all kinds of democratic outcomes which hitherto what we have thought differently, particularly in a democratic setting.
“We have first termers defeating second termers and in the case of one state, the Supreme Court exercising its rights as the highest court in the land to determine what should be and it is respected by the government.”
The governor who insisted that the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration has done well in terms of managing the nation’s economy through the global recession even when the price of crude was at its lowest in the international market.”
Bagudu explained that the shortfall in the nation’s revenues compelled the government to do more with little resource available especially when oil prices took a plunge from $140 per barrel to $27 when Buhari took over in 2015.
According to him, the dwindled revenue notwithstanding, with its attendant recession, the current “administration has been able to put together, progressive policies and infrastructural projects are being executed in the country.
Baguda said: “Rail-lines are being constructed, the second Niger bridge is being constructed, infrastructural work across the entire six geopolitical zones are taking place; power is improving steadily.”
The Kebbi governor noted what gets critics angry the most remains the size of the nation’s economy when compared to her peers particularly Brazil and South Africa.
He said even though the population of Nigeria and Brazil are relatively close, Brazil’s 2018 budget is $657 billion, South Africa, with less population, is about $100 billion while Nigeria with her population of 200 million is having less than $30 billion as her 2019 budget.
Bugada added that the nation could not attract support from the other parts of the world like her counterparts in Europe and America because it is located in the sub Sahara.
“We are a bigger population, bigger economy but we don’t receive such money. Ireland, another European nation gets support from the European Union in excess of 200 billion Euros to get them out of economic crisis. Nigeria is not so lucky, we have not received support of 10 billion Euros but of course we have borrowed more, we have issued Eurobond,” he said.
He noted that even though the challenge of Boko Haram had been curtailed, there are still pockets of other crimes in the country occasioned by the limitation of the nation’s economy.
Asked whether he sensed foreign conspiracy in the call for revolution, Bagudu said such has always been the worry of developing countries world over. Citing Amilcar Cabral and Walter Rodney, the governor said people have always worried about the affects of foreign actors.
On the controversies that surrounded the suspended Ruga policy, Bagudu said: “The Federal government did not request any state to provide land for Ruga; I am not aware of it. The Federal government requested states that have Fulani settlements, like Kebbi, to indicate how much support they want so that we can have more hospitals, water, veterinary services, schools in those places.”