Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
The Director-General All Progressives Congress (APC) Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Salihu Moh. Lukman, has hinged the escalation of the #EndSARS protests across the country, on the failure of the Federal Government to discharge its responsibility.
Salihu, in a statement he issued on Thursday, specifically singled out the Ministries of Police Affairs, Youth and Sports Development, Disaster Management and Humanitarian Services and Defence, for blame, quipping that they failed to live up to their responsibilities.
Titled “Save Nigeria for APC to command moral electoral credibility, the PGF DG warned that the current crisis is eroding the moral credibility of the ruling party and the political leaders.
“Crisis is always the test of leadership. That our dear nation is in crisis cannot be disputed. The crisis is already consuming precious lives of Nigerians. Properties and assets of citizens and government are being destroyed. Unfortunately, responses from our political leaders especially at Federal level are below public expectation.
“As loyal members of APC and importantly as patriotic Nigerians, we need to appeal to our leaders, in particular President Muhammadu Buhari, to kindly and urgently hasten intervention through appropriate civic engagement across every parts of the country to ensure restoration of peace in the country.
“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.
“The situation is such that our Governors within their limited capacities are taking every pre-emptive step to avert further outbreak of violence in our states. The reality however, like other Nigerians, our Governors are at the receiving end of this unfortunate development.
“Although given their constitutional powers, they also have critically important responsibilities, but the Federal Government has superior responsibility to initiate response to the current crisis.
“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 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 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 National Orientation Agency?
“If all the agencies of government and political appointees managing these agencies have handle 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,” he noted.
While commenting further on the situation, the PGF DG said: “Perhaps, it is important to also state that the current crisis is eroding the moral credibility of our party, APC and our political leaders. A situation where lives of our leaders are being threatened and our party and our government demostrate weak responses is quite depressing.
“What is going on in Lagos State can happen to any state and any leader in an affected state can experience the same attack, if not worse. This must not be condoned and our leaders across all parts of the country must show strong solidarity and rise in defence of our leaders and Government in Lagos State. A threat to one, should be a threat to all, which is the needed reality!” he said.