From Oluseye Ojo, Ibadan
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum in Nigeria rose from a one-day consultative meeting in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, on Monday, and called on President Muhammadu Buhari to immediately send an Executive Bill to the National Assembly to amend the Nigerian Constitution.
The governors noted that the amendment of the constitution should be done such that more powers would be devolved to the states with respect to security arrangements that would culminate in state policing and the general security architecture.
Twelves governors among 15 elected on the PDP platform and one deputy governor held the meeting at the Conference Centre of the International Institute of Tropical Agriculture (IITA), Ibadan.
A six-point communique issued at the end of the meeting and read by the Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum and Sokoto State governor, Aminu Tambuwal, further reviewed the state of the nation, particularly practical next steps to take to advance the conversation on the worsening security situation and collapsing economy of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The communique read in part: ‘In the interim, Mr President should summon an immediate meeting of the Nigerian Police Council, which comprises Mr President and all State Governors and other critical stakeholders to evolve and implement strategies to combat the present threats to our union, especially with respect to policing.
‘The meeting agreed that the Police Force still remains the appropriate institution to secure our democracy and should not be subjected to personal attacks. The welfare, training, equipment, funding of all security agencies should be given priority.
‘The meeting supports the earlier position taken by the Nigeria Governors Forum, Northern Governors Forum and recently by the Southern Governors Forum to adopt ranching as the most viable solution to the herders/farmers clashes in Nigeria; the restructuring of the Nigerian federation to devolve more powers and functions to the States; and reform of various civil institutions to achieve efficiency and equity for all sections of Nigeria.
‘The meeting enjoins all Nigerians to work together to achieve peace and harmony with one another, devoid of discrimination based on ethnicity, religion and other cleavages. To this end, the meeting called on the incompetent and rudderless APC Government to take bold and deliberate steps to de-escalate and lower tensions in our country, and concentrate on projects and policies that will enhance and promote national unity and cohesion.
‘The meeting re-iterated our earlier call for the National Assembly to expedite action on the passage of the Electoral Act that will ensure a free and fair election, including provisions for electronic accreditation and electronic transmission of votes.’
The meeting also thanked Governor Seyi Makinde of Oyo State ‘for being a gracious and wonderful host, and congratulated him for the many landmark developmental projects he has executed, and urged him to continue to work with all stakeholders in the South West Zone to ensure that PDP takes over majority of the States in the Zone.’
Apart from Makinde and Tambuwal, the PDP governors that are also in attendance are the vice chairman of the forum and Abia State governor, Okezie Ikpeazu; Ahmadu Fintiri (Adamawa), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Bala Mohammed (Bauchi), Duoye For (Bayelsa), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Godwin Onadeko (Edo), and Nyesom Wike (Rivers). Governor Bello Matawalle of Zamfara State was represented by his deputy, Mahdi Mohd.
The governors that were not at the meeting are Taraba State Governor Darius Ishaku, and Cross River State Governor Ben Ayade.