Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) has said opposition parties were portraying the All Progressives Congress (APC) and President Muhammadu Buhari in bad light in spite of their achievements. Members of the PGF are all the APC governors.
In a statement he issued yesterday in Abuja, PGF director-general, Dr Salihu Lukman, said the opposition parties were taking advantage of passive official communication by the APC and the federal government to achieve their negative objectives.
He said, “A major gap being exploited by the opposition against the APC and the federal government is that official communication both by the APC and the federal government are passive and reactive.
“Consequently, the opposition is succeeding in taking advantage of this reality to unfairly portray both the APC and President Buhari in bad light,” Lukman said.
He continued, “Efforts to engage Nigerians to secure ownership of policy initiatives are quite low, but quite some significant progresses have been achieved.’’
Lukman said since 2015, the federal government had rolled out several initiatives to deliver on APC’s campaign promises targeted at strengthening Nigeria’s public service institutions.
“The false narratives against APC and President Buhari are being promoted by the opposition to suggest that criminal activities of banditry started only when APC took control of the federal government in 2015,” he said.
Lukman stated further that the APC was being portrayed to have failed in ending Boko Haram insurgency, whereas objective analysts would recall that the activities of the insurgents predated the APC administration.
The PGF boss said as at 2015, apart from controlling most parts of the Northeast, Boko Haram had spread to parts of Northwest and North Central, notably, Kano, Kaduna, Niger, Kogi and Nasarawa states.
“In both the Northwest and North Central, the problems of cattle rustling were rampant. Kidnapping was also there in many parts of the South-South and Southeast. To worsen matters, there was the 2014 corruption case of $2.1 billion meant for arms procurement, which was diverted by People’s Democratic Party (PDP)-led administration of former President Goodluck Jonathan.
“It is true that the problem of cattle rustling in the Northwest and North Central has graduated to banditry and it is assuming a war situation. However, it should be recognised also that the fight against Boko Haram has made significant progress. Unlike before 2015 when most parts of the Northeast were under the control of insurgents, this is no longer the case,’’ he stated.
While acknowledging that there were still challenges in fighting banditry and insurgency, Lukman said the APC-led government was responding creditably.
He said for the APC to achieve the goal of producing a new Nigeria, it must be a party with a united leadership, disciplined and respectful, adding that the process of re-organising APC’s structures must make the party active in facilitating negotiations between leaders at all levels, saying that all agreements reached must be respected by all the parties.
“It is respect for agreements reached by all that can produce a new Nigeria,’’ Lukman declared.
He appealed to the Yobe State Governor Mai-Mala Buni-led APC Caretaker and Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee to conclude its assignment to amend the party’s constitution speedily.
Lukman said the APC should strengthen and prioritise the processes of disciplinary hearing and enforcement of decisions.
He also suggested that the capacity of the party to regulate the conduct of members and leaders should be strengthened.
Lukman said since the party desired to bring about change, regulating the conduct of members and leaders would be an important catalysing factor to change Nigerian politics and produce the new Nigeria of APC’s dream.”