The Nigerian Governors’ Forum has hailed President Muhammadu Buhari for giving the country a new National Development Plan.
Gov. Atiku Bagudu of Kebbi made the commendation on behalf of his colleagues while fielding questions from State House correspondents shortly after public presentation of the document on Wednesday at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
According to Bagudu, the Development Plan 2021-2025 is all inclusive and will help the country consolidate on the gains of previous ones.
He said: “Well, let me just clarify that I’m here to represent the Chairman of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum, Governor of Ekiti State, Kayode Fayemi, who was unavoidably absent.
“We congratulate the President for inaugurating the 2021-2025 Development Plan as ably introduced by the Minister of National Planning.
“We have an economic recovery growth plan that expires in 2020, which has achieved the objective of, among others, helping Nigeria exit twice from recession.
“And now we have a plan in place for 2021-2025 that is further aimed principally at ensuring that the gains have been consolidated and Nigerians are being continuously included.
“This government more than any other has taken deliberate, active steps to include all economic groups and support them more than has ever been done in order that they achieved their economic objectives, in order that the country’s economy continue to provide for all and we will witness more prosperity.
“And we congratulate and I’m sure all of us in the 36 states and FCT are very happy,” he said.
The governor also confirmed that all the states were duly consulted at all stages of producing the plan.
“We were consulted by some of us who were members of the various committees.
“Its a consultative programme and we appreciate both the President and the Vice President as under them, particularly the National Economic Council, the major economic decision-making body of the Federation, it has been quite inclusive and is not a monologue, states are being given the pride of place,” he added.
On recently reported bandits’ attack in some villages in Kebbi State, the governor said that security agencies were on top of the situation, and called on Nigerians to be cautious about security issues.
“I think Nigerians, we have to be contextual about security issues. We are part of the human race and as long as the problem is not solved, anywhere, you cannot escape it sometimes.
“Many gains have been made, that is the thing but there will always be that isolated or sporadic issue somewhere, what is important is for us to strengthen each other.
“Strengthen our communities, support our communities, support our security agencies, support measures that will ensure that we will dominate rather than those who do not wish us well,” he said.
On the chances of his party, All Progressives Congress (APC) to retain power in 2023, Bagudu was emphatic that the party would soar high.
“First, let us know that the distinction between democracy and possibly other forms of government is that there will be differences of opinions and the hope that such differences of opinions will from time to time bring out the best or move society forward.
“We have been a party that recognises that there will never be one voice. And we don’t pray that there will be one voice.
“We pray that people should be able to express themselves, come up with different ideas, even when they conflict those ideas within the systems created by the democracy sit and iron them out.
“To suggest that because there is dissent or differences in opinions, that it will affect the portion of our party, I think that is quite far-fetched.
“We are a party that recognises that for us to continue to deliver, we must debate, we must compete, and we must bring ideas to government.
“But mind you, remember that particularly in the last two years under the current caretaker committee Chairman, Mai-Mala Buni, three serving Governors, one serving Deputy Governor, a number of serving Senators, and members of the National Assembly have joined the party.
“And that is the best evidence that this party is continuing to deliver on the promises we made to Nigerians under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari.’’