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PGF decries false mindset on government resources, initiatives



Dr Salihu Lukman, Director-General, Progressives Governors Forum (PGF), has said that part of the problem of responding to national challenges in the country was the false mindset that government has all the resources required.

He said this in a statement on Sunday in Abuja, adding that such mindset was the reason why in most cases, public conversations hardly acknowledged costs of government’s initiatives.

He, however, noted that the world had been going through difficult period since 2019, especially with the outbreak of COVID-19 virus which imposed additional challenges that crippled economies, destroyed businesses and human lives.

The PGF DG further noted that in Nigeria, in addition to challenges imposed by COVID-19, problems of insecurity had graduated from insurgency to sophisticated acts of terrorism by bandits.

Salihu said it was unfortunate that public debate around these challenges were limited to partisan considerations with hardly any substantive recommendations by political leaders.

He said the challenges were consequently reduced to partisan choices and the debate narrowed to current happenings without necessarily linking it to the bigger question of what needed to be done and how it should be done.

He noted that even when leaders initiated the right responses, excessive politicisation based on partisan choices were used to dismiss such actions.

“For instance, in relation to addressing the problem of insecurity in the country, the Federal Government has commenced the recruitment of 10,000 police personnel as well as increased the salary of police by 20 per cent.

“These are hardly recognised by opposition politicians and critics of government,” he said.

He noted that while it was true that 10,000 additional police personnel may be inadequate to mobilise enough responses to Nigeria’s current national security challenges, government action should be commended.

Lukman maintained that government deserved commendations especially in the context of the present institutional and legal framework where management of police services was exclusively the responsibility of the Federal Government.

He added that until Nigerians came to terms with the reality that financing government initiatives was the collective responsibility of all citizens, government’s capacity to implement initiatives that could meet the expectations of citizens would remain weak.

He said Nigerians must therefore break away from all the fallacies that deceptively guaranteed certain levels of consumption habits in the country at the expense of productive activities.

Salihu said the ability of government to succeed in resolving the current national security challenge would be dependent on the capacity of Nigerians to support government.

This, he said, was with regards to mobilising all the financial resources required to recruit, train, fund and provide arms to all the country’s security services.

According to him, how much sacrifices Nigerians at all levels are ready to make will determine how quickly government can succeed.

He, however, added that there was need for the APC to refocus national debates towards strengthening initiatives of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led government to produce the desired outcome of securing the country.

He further added that as a party preparing for its National Convention in February, APC members must appeal to the party’s leaders to include debate about what needed to be done by all APC governments.

He said this was especially with regards to mobilising the support of Nigerians to bring to an immediate end the current national security challenge in the country.

“Recommendations that emerge from the convention should guide the process of reviewing the APC’s manifesto.

“Unlike other parties, including the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), APC must continue to set the needed political agenda to drive the process of mobilising Nigerians for change.

“As a party envisioned to be social democratic, in addition to the challenge of insecurity facing the country, the issue of massive mobilisation of financial investment towards the development of education and health sectors in Nigeria must also be debated at the convention.

“Having demonstrated political commitment towards infrastructural development in the country which has led to the revival of rail transportation and reconstruction of road networks in the country.

“APC must initiate the rebirth of public education and public health in the country through similar massive investment to build new schools and hospitals, rehabilitate old ones, mass recruitment of teachers and provision of teaching materials,” he said.

He said these were not issues that could be achieved based on the current budgeting structure in the country at all levels.

Lukman said as we entered year 2022, APC leaders must focus its National Convention towards mobilising the support of Nigerians to contribute in every way necessary, including making personal sacrifices to create the new Nigeria every citizen desired.

He said the new Nigeria citizens desire would be a product of collective responsibility, shared values and sacrifices for security and abundant wealth.

According to him, success or failure will be practically about how much sacrifices APC leaders are able to convince Nigerians to make.

He said once the debate at APC convention was limited to who emerged as leaders of the party without addressing these fundamental issues, the ability of APC to mobilise Nigerians to build a new Nigeria would had been sacrificed.

The PGF DG noted that APC leaders had since 2013 demonstrated capacity to mobilise Nigerians based on clear political agreements, adding that the party’s February 2022 National Convention should not be an exception.

Emmanuel Mogbede

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