To take its rightful place in the community of developed countries of the world, Nigeria must quickly restructure in line with increasing calls by citizens across the world, governors elected on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, have said.
The governors stated this at a two-day event organized for National Working Committee, NWC, members-elect in Abuja on Tuesday.
Speaking on behalf of his colleagues, Sokoto State governor and chairman, PDP Governors’ Forum, Aminu Tambuwal, said President Muhammadu Buhari’s government had in the past six years, failed to take the country to the heights expected by Nigerians, adding that the PDP must, as a result, strategize to take over in 2023.
He said: “Nigeria must embrace restructuring to survive. It must restructure its polity, economy, security and ways of doing things. It must embrace relative autonomy and decentralisation of power.
‘’This will unleash the energies of our people, especially, the young. It is time to allow Nigeria blossom. It is doable with all hands on deck.
“A rickety vehicle cannot take Nigeria to its destination, as a nation with possibilities for greatness and progress. PDP is now once again a well-oiled, serviced vehicle that will midwife the Nigeria of our dreams. It is, indeed, time to rescue and rebuild Nigeria. Nigeria is in an urgent need for a surgical operation. Nigeria is in a permanent emergency.
“We all know what the problems are. They are man-made and are, therefore, resolvable. It requires a focused, determined, knowledgeable and patriotic organisation of like-minds to build the critical mass necessary for a great leap forward. Yes, it requires leadership, with vision and discipline.
“We suffer from a crisis of governance. The unity of Nigeria is facing unprecedented challenges. Life in Nigeria is increasingly becoming brutish and short as insecurity ravages the land.
“Poverty is the forte of the ordinary Nigerian. The health and education of our people has not improved. Our people are in want. The economy is in dire straits with the exchange rate now about N540 to a dollar from the N150 to a dollar when PDP left office. Prices of food stuff and essential commodities are unsustainable, clearly beyond the reach of the average Nigerian.”
Rating the Buhari government low, Tambuwal said the ruling party had clearly demonstrated gross incompetence in managing the fortunes of the country.
“Between 35 and 40 per cent of Nigerians are unemployed and women and youths bear the brunt. Bandits, kidnappers, terrorists are having a field day almost unchallenged. Our children are not safe, even in their schools.
“Corruption still stalk the land. Nepotism, ethnic and religious bigotry reign supreme in today’s All Progressives Congress, APC’s Nigeria. Our infrastructure is still comatose.
“Trust and hope in Nigeria are at their lowest. Our lamentations can go on, ad infinitum. But the test of leadership is the ability to solve problems,’’ the governor said.
He called on PDP leaders to think outside the box, rather than resorting to criticisms only, and rescue Nigeria for good.
Tambuwal added: “We cannot only criticize, we must provide workable solutions and clear policy alternatives. This will be presented to the Nigerian people. A sharp contrast must be drawn with the ruling incompetent and rudderless APC administration.
“Where APC thrives in excuses, PDP will take responsibility. Where APC thrives in propaganda and deceit, PDP will be transparent with Nigerians. Whereas APC Government thrives in insecurity, PDP will secure Nigeria. Whereas APC presides over Nigeria as the poverty capital of the world, PDP will make Nigeria prosperous.
“APC has wrecked our economy, but PDP will salvage it. Where APC focuses on selective anti-corruption fight, PDP will fight corruption with appropriate institutional reforms,” he added.
He further emphasized the place of technology in national development,saying, “we must embrace innovation and technology as a way of life. Technology will solve the youth unemployment time tomb. Technology will improve our agriculture, health, industralization, education and indeed, it has implications and impacts on all facets of our lives.”
Earlier in his opening remark at the event, National Chairman-elect of the party, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, said Nigeria was in very deep trouble, adding that PDP had a duty to rescue and rebuild it.
On the significance of the retreat, Ayu said: “In this time of grave challenges for our country, this retreat is to recommit us to the sacrifices we need to make to rescue and rebuild the country.
‘’Talking about sacrifices, I acknowledge that, as PDP members, you have been making enormous sacrifices, especially those of you who have held firm to our principles in the last six years plus.
“But think about the bigger sacrifices made by our founders who, at great risk, challenged the military leadership and played a critical role in winning back civilian control over our government.
‘’Without their sacrifices, we would not even have a platform and a voice today, let alone gathering here for this stock-taking. And talking about stock-taking, this retreat is an opportunity for us to also do that – take stock of where we are as a party, how we got there, what went well and what went wrong, and then collectively think of how we can do better for our party and, more importantly, for our country.”
The event was attended by former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, Governors Nyesom Wike, Aminu Tambuwal, Ifeanyi Okowa and Godwin Obaseki of Rivers, Sokoto, Delta and Edo states respectively
Also in attendance were former Cross River State governor, Liyel Imoke and Chairman, PDP Disciplinary Committee, Chief Tom Ikimi, among others.
“You may agree with me that in the last two election cycles, we allowed ourselves to be defined by the APC with its massive propaganda machine. Are we going to allow that to happen again or would this retreat help to give us the tools and ideas to enable us define ourselves before an opponent does?
“In my view, we can no longer be a party that just reacts to what the APC government does. No, we can’t be that any more. We must be a party that thoughtfully articulates and designs a clear programme of where we want to take Nigeria as well as how we hold the rudderless APC government to account.’
“We have to rebuild our party, so we can rebuild Nigeria. We have to enthrone internal democracy in our party and get accustomed to it. Let us collectively rebuild PDP as a peoples’ democratic party, as our name says, a party that truly belongs to the grassroots.”
Giving an overview of the highs and lows of the PDP since its formation in 1998, former Minister of Information, Professor Jerry Gana, called on party leaders and stakeholders to stay focussed and forge a common front in the task of wrestling power from the ruling APC in 2023.
Vanguard News Nigeria