The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum Chairman, Sokoto State Governor Aminu Tambuwal yesterday said only corrupt party chieftains have defected to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Healso said the defectors left for APC to avoid likely prosecution for corruption.
The PDP governors, who converged on Bauchi to deliberate on the state of the nation, condemned what they described as “the use of underhand tactics to arm-twist PDP governors to join the APC.”
They reiterated their commitment to the electronic transmission of election results, urging the National Assembly to amend the Electoral Act to reflect the critical electoral reform.
The governors urged the Nigerian Communication Commission (NCC) and telecommunication service providers to improve access to network service for Nigerians ahead of the 2023 general elections. They said President Muhammadu Buhari should tackle insecurity and unemployment.
The meeting hosted by Bauchi State Governor Bala Mohammed was presided over by Tambuwal. The meeting also deliberated on the economic and security challenges confronting the country and the crisis rocking the opposition party.
Tambuwal, who was represented by his Taraba State counterpart, Darius Ishaku, spoke at the gala night held at the Bauchi Government House Banquet Hall, said the PDP will regain power in 2023.
He said: “We have no hope, except in PDP. We will live in the PDP, we will salvage whatever the country is left of when we regain power in 2023.
If you look around, it is only in the PDP states that projects are ongoing. I am speaking with facts and the minds of many Nigerians.”
“Those running and leaving the PDP to where their sins are forgiven… So, if you are a bad and corrupt man, you go over to APC to where your sins will be forgiven, but we do not agree and believe in intimidation. We will remain in the PDP, we will capture power and improve Nigeria “
Tambuwal who flayed the APC-led government for failing to conquer Boko Haram after promising to achieve the feat within six months in power added that the state of insecurity is getting worse.
“Those who said they were going to conquer Boko haram in 6-month, six years now they cannot do it. It is getting worse. We now have several Boko Harams terrorising the country. We will come and make Nigeria what it should be, the pride of Africa.”
In a communique read by Tambuwal, the governors stressed the need for the Electoral Act Amendment Bill to entrench the culture of free, fair and credible elections in the country.
They called on the National Assembly to adopt electronic transmission of results of elections in the nation’s electoral jurisprudence.
The governors also urged the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to deploy appropriate technologies necessary to ensure that the votes of every Nigerian is counted and made to count.
The meeting condemned the attempt to foist direct primary election model on all political parties through the Electoral Act Amendment Bill, saying that the method is prone to massive rigging.
To buttress this point, the Forum cited the direct presidential primaries of the APC in 2018 where President Muhammadu Buhari scored 15 million votes to emerge the candidate of the APC and still scored the same 15 million votes from the entire country in the 2019 presidential election.
The governors advised that political parties should be allowed to decide whether to use direct or indirect method of conducting primaries as part of internal democracy in political parties.
The communique reads in part: “The Governors reiterated, once again, the need for the NNPC and other revenue generating agencies of Government to strictly abide by the Constitution by remitting all their revenues less cost of production, into the Federation Account as provided for by S.162 of the Constitution.
“The meeting condemned, once again, the use of underhand tactics to arm twist some PDP Governors and other stakeholders to join the APC, a political party that has wrecked Nigeria’s economy, turned Nigeria into a killing field and has nothing to offer Nigerians but misery and bad governance.
“The governors condemned Mr President and the APC for turning the Presidential Villa, that belongs to all Nigerians, into the new APC headquarters, where coerced PDP members are being paraded at intervals.
“On the economy, the meeting admonished the APC Federal Government to collaborate more with State Governments to stem the unemployment scourge affecting the youths of Nigeria, through technology and increased production in all fields of endeavour”.
In addition, the governors reiterated their call on the Federal Government to stop paying lip service on the Ease of Doing Business (EDB) as foreign direct investments have continued to fall, partly due to obstacles placed on foreign companies wishing to invest in Nigeria.
“A glaring example is that of FACEBOOK who insisted on investing in Nigeria rather than Ghana, and is being frustrated by regulatory authorities”, the communique added.
On security, the governors said it’s time to bring the activities of bandits, kidnappers and terrorists to an end, through increased use of military equipment, traditional means of conflict resolution, technology for surveillance and the development of political will to flush them out.
The governors added: “Kidnapping, banditry and terrorism are not business ventures as claimed by the APC, but they are heinous state crimes that are destroying the Nigerian economy, the educational and social future of our children and causing significant social upheavals in society”
The PDP Governors enjoined Nigerians to take advantage of the ongoing registration of voters by INEC to register, to arm themselves with the necessary tools in the struggle to “rescue Nigeria from the APC maladministration”.
“Furthermore, the general public, especially our youths and women are implored to use the opportunity of the PDP E-registration exercise which will kick off soon, to register as PDP members, while PDP members should update their membership electronically”All the 13 PDP governors attended the meeting. The Deputy Governor of Zamfara State, Mahdi Aliyu Gusau also attended.
At the meeting were Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia), Ahmadu Fintiri (Adamawa), Udom Emmanuel (Akwa Ibom), Duoye Diri (Bayelsa), Samuel Ortom (Benue), Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta), Godwin Obaseki (Edo), Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu), Oluwaseyi Makinde (Oyo), Nyesom Wike (Rivers) and Zamfara Deputy Governor Mahdi Aliyu.
However, the APC said the allegations by PDP governors were false.
Its caretaker committee secretary Senator John James Akpanudoedehe said the opposition should be asking for forgiveness instead of accusing APC.
Akpanudoedehe said the PDP communiqué was laced with lies, idle conspiracy theories pitiable attempt to explain its failure on opposition party.
He said: “It is indeed remarkable that the PDP has finally opened up to its fast depleting fortunes. However, it is advisable that the PDP concentrates on redemption instead of blaming the APC or anyone else for its rudderless state.”
Taunting the PDP, Akpanudoedehe noted that it will be foolhardy for the PDP to expect its members to sink with the party in the face of its failed state.
“The PDP should quickly address itself to the fact that its members and leaders who are joining the APC in droves are attracted and inspired by the progressive leadership of the President Muhammadu Buhari government and the internal democracy being entrenched by the leadership of the Governor Mai Mala Buni-led APC Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC).
Akpanudoedehe added: “Under President Buhari, every election conducted in the country has been an improvement on the last. The APC will continue to support constitutionally backed innovations by our election management bodies to make our elections more credible.
“At the party level, the APC’s is resolved to entrench internal democracy in all decision making processes, particularly party nomination – direct and indirect primaries or consensus.
The Permanent Voters’ Card remains the only legal instrument voters can use to elect progressive leaders who can sustain the ongoing efforts of APC governments at the federal, state, and local governments to sustain its successes in renewing national infrastructure, transforming agriculture, and diversifying the economy.