Seriki Adinoyi in Jos
At Nigeria’s 56th independence, former Minister of Information and National Orientation and Chieftain of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Prof. Jerry Gana has admonished citizens not to lose hope in spite of the obvious economic and other challenges confronting the nation, adding that independence was actually about struggle for self-identification.
Gana, who featured on a live programme of JayFM, a private radio station in Jos, Plateau State, said “I am not making excuses for the government of the day because things should actually have been better. Yet, I still appeal to Nigerians not to lose heart; I enjoin all Nigerians not to give up on their good ideas and struggles.”
He however decried the decision by the current administration of President Muhammadu Buhari not to implement the report of the 2014 National Conference “as most unpatriotic and unfair.”
“How can a people drawn from all the parts of the country sit down and deliberate on issues that concern us and this government simply says it will not even open the report?”, he queried.
He added that, “this is not just because I participated: this is the general feeling of Nigerians. The composition of that conference was excellent, indeed some of the bests Nigeria has; not only politicians, there were community leaders, traditional rulers, technocrats and experts of various fields, including civil society groups from various parts of Nigeria. And we arrived at certain decisions that if implemented can help Nigeria move forward.
“We took decisions on some basic things like how to live together in peace. Federalism is the best form of government for a country like Nigeria with the kind of religious and cultural diversities we have. The conference looked into all these very seriously. And for this government not to be interested in the report of such conference, believe you me, is unfair. Many Nigerians feel that they should have, at least looked into it and bring out some things from it to benefit us as a country. It does not matter whether or not it was the PDP that convened the conference; after all, we are all Nigerians – that is patriotism.
“Indeed, if I were any government that took over after that conference, that would have been my agenda; I mean the implementation of the key decisions of that conference would have been my agenda. And so many issues would have been resolved.”
On the performance of the APC government, Gana said, “It is always better to make less promise and deliver more; but the reverse is the case with the APC government. So they are now faced with credibility crisis, such that the Change they promised that is supposed to be real is now philosophical.”
On the other hand, he dismissed the claim that the PDP government did not perform while in office, noting that the government did very well, both at the federal and the state levels. “Of course, we could have done better, but no one will say we have not done well.”
He sighted the performances of former PDP governors of Plateau, Katsina, Jigawa, and Kaduna, whom he said did very well in many areas, especially in terms of infrastructure.