By Adedayo Akinwale
The Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) has called for the development of democratic institutions in the country in order to mobilise effective national responses and resolution of the health challenges, as well as problem of insecurity.
The Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Kebbi State, Atiku Bagudu, in a new year message titled, “A Call for National Unity to Overcome our Challenges”, which was issued Friday, appealed to all Nigerians to have a strong sense of national unity and togetherness in responding to these challenges.
The Forum, which is the umbrella body of governors elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC), commended the resilience of Nigerians, describing the year 2020 as the most challenging year of the last century.
It added that people and nations across the globe are still struggling with the health pandemic occasioned by Covid-19, stressing that the discovery of vaccine at the end of 2020 was a landmark progress, which certainly bolster hope that human life will return to normal in 2021.
It stated: “Apart from the difficult health challenges experienced by citizens who got infected by the Covid-19 virus, resulting in unfortunate loss of lives, periods of lockdowns in Nigeria and world over as a result of the pandemic, spanning over a period of close to six months, created a lot of hardships for our citizens.
“The adverse economic consequences have created economic recessions for virtually all countries. Combined effects of all these have further increase our security challenges in the country.
“The challenge before us as a nation is to ensure the development of democratic institutions in the country to be able to mobilise effective national responses and resolution of the health challenges created by the pandemic, the economic difficulty and the security challenges facing the country. These are not issues that should be reduced to politics. We must appeal to all Nigerians to have a strong sense of national unity and togetherness in responding to these challenges.”
The forum noted that the ability of the country to control the spread of the virus was no doubt the result of the diligent work of the Presidential Task Force (PTF) on Covid-19 under the leadership of the Secretary to Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, and the support of all Nigerians.
It also appealed to all Nigerians to continue to support every initiative of the federal government in order to bring a permanent closure to the world pandemic.
The forum pointed out that the ruling party, under the leadership of President Muhammadu Buhari was able to inspire the process of producing a national budget for the year 2021 before the new year.
It said this new fiscal orientation was part of the change the party promised Nigerians, adding that this was made possible given a committed, patriotic and selfless leadership of the legislative arm of government, the Senate President, Dr. Ahmed Lawan, and the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Femi Gbajabiamila.
The forum said the ruling party and the Buhari-led government had set a new standard in the country’s national budgeting system.
It stressed: “One issue that has dominated public attention, especially in the second half of 2020 was the new wave of insecurity in the country. Beyond Boko Haram insurgency in the North-east, sadly we now have banditry in North-west, which is as disruptive and threatening as the activities of insurgents.
“In addition, kidnapping activities is rampant in North-central and South-west and is spreading to every part of the country. Every Nigerian is justifiably disturbed by this unfortunate development. While acknowledging that our security agencies are doing their best to control the situation, a lot more need to be done. We are confident that our security agencies will effectively restore order and guarantee security of lives and properties of all Nigerians in every part of the country.
“We appeal to all Nigerians to continue to support our security forces in the effort to end insecurity in the country. Nigerians must resist all attempts to politicise insecurity. Ending insecurity will require strong national unity.
“We therefore wish to acknowledge and commend President Muhammadu Buhari for providing the leadership at national level, as well as ensuring that all arms of our security services are discharging their responsibilities. As Progressive Governors, we will continue to support the federal government and the security services.”