Lukman: Why FG May Continue to Suffer Unfair Accusations

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Salihu Lukman

•Advises APC leaders against lethargic attitude to restructuring

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The All Progressives Congress (APC)-led federal government might continue to suffer unfair accusations of ethnicity based on wrong perceptions if it failed to begin the process of strengthening governance institutions as suggested in the recommendations of the party’s committee on true federalism.

The Director General of Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Dr. Salihu Lukman, who made this proposal, warned that the government would continue to subject its leaders to such ridicules, failing to do the needful.
According to him, the APC leaders needed to overcome their current lethargic disposition to initiatives for true federalism or restructuring of the country.

In a statement issued Saturday and titled: ‘Nigeria’s Volatile Politics and the APC Report on True Federalism’, Lukman said if care was not taken, no matter the achievement of APC leaders, public recognition of the tenure of the leaders might be dictated by perceptive judgments of poor performance based largely on bad management of ethnic relations.
The APC chieftain stressed that the inability to address issues of ethnic tension in the country has continued to inflame all manner of political crises.

He said this was coupled with widespread systematic weakening of governance institutions in the country especially, on matters of guaranteeing the security of lives and property of Nigerians, issues of role of political leaders in addressing the challenge became a major political issue.

The DG emphasised that the problem of insurgency in the North East and the spate of suicide bombings by Boko Haram terrorists between 2010 and 2015 compounded the task of managing ethnic relations, thereby creating serious security challenge in the country.

He explained that before 2015, the Boko Haram insurgents were controlling most parts of Borno, Adamawa and Yobe States, adding that weak response and excessive politicisation of national security challenges under the Jonathan administration, including the false accusation that opposition politicians were sponsoring Boko Haram, lower the approval rating of the Jonathan administration in the country, which significantly contributed to its defeat in 2015.

He therefore reiterated that recommended governance reform initiatives contained in the report of the APC Committee on true federalism present a big window of opportunity for the nation and APC leaders in particular to develop the capacity to manage the country’s volatile politics laden with ethnic and religious influences.

He said to be able to manage the country’s volatile politics there was a need to strengthen its governance institutions.
His words: “Inability to proceed to initiate processes of strengthening governance institutions in the country as contained in the recommendations of APC Committee on True Federalism will continue to subject our leaders to often unfair accusations of ethnicity based on wrong perceptions.

“And if care is not taken, no matter the achievement of our leaders, public recognition of the tenure of our leaders may be dictated by perceptive judgments of poor performance based largely on bad management of ethnic relations.
“Therefore, all APC leaders have a responsibility now to protect the achievements of APC leaders and governments especially, the federal government and President Buhari. APC leaders need to overcome the current lethargic attitude against initiatives for true federalism or restructuring.

“Although, no matter what any political leader is able to concede, there will always be the strong presence of political demands by ethnic groups, it is important to appeal to our leaders to consider the bigger picture, which is about responding to national challenges and strengthening the capacity of governance institutions in the country to serve Nigerians.”
Lukman further expressed optimism that the recommendations contained in the report of the APC committee on true federalism have the potentials to strengthen the capacity of government institutions at all levels to respond to most of our security challenges, for instance.

He stressed that most of the recommendations would elicit wide range of disagreements from many groups and interests across the country, while a debate to consider them would raise hopes and almost everyone would most likely find something appealing as much as there would be cases of strong objections to some of the recommendations.