•Seek executive bill on devolution of powers
•24 govs now back open grazing ban
•Meeting a political jamboree, says APC
By Chuks Okocha in Abuja and Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors yesterday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to summon a meeting of the Police Council to discuss the worsening insecurity and the need to decentralise policing in the country.
Also throwing their weight behind the position of the 17 Southern governors demanding devolution of powers and adoption of ranching to replace open grazing of cattle, the governors, in a communiqué after a meeting in Ibadan urged the president to forward an executive bill to the National Assembly to facilitate the devolution of powers to states.
With the PDP’s Northern governors’ support, the number of governors rooting for open grazing ban have now increased to 24, including Kano State Governor, Dr. Abdullahi Ganduje of the All Progressives Congress.
They demanded a constitution amendment to actualise the devolution of power, especially the creation of a state police, and called on the National Assembly to fast-track the passage of the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
While noting that the meeting was to advance the conversation on the worsening security situation and collapsing of the economy, they insisted that the time has come for Buhari to concentrate on projects and policies that would enhance and promote national unity and cohesion.
In the communiqué read by the Chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum and Governor of Sokoto State, Hon. Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, the PDP governors called on Buhari to immediately send an executive bill to the National Assembly to amend the constitution to devolve more powers to the states to enable governors to effectively manage security in their domains, especially through the establishment of a state policing system and developing their own internal security arrangements.
They said: “In the interim, Mr. President should summon an immediate meeting of the Nigerian Police Council, which comprises Mr. President and all state governors and other critical stakeholders to evolve and implement strategies to combat the present threats to our union, especially with respect to policing.
“The meeting agreed that the police force still remains the appropriate institution to secure our democracy and should not be subjected to personal attacks. The welfare, training, equipment, funding of all security agencies should be given priority.
“The meeting supports the earlier position taken by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Northern Governors’ Forum and recently by the Southern Governors’ Forum to adopt ranching as the most viable solution to the herders/farmers clashes in Nigeria; the restructuring of the Nigerian federation to devolve more powers and functions to states; and reform of various civil institutions to achieve efficiency and equity for all sections of Nigeria.”
In the six-point communiqué, the governors enjoined all Nigerians to work together to achieve peace and harmony with one another, devoid of discrimination based on ethnicity, religion, and other cleavages.
Tambuwal said the meeting called on the “incompetent and rudderless APC government to take bold and deliberate steps to de-escalate and lower tensions in our country, and concentrate on projects and policies that will enhance and promote national unity and cohesion.”
He added that the meeting reiterated the earlier call for the National Assembly to expedite action on the passage of the Electoral Act that will ensure a free and fair election, including provisions for electronic accreditation and electronic transmission of votes.
The PDP governors thanked their host and colleague in Oyo State, Mr. Seyi Makinde, for being a gracious and wonderful host, and congratulated him for the many landmarks developmental projects he has executed.
They urged him to continue to work with all stakeholders in the South-west to ensure that PDP takes over the majority of the states in the zone.
In attendance at the meeting were Tambuwal; Governors Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State; Douye Diri of Bayelsa State; Samuel Ortom of Benue State; Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State; Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State; Nyesom Wike of Rivers State; Seyi Makinde Oyo State; Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa State; Godwin Obaseki of Edo State; Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State and the Deputy Governor of Zamfara State, Mr. Mahdi Mohammed.