By Omeiza Ajayi
Director General of the Progressive Governors’ Forum PGF, Salihu Moh. Lukman has advocated the speedy implementation of the report of the Nasir el-Rufai Committee on True Federalism saying it is the easiest way to navigate the country out of the current ethnic tensions.
In a lengthy article released Saturday in Abuja, Lukman regretted the current resort to ethnic profiling of criminals in the wake of increasing banditry and kidnapping in most parts of the country.
According to him, leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress APC need to overcome their current lethargic attitude towards initiatives for True Federalism or Restructuring.
He said; “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 our volatile politics laden with ethnic and religious influences.
“To be able to manage our volatile politics, we need to strengthen our governance institutions. 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 achievements 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”.
He said no matter what any political leader is able to concede, there will always be the strong presence of political demands by ethnic groups, adding that it is important to appeal to APC 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.
“The recommendations contained in the report of the APC True Federalism Committee have potentials to strengthen the capacity of government institutions at all levels to respond to most of our security challenges, for instance.
“Most of the recommendations will elicit wide range of disagreements from many groups and interests across the country, a debate to consider them will raise hopes and almost everyone will most likely find something appealing as much as there will be cases of strong objections to some of the recommendations.
“It is important to understand that debating the issues doesn’t mean it is a decision for implementation. Debating these issues through our processes of law making as enshrined in our constitution is a fundamental requirement.
“With a tripartite consultative committee, chaired by the Vice President, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo with both the party Chairman, HE Mai Mala Buni, Senate President, HE Ahmed Lawan, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Femi Gbajabiala, PGF Chairman, HE Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, Secretary to Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Gida Mustapha and Chief of Staff to President, Prof. Ibrahim Agboola Gambari serving as members, the initiative to activate consideration of provisions of the APC Committee on True Federalism can initiated even if it means identifying the less contentious recommendations and commence processes of implementation.
“As a party committed to change, the best way to demonstrate that should be to move the country to the level of active engagement to consider recommended initiatives. Ensure that we operate a truly federalist system of government and our democracy is both representative and responsive should be a shared objective of every political leader in the country. This is not a task for only President Buhari. As much as being the leader of the party and President of the Federal Republic, he has a crucial role, every leader of the party is also responsible.
“The advantages of considering the recommendations contained in the report far outweigh all the fears that have held the nation tied to the current volatile politics of ethnic tensions.
“May God guide our leaders to lead us in a new direction that can encourage and strengthen them to consider governance reform initiatives that can fortify our institutions and therefore guarantee peaceful co-existence founded on love for each other across all our ethnic and religious divides”, Lukman prayed.