Tunde Opalana, Abuja
The All Progressives Congress (APC) has said that President Muhammadu Buhari’s integrity over the past years is much more important than strong institutions of government.
This was in apt reply to a charge by the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that President Buhari should strengthen national institutions following the awkward invasion of the United States parliament by pro – Trump demonstrators recently.
National Secretary, Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Sen. John Akpan Udoedehe, however condemned the ugly event because, over time, the elections of the US have been used as a touchstone for elections in other democracies.
The party scribe in a statement at the weekend, though, agreed that strong institutions are fundamental to the sustenance of democracies, however, submitted that the US election saga strongly underscores the fact that the integrity of the country’s leader essentially complements the workings of these institutions.
Defending Buhari’s integrity, the party scribe said “President Muhammadu Buhari contested and lost elections a couple of times and followed the process through to the Supreme Court on all accounts. This is an outstanding credential of a true democrat.”
Upon ultimately gaining victory in 2015, he pointed out that the APC-led administration has carried out fundamental reforms to strengthen democratic institutions, such as; non-interference in the functions of INEC.
“The APC has contested elections; won some, lost some without splitting hairs. Infact, at some point the APC lost over 5 states to the PDP, yet we allowed democracy to prevail. We have remained resolute in our belief that in every electoral contest, popular will must prevail.
“This is a far-cry from the days of the do-or-die politics of PDP, where civilians took control of the security apparatus to subvert the people’s will and determine the outcome of elections.
“Electoral reform is a core plank of the programs of the APC-led administration and a legacy that Mr. President has promised to bequeath to Nigerians.
“Other institutional reforms include the excision of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and inauguration subsequently by Mr. President, as advised by the EGMONT GROUP, to eliminate the siphoning of local government funds and to entrench financial autonomy for local government Councils in Nigeria.
“Recall that successive PDP governments rejected local government autonomy which hitherto encouraged undue interference in the running of local government administration by state governments and was linked to restiveness among the youth.
“The signing into law by Mr. President in May 2020, of “the Executive Order No. 10 of 2020 for the implementation of Financial Autonomy of State Legislatures and State judiciaries and other related matters” is a bold statement on institutional reforms. These are aimed at strengthening these institutions. When they are financially independent, then they can be firm and fair in their decisions.
“Petroleum industry reforms particularly the deregulation of the oil and gas downstream sector is also worthy of mention.
“Therefore the statements by the PDP are merely designed to gain political mileage and only reinforces the disinformation on all issues, which the PDP constantly and laboriously pursues at all times. The positions taken by PDP Governors against these institutional reforms are in the public domain.”
While insisting that politics should not be allowed to overshadow policies, the party scribe charged the PDP, especially its governors to show bi-partisanship in supporting all the sectoral reforms being initiated by President Buhari for the benefit of Nigerians.