By Tunde Opalana
As the Nigeria goes through critical moment of her national life, the leadership of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) has been admonished to take expedient actions to save the country from chaos and disability in order to earn electoral credibility to the party, Daily Times gathered.
A stalwart of the party and Director General of the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), Dr. Salihu Lukman gave this advice in a personal statement issued Thursday in Abuja.
The Director General while stressing that crisis is always the test of leadership, expressed displeasure that it is unfortunately that responses from the political leaders especially at federal level are below public expectation.
Speaking as a loyal member of the APC and importantly as patriotic Nigerian, he to appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari, to kindly and urgently hasten intervention through appropriate civic engagement across every parts of the country to ensure restoration of peace in the country.
Lukman said it is sad that the unfortunate poor management of the #EndSARS protest by government has led to the incidence of the night of Tuesday, October 20, 2020 in Lekki, which resulted in the attacked of innocent protesters.
He said it is now a national imperative for all political leaders, irrespective of partisan, ethnic, religious, gender or any other demographic affiliation, to forge a strong national unity as a cardinal requirement for restoration of peace in the country.
While commending proactive actions of a few state governors in responding to the development, he blamed the Federal Government that has superior responsibility to initiate response to the current crisis for not doing so.
Lukman, recognised that part of the problem weakening federal initiatives is the inability of many, if not all the mandate ministries and agencies responsible for one form of intervention or the other to competently and effectively initiate needed responses.
He said “for instance, how can we have a Ministry of Police Affairs and the ministry is unable to simulate good engagement strategy with innocent young Nigerians calling for reform of the Nigeria Police? What is the advantage of democracy if a ministry cannot be able to engage the demands of citizens?
“Where is the Ministry of Disaster Management and Humanitarian Services in all these? Doesn’t the mandate of the ministry include initiatives to prevent disaster? Or, is disaster management limited to attending to human casualties by way of providing palliatives? Where is the Ministry of Youth in all this? How can the ministry absent itself from centres of legitimate protests of our youth for more than a week? Where is the Ministry of Defence? Where is the Ministry of Interior? Where is National Orientation Agency?
“If all the agencies of government and political appointees managing these agencies have handle their responsibilities as is expected, this crisis would have been averted. In fact, the pressure on President Buhari’s direct intervention will not have been the case.
“The crisis produced by the #EndSARS protest highlight the need for the President to urgently take steps to overhaul the machinery of government if our democracy and our government is to be able to meet the expectation of citizens”..
He, however said “it is the constitutional prerogative of the President to determine the best strategy and the details of governmental reforms aimed at overhauling the machinery of government to make them more effective in responding to the democratic needs of Nigerians”.
Putting APC leaders on their toes, Lukman said faced with emergency situation, every leader should recognise that, in fact, political contest is only possible under conditions of peaceful atmosphere.
“Perhaps, it is important to also state that the current crisis is eroding the moral credibility of our party, APC and our political leaders. A situation where lives of our leaders are being threatened and our party and our government demonstrate weak responses is quite depressing. What is going on in Lagos State can happen to any state and any leader in an affected state can experience the same attack, if not worse.
“Unless we are able to develop a strong national response and restore peace in the country, APC will appear to be fast losing any moral credibility to present candidates for any election.
“This means winning elections in the country by APC, especially in the crisis affected areas will just be a daydream. Part of the sad reality is also that many of our political leaders live with the delusion that, if APC’s electoral viability is weakened or destroyed, they can move to other parties.
“All our political leaders should appreciate that the situation, as much as it is damaging to the APC as a party, it is more politically destructive to every leader of the party.
“If care is not taken, we may as well be writing our names as a generation of political leaders into a national black book. The implication of that may not be apparent at the moment. We therefore need to appeal to all our leaders to please treat the current situation with the utmost urgency it requires.
“This is the time when our claims to selfless service as progressive politicians is being tested, our humanity, nationalism and patriotism are being questioned. There is no doubt that our leaders are up to the task. We just need to strongly convey our appeals coming from our depressed and helpless hearts.
“At the moment, the weight of responsibility is more on our APC leaders as much as is for all Nigerians. This is the time when for incidence a meeting of the National Executive Committee (NEC) of APC will be urgently required to ensure a coordinated political response to the current crisis”, Lukman submitted.