Nigeria: Presidency - PDP Can't Be Entrusted With National Leadership

17 June 2021

The Presidency yesterday took issue with Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors over their decisions on national matters at a meeting in Uyo, the Akwa Ibom State capital.

The presidency said the decisions made at the Monday meeting, including the call on the federal government to reconsider the suspension of Twitter's operations in Nigeria showed that the party could not be trusted with national leadership in the future.

It also accused the PDP governors of leading efforts to frustrate moves by the federal government to reinstate the local government system as the third tier of government.

Presidential spokesman, Malam Garba Shehu, said in a statement that the PDP Governors' Forum's communiqué was a demonstration to Nigerians on why the party and its representatives should not be entrusted with national leadership soon.

Garba said: "The PDP governors propose no solutions to any of our nation's challenges in the face of COVID-19 and global economic downturn: instead, they grasp for more money and mourn their lack of access to social media to spread falsehoods and hate. Their statement is evidence, if any were needed, as to why the president and the APC ended the PDP's one-party rule in 2015, were re-elected by an increased margin in 2019, and why their winning trend is set to continue far into the future."

According to him, in bemoaning the decision by the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) not to make contributions to the Federation Account, the governors appeared to believe NNPC can spend the same money twice: once on the petroleum subsidy - which they all support - and then on their states via the Federation Account.

"NNPC is a trustee for the nation - and this means it must manage its finances with prudence and for the long-term to safeguard the financial support it bestows on our country. What the governors are asking of NNPC is to "break the bank" for their own profligate political ends.

"Similar profligacy and contradiction are in full view with their call to the central bank to appreciate the value of the naira. This would damage exports - including oil revenues on which NNPC depends - as well as damage small businesses and employment. But an appreciated currency would benefit those spending on luxuries from abroad - this, no doubt, being the leading desire of a typical PDP governor," the presidency stated.

It added that when the governors claimed a lack of federal institutions' money pouring into their states' coffers is an affront to democracy, constitutionalism and federalism, they failed to mention their refusal to support the federal government's earnest desire to reinstate the local government as the third tier and finding a lasting solution to farmer-herder conflicts.

"This initiative brings rights and support for generations of all ages to bring solutions to challenges that different communities of our country have faced, but the PDP governors reject it - denying all Nigerians their constitutional right to live and work in any state of the federation - preferring to appeal to ethnic division and hatred rather than support the first practical solution offered since independence," it added.

The presidency took exception to the call by the PDP governors for their increased involvement in mining and geophysical activities in their states asking why it has taken them this long "as such opportunities and states' powers have been fully available since independence - yet only now the PDP realises it?"

It also wondered why the PDP will grieve over the suspension of Twitter's operations in Nigeria, adding the suspension represents the curtailment of the opposition party's ability to use the platform "to spread fake news and invented stories to the detriment of community and good-neighbourliness between the peoples of Nigeria."

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