ILORIN—Governors of All Progressives Congress, APC, controlled states, yesterday, complained about dwindling allocation to their states and wondered why their Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, colleagues were not sharing their concern.
The APC governors who met in Ilorin, Kwara State expressed concern about a possible secret funding for the PDP states. The governors, who vowed to meet President Goodluck Jonathan over the issue, also resolved to allow internal democracy to guide the selection of a presidential candidate for the party.
The summit of the APC governors under the aegis of the Progressive Governors Forum, PGF, in Illorin, however, did not rule out the adoption of a consensus presidential candidate, but insisted that it must be done within the ambit of internal democracy.
The meeting of the APC governors was also a valedictory session for former Governor Kayode Fayemi who stepped down as governor of Ekiti State last Thursday. The APC governors praised Fayemi for what they described as his exemplary strength of character.
At the meeting yesterday were Rochas Okorocha of Imo State; Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Ibrahim Geidam (Yobe), Kashim Shettima (Borno), Ishaq Ajimobi (Oyo), Rauf Aregbesola (Osun), Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara) who was the host and Dr. Fayemi.
Chairman of the PGF, Governor Okorocha, who briefed newsmen at the end of the session which lasted several hours, expressed concern over what he described as the dwindling monthly allocation to the APC states.
He said: “This issue has become a very serious concern to us as governors and we felt that issues that affect the lives of our people must never be politicised. We refuse to accept the fact that this nation is broke and thank God that the Federal Government has confirmed that the nation is not broke. If the nation is not broke, what is due to states should be given to states.
“This idea of cutting what should go to states does not in any way promote democracy and democratic dividends. And so, we as progressive governors, call on the Federal Government to look into the issue of dwindling resources and convince us why the states should not get what is due to them.
“We demand to have a meeting with the President on this issue of dwindling resources as quickly as possible,” he stressed.
Cash crunch aimed at APC states
Expressing concern that the cash crunch was partisan and directed at APC states, Okorocha wondered why the PDP governors were not complaining.
“We do not know why our colleagues in the PDP are not talking of this matter. If they are not talking, it is either they are not affected or somehow they are getting something from the back door which we do not know. I think the President or the Federal Government should act quickly to quell the present ugly situation which this terrible condition of dwindling resources points out to us by making sure that the states get what is due to them, at least to pay salaries of their workers.”
Giving the backing of the governors to the APC leadership’s efforts to ensure smooth nomination of candidates for various elective positions and the prospects of a consensus presidential candidate for the party, he said:
“Our forum is in full support of consensus as one of the ways to produce our presidential candidate or any candidate in the party as long as it is done with respect to internal democracy.
“There will be no imposition of candidate in our party. Our forum has not adopted any candidate but we shall encourage consensus and dialogue within the leadership of the party and aspirants to see how we come up with a candidate. But where that is not possible, like true progressives, we shall have free and fair primaries.”
Governor Okorocha, on behalf of his colleagues, also lauded the former governor of Ekiti State “for a commendable show of character and a successful tenure in office, having handed over the office of the Ekiti State Governor on Thursday October 16, 2014.
Valedictory seesion for Fayemi
Lauding Fayemi, Okorocha said: “You had great vision for the state with the achievements you recorded, history cannot say that you were without a purpose. Your humility and display of sportsmanship after the announcement of a result different from what majority of Nigerians expected and would have preferred to be outcome of the June 21, 2014 election leaves us, your brothers and colleagues, in admiration of you.
“In a free and fair democratic system, the voice of the people is sacrosanct. It is the thrust on which the foundation of good governance, transparency and accountability is built. It is a voice that must be respected. But whether the voice that supposedly spoke on the election day is really the voice of the people is another matter. The people of Ekiti, whom you served so well and so honourably, will live to tell. Needless to say that you have carved your name in gold in the annals of Ekiti State, in our great party and the political history of Nigeria.
“JKF,(John Kayode Fayemi) you have shown to the world what it means to be progressive and your conduct, both in and out of office will always be a point of reference so we enjoin you to continue in your good stride, never forgetting your strength of humility, hard work and steadfastness in fighting for the good of the people and the eventual development of our country Nigeria.”
Responding, an elated Fayemi said: “I am elated and full of gratitude for the support and solidarity that you extended to me as a member of this forum and as a former governor of Ekiti State. That I had served as a governor is even a rare privilege but to have served alongside you as a member of this forum is a greater opportunity as a Nigerian. This group has played a critical role in the formation of our party because it was our maiden meeting in Lagos that gave us the name progressive. I shall miss this body greatly”.
Fayemi, however, assured the forum that he would forever remain a progressive, and shall continue to make his impact felt in the country, Ekiti State and APC.
Minister of Finance and Coordinating Minister of the Economy Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala last Tuesday assured that Nigeria is financially sound and has been meeting its local and international financial obligations despite dwindling revenue from crude oil export.
The Minister who gave the assurance at a press conference in Abuja said: “Despite the dwindling revenue of the nation due to falling crude oil prices and decrease in output, the nation is not broke”.
She said, “right now, we have fluctuations in the price of crude oil and when that happens, it means that the money that comes into the coffers is a little bit small. Does that mean that the country is broke? If we are not able to pay salaries to people or meet other obligations then we can say the country is broke but we have not got there. Nigeria is not broke.
“We may have to cut down on some of our expenditures. We may have to mobilize more revenue; we have to look at the fiscal policy; we have to look at the monetary policy –all of these have to come together and we are looking at them right now in the Ministry of finance.
“I want to assure Nigerians that we are putting in place contingency plans so that our economy remains stable.”
According to the minister, the current realities of falling oil prices and reduction in quantity of production have made the diversification of the economy more imperative now than ever.
She added that in spite of the global economic challenges the Nigerian economy remained resilient, growing at about 6.5 per cent, making it one of the fastest growing economies of the world.
Her team at the Ministry of finance, she added had been working round the clock to ensure that the real sectors of the economy, especially, agriculture and power, among others received the needed impetus to boost productivity and provide jobs.