As we come to the end of another turbulent year, marked by growing insecurity, worsening poverty and the creeping dictatorship and intolerance in the country, the Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) wishes to express its solidarity with the Nigerian people and commend their patience, resilience and dogged resistance in the face of a federal government that has lost touch with the dreams and aspirations of citizens.
We gladly observe that even as 2013 recedes into the annals of history as one of the worst years in Nigeria’s history, a few developments point to the fact that a new hope is emerging on the horizon, notably the merger of opposition parties and the growing commitment of progressives and patriotic political leaders to unite under the All Progressives Congress (APC) with the single-minded determination of rescuing Nigeria from a federal government that not only condones corruption, but has elevated graft into an art form.
There is no doubt that the merger of opposition parties today represents a major source of hope for the nation and our people are full of expectations that our party, APC, its leadership, elected representatives and governments will take the right step and measures to move the country away from all the multitudes of crises, halt the current movement towards collapse, restore the credibility of institutions of governance at all levels and respect and recognize the value of the human person. This demands that all political leaders in the country must be ready to make sacrifices.
We therefore wish to acknowledge and commend our party (APC) leadership for demonstrating high resolve to set aside all their personal positions and aspirations in order to provide the needed leadership to unite all Nigerian progressives. As Progressive Governors, we are proud of the achievements of our party and will continue to support our leaders towards rescuing our dear nation, Nigeria.
Against the background of today's federal government that steers the affairs of the nation based on convenience rather than constitutionality, Nigerians have been reduced to helpless observers of a presidency that is only efficient in weakening its moral authority, making it difficult to relate with other levels and tiers of government in accordance with the provisions of the 1999 Constitution as amended.
The hard and incomprehensible reality is that the Presidency, federal government and ruling PDP have become reckless, dishonest and completely insensitive to minimum requirement of protecting the lives and property of Nigerians. Government, as far as the conduct of the federal government shows, is all about the political aspirations of functionaries of government, notably Mr. President. This is unfortunate and the consequence is the increasing wave of both intra-party and wider national political crises without any visible demonstration of capacity by the federal government and the ruling party to manage or resolve the crises.
Given the severity and intensity of the crises facing our dear nation, it is clear that rescuing Nigeria will have to commence with a strong commitment to a national agenda of reconciliation in order to resolve grievances of citizens and bring forth a clear roadmap for nation building founded on respect for our diversities. Such a commitment should be founded on the principles of acknowledging deep-seated anger of citizens and recognizing that it is in the first place a product of injustices over years of bad governance. As a result, governments at all levels at different times have infringed on the rights and liberties of citizens. Citizens, have in turn, been abused and in many instances, violated. It is the view of the PGF that reconciliation, founded on the principles of forgiveness with governments demonstrating a strong commitment to break away from the past culture of infringements must form the foundation of a new Nigeria.
Together with our party leadership, we wish to reaffirm our unflinching commitment to move Nigeria forward. The nation cannot continue to be run the way it has been since 1999; something must give. True, the resilience of the Nigerian people has been tested severally by the antics of a government that has continually defrauded the people at the ballot box, continues to play politics with ethnic and religious sentiments while proffering no solutions to tackle insecurity, poverty and unemployment, yet, it is not the people, but this government that must give way.
After fourteen (14) years under democracy, our electoral system has continued to be a major source of national disappointment. The elections in Delta and Anambra have clearly rolled back the small progress that was recorded in Edo and Ondo states. With state of emergency in Adamawa, Borno and Yobe and the declaration by INEC that it will not be able to conduct elections in those states, democratic rule in the country is under threat and all democrats must rise to the occasion and save our democracy.
Our national economy has crashed to a level that is hardly explainable with reference to all rational economic theories. The common scorecard shows a nation that is efficient in mismanaging unmatched resources and wanton profligacy. Reversing this trend is not a mission that any group can accomplish alone. It requires the support of Nigerians. It is a difficult task, but we are confident that with your support, we shall seize the initiative and return Nigeria to a land where votes count, and where government will be accountable to the governed.
As Progressive Governors, we hereby restate our commitment to make all our states models of good governance with records of rapid human development and progress founded on the principles of social democracy in line with provisions of our party constitution and manifesto. In 2014, we shall take all the necessary steps to roll out programmes that will facilitate development of synergy, experience sharing and collaboration by all progressive states.
Once more, the Progressive Governors Forum felicitates with all Nigerians this festive season and reiterates its commitment to the advancement of democratic rights and freedoms while putting in place genuine programs to tackle insecurity, fight crime, and destroy all vestiges of corruption. This would be the basis of our programs for massive infrastructure project that would create jobs, stimulate economic activity, reduce inequality and diminish poverty.
A Merry Christmas to all Nigerians and a prosperous New Year!
Progressive Governors' Forum Nigeria