Published By: Kazeem Ugbodaga
26th July, 2021
By Okafor Ofiebor
Ahead of the 2023 general elections, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Governors’ Forum has requested the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to deploy appropriate technologies necessary to ensure that the votes of every Nigerian is counted and made to count.
Similarly, the forum has also tasked the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), especially, the Universal Service Provision Fund (USPF), Nigerian Communications Satellite Ltd, and telephone companies to ensure that universal access and service of Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) are provided, especially in rural, un-served and under-served areas of the country before the 2023 general elections.
The governors, who met in Bauchi, Bauchi State on Monday stated these in a ten point communique issued at the end of their meeting, during which they deliberated and reviewed the deteriorating state of the country’s democracy, the economic and security situation in the country.
Chairman of PDP Governors’ Forum and Governor of Sokoto State, Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, who read the communique, said the forum identified with the need for a free, fair and credible elections in the country and called on the National Assembly to entrench electronic transmission of results of elections in the nation’s electoral jurisprudence.
In attendance were: Gov. Nyesom Ezenwo Wike (Rivers); Gov. Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia); Gov. Udom Emmanuel (Akwa-Ibom); Gov. Douye Diri ( Bayelsa); Gov. Samuel Ortom (Benue); Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa (Delta); Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi (Enugu); Gov. Oluseyi Abiodun Makinde (Oyo); Gov. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri (Adamawa); Gov. Godwin Obaseki (Edo); Gov. Bala Mohammed (Bauchi); Gov. Darius Ishaku (Taraba) and Deputy Gov. Mahdi Mohd (Zamfara).
The PDP governors condemned the attempt to foist on all political parties, one method of conducting primaries, that is, by direct method only through the Electoral Act Amendment Bill.
According to the forum, the direct method is prone to massive rigging, as evidenced by a situation where President Muhammad Buhari scored about 15 million votes in the 2018 APC direct primaries, only to score 15 million votes from the entire country in the 2019 general election.
The governors stressed that political parties, should be allowed to decide whether to use direct or indirect method of conducting primaries as part of internal democracy in political parties.
Again, the PDP governors condemned the use of underhand tactics to arm twist some of their colleagues and other stakeholders to join the APC, a political party that has wrecked Nigeria’s economy, turned Nigeria into a killing field and has nothing to offer Nigerians, but misery and bad governance.
The forum lampooned President Muhammadu Buhari and APC for turning the Presidential Villa, that belongs to all Nigerians, into the new APC headquarters, where coerced PDP members are being paraded at intervals.
On the issue of the economy, the PDP governors admonished the APC Federal Government to collaborate more with State Governments to stem the unemployment scourge affecting the youths of Nigeria, through technology and increased production in all fields of endeavour.
The governors advised the Federal Government to stop paying lip service on the Ease of Doing Business, as foreign direct investments have continued to fall partly due to obstacles placed on foreign companies wishing to invest in Nigeria.
“A glaring example is that of FACEBOOK who insisted on investing in Nigeria rather than Ghana, and is being frustrated by regulatory authorities.”
The PDP governors maintained it was time to bring the activities of bandits, kidnappers and terrorists to an end, through increased use of military equipment, traditional means of conflict resolution and technology for surveillance and the development of the political will to flush them out.
“Kidnapping, banditry and terrorism are not business ventures as claimed by APC, but heinous State crimes, that is destroying the Nigerian economy, the educational and social future of our children and causing significant social upheavals in society.”
The governors reiterated the need for the NNPC and other revenue generating agencies of Government to strictly abide by the Constitution by remitting all their revenue less cost of production into the Federation Account as provided for by Section 162 of the Constitution.
Furthermore, the governors enjoined all Nigerians of goodwill to take advantage of the ongoing registration of voters by INEC to register to vote, thereby arming themselves with the necessary tools in the struggle to rescue Nigeria from the APC maladministration.
“The general public, especially our youths and women are implored to use the opportunity of the PDP E-registration exercise which will kick off soon, to register as PDP members, while PDP Members should update their membership electronically.