Abdullahi Ganduje, the National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), has called for specific constitutional roles for deputy governors in Nigeria to keep them busy.
Ganduje said this at an annual conference of the Forum of Former Deputy Governors of Nigeria (FFDGN) with the theme: “Partnering in the shared vision for good governance and sustainable development” in Abuja.
Ganduje, represented by Mr Emma Eneukwu, the APC Deputy National Chairman, South, said that assigning constitutional roles would prevent unnecessary clash between governors and their deputies.
“I am happy that you the deputy governors, have decided to come together and form yourself into a forum and embark on this advocacy.
“As you create awareness, as you meet people and talk to leaders of our country, there is need to constitutionally give roles to the deputy governors,” he said.
Also speaking former Attorney General of the Federation, Chief Kanu Agabi advised political leaders to be guided by patriotism in all their endeavours.
He said that nothing was wrong with the Nigeria Constitution, but the inability to observe it.
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“There are some of us who feel that the constitution is an invalid document, it is illegitimate, it is a product of the military. Even if it is a broken down vehicle it is the vehicle.
“It is a good constitution; there is nothing wrong with it. However good a constitution is, it is not a self-executing document, it doesn’t enforce itself. It requires good people to enforce it.
“Of course it is not intended to be a perfect document, but this nation must begin to respect the constitution.
“We must begin to respect the nation’s history and not go on describing it as an artificial creation. As we hear so many people doing. There is no nation that is not artificial. All nations are artificial,” he said.
Agabi, who was the chairman of the occasion, appealed to people in power to come to terms with those who agreed with them.
He appealed to the Federal Government to make the nation self-reliance, tackle corrupt and released dissidents in prison to allow them contribute their quota to national development.
“I appeal to the federal government to release all those dissidents who are in detention so that they can come out to unite the state and move it forward.
“I am not afraid of those dissidents, bring them over, release them, let them recognise that we can teach them unity and peace.
“For ever since we became an independent nation, we have been living in peace,” he said.
Agabi also urged Nigerians to come together and be united as a country.
‘’once a nation adopts presidential system of government, unity is not optional.”
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Sen. Gorge Akume, also appealed to the governors to find it expedient to delegate some relevant and key roles to their deputies.
Akume, represented by a Director in SDF office, Mr Simon Tyungu, said such would give them a sense of belonging.
“Nigeria is presently facing a lot of very demanding challenges and this is because the effect of governance is not being felt by the majority of Nigerians at should be.
“To this end, I want to use this platform to advocate for a shared national vision between the federal government, state government and local government to be implemented within four years.
“This will be in form of the three tiers agreeing on very critical projects, that is the food and development centre,” he said.
Gov. AbdulRahman AbdulRazaq of Kwara and the Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum (NGF) urged all serving and former governors and their deputies to continue to work together for nation building.
“One recognizes your contribution to nation building and engagement in national and subnational discourse.
“Your experiences and institutional memories and knowledge must not be allowed to go to waste.
“I urge us all to work together, governors, deputy governors, former deputy governors, to work together in nation building.
“The NGF looks forward to a greater and robust collaboration and engagement with this forum,“ AbdulRazaq said.
The Chairman of the forum, Mr Chris Akomas, pledged the forum’s commitment to continue to strive hard in the quest for nation-building and in the bid to deepen Nigeria’s democratic process.
Akomas, a former Abia deputy governor, said the objective of the summit was to proffer workable solution and better understanding to eliminate the incessant rifts between Governors and their deputies.
“We have evolved over the years and have come up to the stage where we need to play critical roles to advance the cause of building on our democratic structures.
“Also to up the ante, in the Nation- building efforts of the forum, in order to positively touch more lives in the polity,” Akomas said.
He said that following the 2022 forum’s national conference in Uyo, members were compiling a book on their experiences in office.
He said that the book when published would serve as reference materials the public to get insights of the gamut of challenges faced by the deputy governors and suggestions on how to mitigate such,” he said.