APC govs to Buhari: We want more roles in party affairs •We won’t wade into Saraki/Dogara woes —Abubakar

GOVERNORS elected on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) have called President Muhammadu Buhari to make it possible for them to play more roles in the ruling party, particularly over the tackling of its “teething problems.”

Addressing journalists in Abuja, on Wednesday, Governor Muhammed Abubakar of Bauchi State, disclosed that the governors made the request during their meeting with the president at the Presidential Villa on Tuesday.

Answering questions on the party’s internal crisis, he said APC was going through teething problems because the leading Federal Government was a new experience for the party.

Abubakar revealed that following the president’s acceptance of their suggestion, the governors had now set up committees to tackle knotty party issues.

He said: “The APC is the party that has come to power recently and it has come to power from an opposition party and I must confess that we are experiencing teething problems in APC, because leading government is a new phenomenon for us.

“I cannot say that things are going on smoothly and that is why on Tuesday, we paid a visit to Mr President and we expressed the need for governors to be called upon to delve into the problems of the party, with a view to reinvigorating the party so that it can continue performing the functions of a government in power.

“We are trying to attend to this issue (internal crisis) and Mr President has graciously allowed us on Tuesday and we have, in fact, formed committees of the APC Governors’ Forum to address this and many other issues bedeviling the ruling party.”

After Tuesday’s meeting with the president, chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum and the Imo State governor, Rochas Okorocha, had told State House correspondents that the governors would be wading into the crisis in the National Assembly.

But Abubakar has now lessened expectations on that, saying the governors would not interfere in the ongoing case against Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki, at the Code of Conduct Tribunal (CCT) or the current budget padding crisis besetting the leadership of the House of Representatives.

He clarified that the governors were only looking at political disagreements which have rendered the ruling party shaky since it took over power.

The governor said the issue before the Code of Conduct Bureau (CCB) involving Saraki and the recent budget padding revelations were criminal matters which the governors would not dabble into.

The Bauchi State governor called for the restructuring of aspects of the national life to give more control to states and local governments over the control of their resources.

He said that should reduce the current agitation for restructuring of the country.


Abubakar stated: “I assure you that we are not going to tamper with cases before the courts or tribunals and we are not going to delve into the current issues.

“We are only going to touch the political issues out of it. What is before the court, those of us who are lawyers we know, that there are issues that are of judicial in nature.

“We won’t touch it and the current issue is just coming up and is not political as afar as I’m concerned. If any proof is found in those allegations, it is criminal offenses. So, there is no way any governors’ committee can delve into that issue. I can assure you.”

The Bauchi State governor called for the restructuring of aspects of the national life to give more control to states and local governments over the control of their resources.

He said that should reduce the current agitation for restructuring of the country.

The governor said: “In constitutional democracy, the constitution allocates to each tier of government certain responsibilities. In Nigeria, we are prone to using very strong words when we feel strongly about an issue.

“I agree that there is a need to look at the various legislative lists contained in the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, with a view to tinkering with them and redistributing the powers.

“For example, agriculture, the Federal Government of Nigeria has no land anywhere. The land belongs to the states and the local governments and that’s where agriculture takes place.

“So, it is obvious that the states and the local governments must be given more responsibilities as far as agriculture is concerned.

“And when you give them this responsibilities and attendant incidents, the funding structure of the Federal Government will necessarily change so that you transfer the money to the tiers of government that you have given additional responsibilities.

“And the moment you do this, I am sure those who are agitating for this restructuring will be satisfied in a lot of respects.

“In mining for instance, today, it is the policy of APC-led Federal Government that we should move into agriculture and mining, with a view to diversifying the economy of the nation.

“But if you look at the constitutional provision, all the powers reside in the hands of the Federal Government of Nigeria. The state where the minerals are located do not have much role to play as far as prospecting and mining of minerals are concerned.

“So, these are issues that if we look at, the agitation for restructuring may mellow down, but this is essentially my opinion.”