#EndSARS: Buhari’s ministers have failed Nigerians —- Lukman, DG Progressives Governors Forum

. Says APC moral, electoral credibility being eroded

Director General of the Progressives Governors Forum, (PGF) Salihu Lukman, has blamed ministers in President Muhammadu Buhari’s Federal Executive Council for indifference towards the festering agitation for the reform of the Nigeria Police Force and proscription of the dreaded Special Anti Robbery Squad tagged, #EndSARS protests.

Several public property and some belonging to private individuals were destroyed on Wednesday in Lagos following the killings of some of the protesters at the Lekki toll gate in Lagos.

Lukman in a statement he personally signed and made available to newsmen said certain Ministers who should have seized the initiative of an engagement with the youth were missing in action.

He maintained that their failure to use state machinery to pacify the aggrieved youths fuelled the crisis.

He argued that while the Lagos State governor and his colleagues in the affected states were faced with limited capacities to take every pre-emptive step to avert further outbreak of violence in their states, President Buhari’s Ministers were nowhere near the crisis prone states.

He said: “The reality, however, like other Nigerians, our governors are at the receiving end of this unfortunate development. Although given their constitutional powers, they also have critically important responsibilities, but the Federal Government has superior responsibility to initiate response to the current crisis. While this is not a period to resort to any blame game, it is however important to recognise that part of the problem weakening Federal initiatives is the inability of many, if not all, to mandate ministries and agencies responsible for one form of intervention or the other to competently and effectively initiate needed responses.

“For instance, how can we have a Ministry of Police Affairs and the ministry is unable to simulate good engagement strategy with innocent young Nigerians calling for reform of the Nigeria Police? What is the advantage of democracy if a ministry cannot be able to engage the demands of citizens? Where is the Ministry of Disaster Management and Humanitarian Services in all these? Doesn’t the mandate of the ministry include initiatives to prevent disaster? Or, is disaster management limited to attending to human casualties by way of providing palliatives? Where is the Ministry of Youth in all this? How can the ministry absent itself from centres of legitimate protests of our youths for more than a week? Where is the Ministry of Defence? Where is the Ministry of Interior? Where is National Orientation Agency?

“If all the agencies of government and political appointees managing these agencies have handled their responsibilities as it’s expected, this crisis would have been averted. In fact, the pressure on President Buhari’s direct intervention will not have been the case.

“The crisis produced by the #EndSARS protest highlights the need for the President to urgently take steps to overhaul the machinery of government if our democracy and our government is to be able to meet the expectation of citizens. It is the constitutional prerogative of the President to determine the best strategy and the details of governmental reforms aimed at overhauling the machinery of government to make them more effective in responding to the democratic needs of Nigerians.”

The Director General of the Forum of governors on the platform of the All Progressives Congress submitted that the lack of concern by the leaders towards the ongoing protests could erode its chances in subsequent elections in the country.

“Perhaps, it is important to also state that the current crisis is eroding the moral credibility of our party, APC and our political leaders. A situation where lives of our leaders are being threatened and our party and our government demonstrate weak responses is quite depressing. What is going on in Lagos State can happen to any state and any leader in an affected state can experience the same attack, if not worse.

“Unless we are able to develop a strong national response and restore peace in the country, APC will appear to be fast losing any moral credibility to present candidates for any election. This means winning elections in the country by APC, especially in the crisis affected areas will just be a daydream.

“Part of the sad reality is also that many of our political leaders live with the delusion that, if APC’s electoral viability is weakened or destroyed, they can move to other parties. All our political leaders should appreciate that the situation, as much as it is damaging to the APC as a party, it is more politically destructive to every leader of the party.”

Lukman who described the ongoing protests as legitimate national movement however cautioned against move to twist the narrative to instigate sectional conflicts.

“We also need to appeal to all Nigerians, especially our young ones, that we must all rise above our current anger, legitimate as they are. While invoking our inalienable rights to protest and struggle for better conditions in our country, we must also resist attempts by lawless people to take advantages of our actions to create anarchy resulting in the destruction of lives and property.

“As part of such resistance we must condemn every attempt to reduce legitimate struggles, which have potentials of developing our democracy to make it more responses to demands of citizens into sectional conflicts.

“Those who reduce national struggles into sectional conflicts don’t mean well for anybody. They are only opportunists, hiding behind so-called sectional interests to promote their personal agenda and therefore they are enemies of the people.”

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