True federalism a must now ― Buhari

•Most Nigerian leaders buy their way to power ― Okorocha

President Muhammadu Buhari on Friday harped on the need for true federalism at this time of Nigeria’s democratic development.

He made the assertion after receiving an award of appreciation from the Progressive Governors Forum at the presidential villa, Abuja, stressing that it was necessary to build bridges across the divide for the sake of an indivisible country.

He said: “We remain committed to improving the welfare of the Nigerian people. Your Excellencies, it will be belabouring the point to say that true federalism is necessary at this juncture of our political and democratic evolution.

“At a time when some few privileged individuals and groups have chosen to exploit and manipulate the ethnic and religious fault for seeking personal and partisan advantage, we need to build bridges across the different divides and instil faith in the unity and indivisibility of one Nigeria.”

While appreciating the governors’ gesture in conferring the award on him, President Buhari described it as a reflection of the collective commitment of the States and Federal Government to work harmoniously to find solutions to the developmental challenges facing our country

He acknowledged the All Progressive Congress (APC) Governors’ contributions to the political, economic, social and cultural development of Nigeria, saying that economic growth and competitiveness of nations depended on the harmonious collaboration of all the tiers of government, particularly in a federal set-up like ours.

“Hence, against the backdrop of the challenges we have been passing through as a nation arising from past economic and political mismanagement, we must feel justifiably proud to have contributed actively in getting Nigeria back on track in the last four years, in human and infrastructure development,” President Buhari stated.

He called on the state governments to be a strong pillar of support for his administration’s anti-corruption agenda, as well as continued support for its programmes of social protection, school feeding programme and other policies geared towards human capital development.

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He said going forward, they must all work together towards building a socially cohesive society in which the resources of the country work for all, adding: “We will continue to apply public funds in such a way that no section of the country or segment of the population suffers social exclusion.

“You are all quite aware that insecurity has remained a big challenge for us all. We are determined to face this challenge and secure the country more than ever before. While the protection of lives and property is a primary responsibility of government; it is also incumbent on the citizens to share in this responsibility, as security is a collective responsibility.”

While calling on all Nigerians to continue to have faith in the country, Buhari told the APC governors that

Nigeria was on a renewed growth trajectory.

He said: “Accordingly, we will do everything within our powers to sustain the current economic recovery efforts.

“We will continue to reinforce our macroeconomic policies to achieve sustainable economic stability and growth.

“We will also continue to ensure the growth comes along with more jobs and a fair and just distribution of the national wealth. Your continued cooperation in this regard is very vital.”

The President wondered what would have happened to the country if the opposition did not come together to seize power from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which he accused of frittering away the nation’s wealth.

According to him, the opposition came to save the country.

He, therefore, urged them to maintain the confidence of their “constituencies.”

The President said he was humbled by the award, saying: “It is a further reminder for me to continue to dedicate my life and my time to serving the Nigerian people. Thank you all for your attention and may.”

Chairman of Progressive Governors Forum and Governor of Imo state, Rochas Okorocha, explained that the award to Buhari was in devotion to his “visionary leadership.”

The Imo governor added: “Mr President, let me be personal with you this morning, the truth is and you may not know that you are a God-given asset to this nation. I am not saying so for purpose of flattery or praise singing.

“I have observed all categories of leaders in this country, but you seem to have distinguished yourself for this onerous reason. Most of the leaders in this country are those who either buy their love, fame or political position but in your own case you don’t spend one naira and you have love come your way, you have leadership come your way, that is the only judgement I have to say that you are destined by God to govern this country.”

Eight founding governors of the forum also received awards.

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