The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Monday declared that it would put politics aside to help the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari to overcome the numerous problems besetting the country.
In line with this, the party (PDP) at a world press conference at its National Secretariat in Abuja proffered solutions to the insecurity and economic woes, which it advised the All Progressive Congress (APC) government to quickly implement to restore the country to normality.
Flanked by many party chieftains, the National Chairman of the main opposition party, Prince Uche Secondus, who expressed the belief that Nigeria is better together, stated: “We have not come to play politics, but to work in concert with our compatriots to rescue of our nation from these avoidable perilous circumstances.”
On combating insecurity, the PDP boss posited that his party wants the immediate up-scaling of the personnel strength of security personnel with adequate provisions of kinetic instruments of war and law enforcement.
He added, “Our armed forces should be adequately equipped and their welfare a top priority.
“In addition, efforts should be made towards partnership with foreign governments and miscellaneous entities for the war efforts.
“The situation in our country is not normal and exceptional steps should be taken to restore it to normalcy.
“The PDP, as a body, is willing to give a helping hand in this direction.”
On the establishment of a State Police,” he said: “We call on all citizens to support the quest for state police as is the tradition in other federations.
“Mindful of the current plethora of vigilante in various parts of the country, which have not been enabled to carry out all the elements of effective policing, we call on the governors of the 36 states, the leadership and members of the National Assembly, the Speakers of the State Assemblies, relevant agencies of government, to occasion a summit for a one-stop-shop regarding the creation, structure, and management of state police.
“In spite of the concerns over state police, it is doubtful that 36 state police services can be easily overwhelmed, as is the case now with the unitary police. Besides, any challenges can be addressed through legislative framework to make abuse extremely difficult, if not impossible.
“We also call for the deployment of technology in the fight against terror, banditry, and other crimes.
“The PDP demands that all culprits should be brought to book. The apparent failure of intelligence to track attacks by bandits and follow up on them is a clear failure of the intelligence community.
“The Nigerian Communications Satellite Limited NIGCOMSAT, established many years ago by a PDP administration, is designed for this purpose and others.
“States where matters of national security challenges originate or exist should be invited to the National Security Council Meeting for deliberation and problem-solving interactions.
“We call for the creation of National Boarders Protection Force to secure our borders. This will include an integrated border protection system that will draw personnel and equipment from existing armed service and Immigration.
“We cannot continue to watch while terrorist and bandits continue to levy war on our nation, through our porous borders. This borders force should be equipped with reconnaissance, intelligence gathering, prevention, and enforcement. It should therefore have air, sea, and land capability.
“There must be a synergy and cooperation among the armed services, strategically and operationally. There is no reason a theatre Commander should not have within his control the deployment of the Air Force, the Army, and the Navy in his operational area.
“All culprits, who have levied war on Nigeria, should be brought to book. It is unfathomable that several mass kidnappings have been successfully staged with the culprits not being held to account.”
The PDP boss regretted that those perpetrating banditry have not been brought to book except a few killed by rival bandits, saying that if the Kaduna-based Islamic cleric, Sheikh Gumi could locate the bandits and discuss with them, the security agencies too can find them.
Secondus added, “It is a shameful irony that a few bandit leaders that have been taken out were killed by rival gangs and not our security agencies.
“If Sheik Gumi could detect and engage the bandits, we do not understand why our security agencies cannot track, arrest, and prosecute them.
“The administration of President Buhari should completely shed weight on arrogance, lack of respect for Nigerians and its pretences of being an island of integrity.
“He should begin to engage the citizens directly. He should address the nation on the various issues escalating tension in the land and pushing the nation farther to the tips of precipice.
“It is serious political malpractice, for Mr. President to stand aloof, say nothing, do nothing and simply wish that the problems will somehow go away.
“It is a great disservice to the Nigerian people for Mr. President to abandon his presidential duties to two media handlers who resort to issuing meaningless and annoying press statements in the name of an amorphous and questionable organisation called ‘the Presidency.’
“Enough of trivialising governance and trifling with the lives, livelihoods and wellbeing of the Nigerian people.
“Furthermore, Mr President needs to convince Nigerians that his government is not shielding or protecting terrorists.”
The PDP urged the federal government to stop borrowing as it noted that future generations are being mortgaged and railroaded into the avoidable debt trap.
The party also called for the probing of the activities of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) while it should be over sighted by the National Assembly
Secondus added, “APC should do away with their nepotism and hire experts that will help creatively navigate the nation through the dire economic challenges they have led the nation into.
“We also believe that the management of the economy, including the management of Ways and Means should be done in a more professional manner to avert a collapse of the economy.
“The country is bleeding economically and the operations of the NNPC must be investigated and oversight by the parliament.
“The topsy-turvy situation where Mr. President, who is the Minister of Petroleum, approves oil wells only to reverse himself in a matter of weeks as demonstrated in the case of Addax and Kaztech/Slavic consortium (OMLs 123, 124, 126 and 137) and others like that should be investigated.”
On the separatist agitation from different parts of the country, the PDP blamed their existence on the APC’s poor management of Nigerian’s diversity.
Secondus added, “The tension and current separatist agitations threatening the corporate existence of Nigeria owe their origins to the perfunctory management of diversity by the APC-led Federal Government, as every action of this administration goes to confirm the fears of the victims and legitimizes the agitations of the separatist groups.
“Worse still, instead of engaging Nigerians, this administration resorts to harassment and intimidation of voices of dissent.
“They clamp down on democratic expressions against exclusion as well as political opposition, weaponizing critical institutions like the armed forces, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Independent Corrupt Practices and other Related Offences Commission (ICPC), and even regulatory agencies like the National Broadcasting Commission (NBC), etc.
“Even an appearance on national television or radio could warrant a clampdown by the NBC or invitation by the EFCC or ICPC. We fear that this, if not checked, could soon graduate to the assassination of political opponents and voices of dissent.
All calls and entreaties on the Federal Government to accommodate the South East in the headship of the nation’s armed forces and security agencies have fallen on deaf ears to the chagrin of nation-building.
“Therefore, we call on the APC-led government to live up to the spirit and letters of our constitution to ensure that all sections of the country are equitably represented in all agencies and organs of government, including the armed forces.
“This will build loyalty and enhance security both in strategic and real terms. It will give every part of the country a sense of belonging and will be very helpful in intelligence gathering.
“As known world over, no victim of injustice is ever interested in peace. In this wise, we strongly subscribe to an all stakeholders Security and Solution Summit that will deescalate the current situation.
“This will now further collaborate the efforts of the leaders of the National Assembly, the state governors, Speakers of Assemblies, and relevant government agencies and other stakeholders in putting together a one-stop summit to find solutions to the menacing security situation in the country.”
The PDP insisted on the resignation and investigation of the Minister of Communications and Digital Economy, Dr isa Pantami, over his past sympathy for terrorist groups, blaming his continued retention in the office on nepotism.
The party boss further said “The apparent nepotism in the appointment of the top echelon of the security forces, and the commanding heights of the institutions of government further fuel agitations across the country.
“In fact, winning elections has been reduced by the APC to more of sharing the spoils of war than running a government to the benefit of all citizens.
“This could be the only discernable reason for the President to appoint and still retains, as a Minister of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that has access to the sensitive data of Nigerians, a self-confessed bigot, who had voluntarily expressed happiness at the killing of people of other faith.
“It is also curious that such an individual like Isa Pantami, scaled through the vetting by Department of State Security (DSS) ahead of confirmation by the Senate.
“Granted that he may have changed in his views, is it possible that millions of youth radicalized by his preaching have also repented from extreme views and concomitant violent conducts?
“The PDP holds that our present circumstance is attributable to Dr Isa Pantami and people who share and preach his views.
“The very first step is for Pantami to be immediately relieved of his office and handed over for investigation, and if found wanting, he should be prosecuted.”