By Sen. John J. Akpan Udoedehe
The events of the past 72 hours in the United States of America is to say the least condemnable. Over time, the elections of the US have been used as a touchstone for elections in other democracies.
It is settled that strong institutions are fundamental to the sustenance of democracies. However, this US election saga strongly underscores the fact that the integrity of the country’s leader essentially complements the workings of these institutions.
President Muhammadu Buhari contested and lost elections a couple of times and followed the process through to the Supreme Court on all accounts. This is an outstanding credential of a true democrat.
Upon ultimately gaining victory in 2015, the APC-led administration has carried out fundamental reforms to strengthen our institutions. For instance:
Non-interference in the functions of INEC. The APC has contested elections; won some, lost some without splitting hairs. Infact, at some point the APC lost over 5 states to the PDP, yet we allowed democracy to prevail. We have remained resolute in our belief that in every electoral contest, popular will must prevail.
This is a far-cry from the days of the do-or-die politics of PDP, where civilians took control of the security apparatus to subvert the people’s will and determine the outcome of elections.
Electoral reform is a core plank of the programs of the APC-led administration and a legacy that Mr. President has promised to bequeath to Nigerians.
Other institutional reforms include the excision of the Nigerian Financial Intelligence Unit (NFIU) and inauguration subsequently by Mr. President, as advised by the EGMONT GROUP, to eliminate the siphoning of Local Government funds and to entrench financial autonomy for local government Councils in Nigeria. Recall that successive PDP governments rejected local government autonomy which hitherto encouraged undue interference in the running of local government administration by state governments and was linked to restiveness among the youth.
The signing into law by Mr. President in May 2020, of “the Executive Order No. 10 of 2020 for the implementation of Financial autonomy of State Legislatures and State judiciaries and other related matters” is a bold statement on institutional reforms. These are aimed at strengthening these institutions. When they are financially independent, then they can be firm and fair in their decisions.
Petroleum industry reforms particularly the deregulation of the oil and gas downstream sector is also worthy of mention.
Therefore the statements by the PDP are merely designed to gain political mileage and only reinforces the disinformation on all issues, which the PDP constantly and laboriously pursues at all times. The positions taken by PDP Governors against these institutional reforms are in the public domain.
Politics should not be allowed to overshadow policies. We urge the PDP, especially their governors to show bi-partisanship in supporting all the sectoral reforms being initiated by Mr. President for the benefit of Nigerians.
▪︎ Akpan Udoedehe is National Secretary,
Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee (CECPC) of the
All Progressives Congress (APC)
US events condemnable, but Buhari stands tall in integrity
By Sen. John J. Akpan Udoedehe