President Muhammadu Buhari has been given an award by the Progressive Governors Forum.
But the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) says the award is a shameful endorsement of failure; the height of deception; and a spit on the graves of victims of unrestrained killings and bloodletting in various parts of the country.
Governor Rochas Okorocha, along with other All Progressives governors presented the award to Buhari in Abuja on Friday.
At the ceremony, Buhari said his administration remains committed to improving the welfare of all citizens as well as tackling the challenges of insecurity in the country.
According to him, insecurity remains the greatest challenge confronting the nation but government will not relent in its effort to address the problem.
Buhari, therefore, enjoined the citizens to cooperate and support security agencies in addressing the challenges of insecurity across the country as “security is a collective responsibility’’.
“You are all quite aware that insecurity has remained a big challenge for us all but we are determined to face this challenge and secure the country more than ever before.
“While the protection of lives and property is the primary responsibility of government, it is also incumbent on the citizens to share in this responsibility as security is a collective responsibility.
“You will all agree with me that Nigeria is on a renewed growth trajectory. Accordingly, we will do all within our powers to sustain the current economic recovery efforts.
“We will continue to reinforce our micro-economic 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.
“I thank you for your continued patience and sacrifices in moving the nation forward. We remain committed to improving the welfare of the Nigerian people.
“It will be labouring the point to say that true federalism is necessary at this juncture of our political and democratic evolution,
“We need to build bridges across the different divides and institute faith in the unity and indivisibility of one Nigeria,’’ he said
Buhari called on State Governments to be pillars of the ongoing anti-corruption agenda and to continue to partner with the Federal Government to deliver more democratic dividends to citizens across the country.
The President, who was honoured with an award by the forum at the event, said the award would spur him to do more for the citizens irrespective of their socio-political backgrounds.
“I am very humbled by this award. It is a further reminder for me to continue to dedicate my life and my time to serving the Nigerian people,” he added.
Chairman of the Progressive Governors’ Forum and Gov. of Imo, Chief Rochas Okorocha, lauded the leadership qualities of President Buhari, describing him as “a leader naturally loved by the people’’.
While delivering a vote of thanks, Gov. Kayode Fayemi of Ekiti, also commended the president for coming to the rescue of state governments by providing them with bailout funds as well as the Paris Club refunds.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that outgoing governors of Borno (Kashim Shettima), Imo (Rochas Okorocha), Nasarawa (Tanko Al-Makura), Ogun (Ibikunle Amosun), Oyo (Abiola Ajimobi), Yobe (Ibrahim Gaidam), Zamfara (Abdulaziz Yari) and former governor of Osun, Rauf Aregbesola were also honoured with awards during the occasion.
The PDP claims the solicited award is another failed image-laundering and botched endorsement by the Buhari Presidency, which is being confronted by the weight of public rejection for its failures and the rigging of the February 23, Presidential elections.
The party says it is totally disgraceful that the President’s handlers “could conjure such scandalous whitewashing project to gloat on Nigerians at a time they (Nigerians) are extremely hurting over the prevalent economic hardship, hunger, disappointments, failures and humongous corruption, that have become the hallmark of the Buhari administration”.
“The PDP holds that by allowing themselves to be used for such image laundering for President Buhari in the face of his failures to find solution for the killings and kidnappings in Zamfara, Borno, Yobe, Taraba, Adamawa, Kaduna, Katsina and other states of the federation, the APC governors have again exhibited their party’s unpardonable insensitivity and disdain for Nigerians.
“It is disturbing that at a time genuine leaders are exerting themselves for solutions to the myriads of crisis plaguing our nation, those elected on the platform of the APC are busy playing to gallery and acting scripts while our nation continue to slide; the very reason Nigerians voted for Atiku Abubakar on February 23, as their preferred presidential candidate.
“The Buhari Presidency and the APC have chosen to engage in endless unprofitable celebrations in the safety of Aso Villa while Nigerians are left at the mercies of bandits, kidnappers, marauders and insurgents in their homes and workplaces.
“The PDP counsels President Buhari to end the circus at the Presidency and face the stark reality of the dejection, despondency and misery Nigerians have been subjected to due to his incompetence as well as insensitivity to the plight of the citizens,” the POD statement by its spokesman, Kola Ologbondiyan, added.