Governors elected on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), yesterday called on President Muhammadu Buhari to send an Executive Bill to the National Assembly to amend the Nigerian Constitution to devolve more powers to the states, particularly with respect to security arrangements in the country.
Twelve of the 15 governors of the opposition made the demand after their one-day consultative meeting held in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital.
The meeting, which took place at the IITA, Moniya, dwelt largely on insecurity in the country.
The governors, who expressed serious concerns about the worsening security situation and collapsing economy of the nation, called on the Federal Government to expedite action in addressing the burning agitation for state police and a review of general security architecture of the country.
The meeting, which was chaired by the Governor of Sokoto State, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, was hosted by Engr. Seyi Makinde, the Governor of Oyo State.
Also in attendance were: Gov. Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State; Gov. Douye Diri of Bayelsa State; Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue State; Gov. Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State; Gov. Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State and Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.
Others were Gov. Ahmadu Umaru Fintiri of Adamawa State; Gov. Godwin Obaseki of Edo State; Gov. Bala Mohammed of Bauchi State while Mahdi Mohd, Deputy Governor of Zamfara State, represented his boss.
The governors endorsed the clamour for restructuring, adoption of state police and the ban on open grazing of cattle, stressing that these measures would go a long way in deescalating the current tension in the country.
In a six-point communiqué issued at the end of the meeting, the governors urged President Buhari to convene an emergency meeting of the Nigerian Police Council, to evolve and implement strategies towards combating the present rising insecurity which, they said, have become threats to the corporate existence of the nation.
The communiqué read thus: “The meeting called on Mr. President as the Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria and Commander in Chief of Nigerian Armed Forces to immediately send an Executive Bill to the National Assembly to amend the Nigerian Constitution to devolve more powers to the States, particularly with respect to security arrangements in the country.
“In the interim, Mr. President should summon an immediate meeting of the Nigerian Police Council, which comprises Mr. President and all State Governors and other critical stakeholders to evolve and implement strategies to combat the present threats to our union, especially with respect to policing.
The meeting agreed that the Police Force still remains the appropriate institution to secure our democracy and should not be subjected to personal attacks. The welfare, training, equipment, funding of all security agencies should be given priority.
“The meeting supports the earlier position taken by the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Northern Governors’ Forum and recently by the Southern Governors’ Forum to adopt ranching as the most viable solution to the herders/ farmers’ clashes in Nigeria; the restructuring of the Nigerian federation to devolve more powers and functions to the States; and reform of various civil institutions to achieve efficiency and equity for all sections of Nigeria.
“The meeting enjoins all Nigerians to work together to achieve peace and harmony with one another, devoid of discrimination based on ethnicity, religion and other cleavages.
To this end, the meeting called on the incompetent and rudderless APC government to take bold and deliberate steps to de-escalate and lower tensions in our country, and concentrate on projects and policies that will enhance and promote national unity and cohesion.
“The meeting reiterated our earlier call for the National Assembly to expedite action on the passage of the Electoral Act that will ensure a free-and-fair election, including provisions for electronic accreditation and electronic transmission of votes.”