Progressives Governors’ Forum (PGF) gathered in the Presidential villa, Abuja today, August 30, to celebrate the report of the Bureau of Statistics that the Nigerian economy attained 3.5 per cent growth in the second quarter.
The Governors, led by their Chairman who doubles as Governor of Kebbi State, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, thanked the President, Muhammadu Buhari for his leadership, guided by wisdom and foresight.
“We want to congratulate you on the positive trajectory of the economy, with the 3.5 per cent growth in the second quarter, up from 3.1 per cent of the first quarter of this year.
“Infrastructure projects are ongoing in parts of the country, and the social intervention programme is expanding.”
The governor said that the growth trajectory had defied initial predictions of some multilateral institutions, saying that the World Bank and others have acknowledged the resilience of the economy, and reviewed their positions.
“Your Excellency, as we speak, there is drought in Europe and China. The Ukraine-Russia war is taking a toll on economies. In the UK, there is rationing of electricity, and energy shortages in China.
“While other countries are banning food export, we are preparing for more production, in spite of floods in places like Jigawa State. We note your instruction for the release of 40,000 tonnes of grains.
“We also note efforts on improving security and measures to cut oil theft.”
The PGF Chairman said that some APC governors are contesting elections for second term in 2023 with impressive records in their first term.
“We note the pronouncement of ASUU. We recall the appeal of the President to ASUU while we were visiting Daura that they should consider the future of students.
“We will not dwell on that now. We are ready to accept any negotiations for resolution.”
Governor Bagudu commended Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Boss Mustapha and Chief of Staff to the President, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari, for their steadfastness and stewardship.
Responding, President Buhari assured Nigerians that the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC), will continue to bequeath strong political institutions that reflect their choices, through non-interference in elections.
The President said that non-interference in elections gives credence to the political process, ensures participation and inclusiveness, and shows that the governing party respects the electorate.
President Buhari said that APC, under his leadership, will continue to respect Nigerians by ensuring that their votes count and the people’s voice matter in choosing political leaders at different levels.
“I want Nigerians to know that we respect them, and for us to show that we will allow them to vote who they want.
“We all witnessed what happened in Anambra, Ekiti and Osun States. What happened in those states gives me a lot of hope that we are succeeding.”
For the 2023 elections, President Buhari said the government will also ensure that Nigerians don’t get intimidated or humiliated by those in positions, or the more privileged.
“We will not allow anyone to use personal resources or their influence to intimidate other Nigerians. We will not allow intimidations materially, morally or physically. This is the kind of leadership that can emerge and consolidate our nation.
“In six months, Nigerians will appreciate the government of APC that we are sincere and we respect them.”
President Buhari advised party’s political leaders to intensity efforts in “thinking, meeting and strategizing for the 2023 elections.”