By Omeiza Ajayi
Governors of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) under the aegis of Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) have set up a Governance Programme Steering Committee to evolve a common governance template for themselves and as well revisit all policy initiatives and recommendations, including those of the Gov. Nasir el-Rufai Committee on True Federalism.
Chairman of the Committee and Governor of Jigawa State, Mohammed Badaru Abubakar, disclosed this Friday in Abuja at a news conference after the inaugural meeting of the committee.
According to him, “the committee is tasked with looking at how we govern our states and advise on improvement in the governance structure of the three tiers of government and ensuring synergy among them too”.
He said apart from revisiting all party initiatives and policy issues, the committee would also undertake some sort of peer review of APC Governors.
“Certainly, there will be peer review mechanism and the issue of agriculture and free education or education generally will be looked at. I believe all of us will agree on the policies to be adopted by APC states”, he said.
Asked about the fate of the el-Rufai committee report, he said; “I believe that is why we have this. All the initiatives that have been discussed, all the policy issues and recommendations that have been brought forward will be looked into and we will strengthen the capacity for implementation”.
He said: “a further proof of our commitment to good governance was our resolution at our November 2016 meeting in Kano that Secretaries to Governments of APC States should meet quarterly to brainstorm, share experiences and evaluate the implementation of commonly shared governance initiatives.
“So far, seven quarterly meetings have held, and a number of important recommendations have emerged from those meetings. All the recommendations from the Quarterly meetings of our Secretaries to Governments have been approved by Forum.
“Therefore, during the era of 2019-2023, we will want the work of the PGF Governance Programme Steering Committee to focus more on strengthening the capacity of our states to have increased commitment to implement approved initiatives. This may require more initiatives around issues of capacity development for functionaries of our state. This will have to be well tailored around the initiatives we subscribe to rather than the generic approach”.
Co-Chairman of the committee and Plateau State Governor, Barr. Simon Lalong, said: “given the challenge of ensuring that we achieve the vision of making our party, the APC, emerge as a distinctly social democratic party, the policy initiatives of all APC governments, particularly at the state levels, will be the defining credentials. In addition, ensuring uniformity of policy initiatives among the APC states is a fundamental requirement”.
Lalong who was represented by his deputy, Prof. Sonni Gwanle Tyoden noted that between 2015 and 2019, the Progressive Governors have made quite some efforts to adopt common initiatives.
“Based on assessment of initiatives from our states and critical assessment of the challenges facing our states, Forum has already agreed to some priorities, which include revenue mobilisation, funding for security, education and health.
“We need to aggressively ensure that we are able to settle all public debates around the distinction between APC, on the one hand, and PDP and other parties, on the other. It is not a theoretical issue but concretely about the initiatives coming from APC governments, especially the states”, he added.