Says FG engages routinely with Nigerians via Town Hall meetings
Soni Daniel – Abuja
Minister of Information, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, on Tuesday lashed out at the nation’s main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, accusing it of playing politics with the issue of security in the country.
Lai Mohammed, who addressed a press conference at the National Press Centre in Abuja, said the PDP went off track during a media briefing on Monday, to make a wild claim that the present administration was not paying serious attention to the rising wave of insecurity and was running a government of exclusion by not engaging enough with Nigerians.
The minister said that what the opposition party did in the name of offering suggestions on how to stem rising insecurity in the country was nothing more than engaging in gimmickry and playing to the gallery in order to score cheap political mileage, given that it had really nothing new to offer to Nigerians.
Lai Mohammed pointed out that contrary to the PDP’s allegation, the APC government had been routinely engaging with relevant stakeholders through the institutionalisation of its now famous “Town Hall Meeting Project” with Nigerians, a project the Buhari administration initiated in 2016.
The minister said, “As you are definitely aware, the PDP addressed a press conference Sunday, ostensibly to offer suggestions to the Federal Government on some topical issues, especially national security. The main opposition party said it was dropping the toga of politics in the national interest.
“Unfortunately, the PDP did not respect its own words, as it played cheap politics while playing the ostrich. The party went ahead to make wild accusations against the President and his government. For example, the PDP said the government has refused to engage, and that we were running a ‘government of exclusion’.
“The opposition party then went ahead to reel out a number of suggestions as a way out of the current challenges facing the nation. Unfortunately, the recommendations by the PDP have exposed the opposition party’s gimmickry, and the fact that it was merely playing politics with serious national issues, especially security.
“Had it not been so, and had it done its home work properly, the PDP would have known that most of those same recommendations were already contained in the outcome of the Federal Government’s Town Hall Meeting on National Security, which was held in Kaduna on April 8th 2021.
“The PDP accused this Federal Government of not engaging and of running a government of exclusion, forgetting, conveniently, that this Federal Government has consistently engaged Nigerians on topical national issues, including security, the fight against corruption, terrorism, infrastructure and farmer-herder conflict.
“The Town Hall Meeting series, which we launched in 2016, has so far been held 18 times across Nigeria. It’s always a no-holds-barred opportunity for the government to engage with critical stakeholders, briefing them on government policies and programmes and getting their feedbacks, thus ensuring inclusion and deepening of democracy.
“The latest of such Town Hall Meetings was the one in Kaduna which I referred to earlier. I will go ahead and read the 10-point recommendations from that Town Hall Meeting, and you can then judge for yourself who is ahead of the other,” Mohammed said.