The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors have called on the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to ensure that the November 11 governorship elections in Bayelsa, Imo, and Kogi states are conducted freely, fairly, and transparently. They also expressed concern about the rising insecurity in Nigeria and called on the federal government to take steps to address the problem.
The governors made the call in a communique issued at the end of their inaugural meeting held in Abuja on Tuesday. The meeting was chaired by the Bauchi State Governor, Bala Mohammed.
In the communique, the governors said that they were “deeply concerned” about the security situation in Nigeria. They noted that the country has been experiencing a “worrying increase” in violent attacks, including kidnappings, banditry, and armed robbery.
The governors urged the federal government to take “urgent steps” to address the security challenges. They also called on the government to ensure that the security agencies are adequately equipped and funded to effectively carry out their duties.
On the issue of the upcoming governorship elections, the PDP governors said that they were “committed to ensuring that the elections are free, fair, and transparent.” They called on INEC to “set a high standard of neutrality” in the conduct of the elections.
The governors also urged the security agencies to provide adequate security for the elections. They said that they were “confident that the elections will be conducted in a peaceful and orderly manner.”
The PDP governors’ meeting was attended by governors from all the states where the party was in power. The meeting was also attended by the party’s national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu.
He communique read, “The meeting notes the deteriorating security situation in the country, especially the wanton destruction of lives and property in Plateau and Zamfara states, among other states.
“The meeting, consequently, advised the Federal Government and security agencies to rise to the situation and bring the situation under control.”
On the upcoming off-season governorship elections, the communiqué said, “The meeting advised the Independent National Electoral Commission, the security agencies, and the Federal Government to be neutral in the conduct of the off-season elections in Bayelsa, Kogi, and Imo states.
“The meeting resolved to work together and unite the forum, whose aim is to provide a platform for peer review of issues, policies, programs, and achievements (legacy projects) of member governors across the PDP states.
“In the interim, the Forum would cooperate with the Federal Government on issues concerning the welfare of Nigerians and good governance while striving to maintain the independence and autonomy of the Forum through offering constructive criticisms where necessary.”
In response to questions from journalists after the meeting, Governor Bala Mohammed said that the issue of the next national chairman of the PDP was an internal matter. He noted that the Governors’ Forum is only one part of the party’s leadership structure and that the forum will not be the only body to decide who the next chairman will be.
Governor Mohammed said that the party will follow its own internal procedures to select the next chairman. He also said that the party is committed to ensuring that the process is fair and transparent.
The governor’s comments come as the PDP is facing a leadership crisis. The party’s current national chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, has been accused of failing to effectively lead the party. There have been calls for Ayu to resign, but he has so far refused to do so.
The PDP is scheduled to hold its national convention in December. It is expected that the convention will be the forum where the party will select its next national chairman.
“The chairmanship issue is one the party will address. We, the PDP governors, discussed the state of the party, but the issue of the substantive chairman is a party affair. I can also tell you that the reconciliation of aggrieved party members is ongoing. There is no cause for alarm,” he stated.
Governor Bala Mohammed said that Governor Fubara sent an apology for his absence from the meeting. He added that there was no need to read any negative meaning into his absence, as 12 out of the 13 PDP governors attended the meeting. This shows that the governors are united as a group.
PDP governors agreed to work together to make the party stronger
A credible source who attended the meeting said that the governors agreed to work amicably with their state chapters to guard against the springing up of factions. They believe that the lack of unity in some states worked against the PDP in the 2023 general elections. They, therefore, emphasized the need to protect the party above individual interests.
The governors also agreed to support the party’s candidates in the three states where governorship elections are due in November.
The source said that the governors discussed the need to support the party’s candidates in the three states where governorship elections are due in November. They believe that by working together, they can help the PDP win these elections and strengthen the party overall.