By Ikechukwu Okaforadi
Governors of the All Progressives Congress (APC), under the umbrella of Progressive Governors Forum (PGF), have said that Nigeria can only be restructured through a democratic process negotiated by lawmakers to meet the popular needs of Nigerians.
Speaking on the heels of the recent passage of the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), which was signed into an Act of the parliament by President Muhammadu Buhari on Monday, the APC Governors expressed confidence that the ongoing Constitutional Amendment process in the National Assembly, will like the PIB, produce more restructuring of Nigeria.
“We remain committed to a democratic process of negotiating the reform of our Republic to make it more responsive to the needs of Nigerians.
“Similarly, we are indeed more confident that the ongoing process of Constitutional Amendment in the National Assembly, will produce more reforms of the structures of the Nigerian economy”, a statement issued yesterday by the chairman of PGF, Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, who is also the Governor of Kebbi State, said.
The APC Governors, while congratulating President Muhammadu Buhari for signing the Petroleum Industry Bill into an Act of the parliament, said it marks the beginning of the next level governance promised by the party in the 2019 general election campaign.
The statement said “The PGF congratulates Mr. President for achieving this important milestone. We pledge our commitment to support the process of transition to the new era of oil and gas operational and management as provided by the new Petroleum Industry Act 2021.
“On Monday, August 16, 2021, Mr. President, His Excellency, Muhammadu Buhari, GCFR assented to the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and by doing so restructured the operations and management of the Nigerian oil and gas industry. With the coming into law of the new Petroleum Industry Act, once more our party under the leadership of President Buhari has demonstrated unwavering commitment to change Nigeria democratically.
“After more than two decades of endless national debates and stalemate, there is today a new Petroleum Industry Act in the country, which has provided six months transition for the emergence of new institutional framework for the operations of oil and gas industry in the country.
“The Progressive Governors Forum (PGF) commends Mr. President for this historic feat of moving the nation forward to a new democratic era of governance and business management of the oil and gas industry.”
The PGF said it is joining all Nigerians to celebrate this important achievement in the operations and management of Nigerian oil and gas sector.
“We also want to use this opportunity to congratulate members of the two Chambers of the National Assembly for the successful passage of the PIB. Without the cooperation of members of the National Assembly, in particular the leadership, with all the discordant voices around the debate leading to the passage of the PIB, the new law would have been aborted, as was the case in the past.
“The new Petroleum Industry Act presents a convincing credential of the commitment of our party, All Progressives Congress (APC), to restructure Nigerian economy through democratic process in line with provisions of the 1999 Nigerian Constitution as amended.
“Inspired by our leader, President Muhammadu Buhari, we are confident that democratic engagements based on strategic considerations of legislative proposals in the National Assembly to make or review existing laws, the Nigerian economy will be fully restructured”, the statement said.
It said even critics of the party and the governments cannot ignore the fact that the coming into law of the Petroleum Industry Act is an important democratic milestone, which signposts the commitment of APC and the Buhari’s government to develop the oil and gas sector and resolve all the challenges associated with the operations of the sector.
“With the new Act, there should be remarkable improvement in revenue collection from the oil and gas sector. This is expectedly the Next Level governance initiatives our party has promised Nigerians during the 2019 campaigns.
“Accordingly, the PGF would continue to collaborate with the National Assembly and the Federal Government to mobilise public understanding to accelerate the process of change in the country”, PGF said.