By Hamilton Nwosa (Head, The New Diplomat’s Business and data tracking desk)
Senate President, Dr Ahmad Lawan, on Sunday, held closed door meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari over the crisis besting the ruling All Progressives Party(APC) as well as the depreciating security situation in Nigeria.
Dr Lawan who spoke with State House reporters after the meeting with the president at the State House in Abuja explained that he was at the Villa to brief the president on the need to provide more appropriate funding for security agencies for equipment , repositioning , adequate recruitment and staffing.
He said: “We believe we need to provide more resources for recruitment by the security yet agencies – army, the navy, air force, police, immigration, the paramilitary – generally. We need to have more manpower or personnel and this is not something you get on platter of gold.”
Speaking specifically on the APC crisis including the tension within the party over protracted tussle among contending forces for control of the soul of the party ahead 2023, the Senate president maintained that he explained to president Buhari the need to ensure that efforts are put in place to address the issues affecting the party and consequently resolve the crisis.
The Senate President said: “I also had the opportunity to talk to my president and my leader about the challenges in the APC. I believe that we have to deal with these challenges, this is the ruling party of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, with the president, with the control of the National Assembly, with more governors than any other political party. The situation should not, must not be allowed to degenerate further than it has.”
The Senate President was quoted by Premium Times thus: “You know the country is facing very deep and serious security challenges and I have come to discuss with Mr President what we discussed previously that we should do whatever it takes to improve the security situation in the country. And we believe that the senate and indeed the National Assembly is positively disposed to receiving even supplementary budget purposely to address the fundamental needs of the security agencies of our country; so that we able to empower them, enable them to fight the Boko Haram in the North East, banditry and other security challenges across the country.
“Secondly, in the senate, we believe we need to provide more resources for recruitment by the security yet agencies -army, the navy, air force, police, immigration, the paramilitary -generally. We need to have more manpower or personnel and this is not something you get on platter of gold. Whoever wants to make an omelette will break an egg.
“Section 14 subsection 2b of the constitution of the Federal Republic Nigeria is very categorical and crystal clear, that the purpose of government shall be to provide for security and welfare of the people. Therefore, we must, we have no luxury of any option other than to address the security challenges more than any other thing.
“We provided for N500 billion intervention for COVID for the revised budget, and various agencies, the CBN, the NNPC and the IOCs provided for palliatives and some kind of interventions for the COVID challenge.
“I think we must tell ourselves the truth, that the security situation in the country especially in the northern part of the country, require that we give much more resources to the security agencies. And those who are heading these agencies especially the service chiefs, must sit up, in fact we must have milestones and timelines on how we are going to deal with this, we can’t just go on without any time frame for dealing with these issues.
“If after we provide some support and someone is found short of expectations, he should be shown the way out if he refuses to go. Because the lives of Nigerians are so precious and therefore must be more important than any other considerations or sentiments. I believe that today, the most essential thing in government is to address the security challenges.”
Recall that President Buhari had recently warned the security chiefs to be more alive to their responsibilities as their performance had fallen short of expectations. The President who made the remarks last Thursday after a meeting with service chiefs and heads of security agencies said their best was not good enough while urging them to redouble up efforts at tackling insurgency and security challenges, warning that excuses won’t be tolerated anymore.
On the internal crisis rocking the APC, there have been contending forces jostling for control of the leadership of the APC ahead of 2023. The protracted feud between Edo state governor and his estranged benefactor, comrade Adams Oshiomhole, has remained unresolved leading to tension with some heading for courts.
With mountain of litigation , the crisis consequently deepened. To help resolve the issues, and restore order, about 15 members of the National Working Committee(NWC) of the Party subsequently appointed Chief Hilliard Eta, APC National vice-chairman South South to act as acting national chairman on behalf of Senator Abiola Ajimobi who was named by the party as acting national chairman following Oshiomhole’s suspension. Chief Ajimobi is said to be indisposed on account of ill-health.”