The SOUTH-SOUTH CAUCUS of the PEOPLES DEMOCRATIC PARTY met in Asaba, Delta State,on 12thMay 2013, to review the State of the Nation and the topical issues confronting our maturing democracy and resolved as follows:
1. Caucus commends His Excellency, Dr Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, GCFR, President, Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, for his focused leadership and bold, result-yielding Transformation Agenda, which deserves the unwavering support of all Nigerians and friends of Nigeria alike, as the laudable achievements of the Administration in strengthening our democracy, stabilizing the polity, growing the economy and improving the quality of life of all Citizens continue to unfold.
2. Caucus commends the initiative, industry and commitment of the Administration to the Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB) and urges the National Assembly (NASS) and all stakeholders to support the Bill, which when passed into Law, is certain to launch Nigeria into the next level of sustainable development of our hydrocarbon resources, in a manner that takes into account the needs of the present generation of Nigerians without mortgaging the future.
3. In acknowledgement of, and response to the deafening calls by different segments of the country for review of Nigeria’s over 20-year old Revenue Allocation Formula, Caucus is of the considered view that the present Formula has long ceased to reflect the changing realities and, therefore, calls for its urgent, reasonable and pragmatic review to achieve vertical and horizontal equity amongst the tiers of Government and better enable the Federating Units to drive development across the country as was the case up to the 1963 Republican Constitution.
4. On disproportionate assignment of constitutional responsibilities and fiscal powers, Caucus calls for drastic and further devolution of functions and fiscal powers from the Centre to the Federating Units, towards the direction of the 1963 Republican Constitution, to make States the effective engines of growth and development, and decentralize, localize and ease governance across the country, without undermining the power of Federal Government to maintain our uncompromising unity, provide a conducive environment nationwide for development and manage external affairs.
5. Concerned about the poor state of development at the grassroots all over the country and desirous of more effectively reaching our rural populace and communities with tangible democracy dividends as well as better integrating them into the new prosperous Nation of our collective dream, Caucus calls on the Executive at Federal and State levels to work with both the National and State Assemblies to strengthen the System of Local Government prescribed in the 1999 Constitution (as Amended), but without comprising the proper placement of Local Government Councils in a Federation, as essentially being matters for the Federating Units (States) to handle, including their boundaries, numbers, funding, etc.
6. Since Nigeria’s Federal Constitution provides a solid framework for the sustenance of unity and diversity in an ethnically and religiously plural society, Caucus holds the view that whilst observable lapses in the 1999 Constitution (as Amended) need to be addressed, Constitutional Amendment should not become so routine an exercise as to impair the stability required for our political and socio-economic development.
7. Viewing the internal wrangling within the PDP family as an inevitable consequence of democracy at play in our large, ever growing, truly democratic Party, Caucus, however, urges the leadership of the Party at all levels to rally round Mr President, as National Leader of the PDP, and work assiduously to put our house in order because, as the ruling Party since the sustainable restoration of democracy in 1999, Nigeria’s stability, progress and development depend largely on the continuing stability, cohesion and unity of the PDP which must continue to provide good leadership to Nigeria and afford an increasingly greater majority of our citizens that veritable platform for the expression and realization of their social, political and economic aspirations to build a strong, prosperous and caring Nation for all.
8. While noting that occasional rifts between the Executive and Legislature at the Federal level and in many States of the Federation are other understandable occurrences in the practice of constitutional democracy, particularly the Presidential System that provides for checks and balances through ‘Separation of Powers’ between the three arms of Government (Executive, Legislature and Judiciary), Caucus is concerned that the legitimate exercise of ‘Separation of Powers’ must not become tantamount to, or metamorphose into, ‘Separation of Interests’ with the attendant negative repercussions.
9. Caucus notes the anxious calls in some quarters for a constitutional amendment for the Offices of the President and State Governors to have a tenure of one single term of 6 (six) years as a means of lessening the tension often generated by second-term bids, but finds nothing wrong with the current tenure of a maximum of two terms of 4 (four) years each, subject to performance and the will of the electorate. Until we fully imbibe the virtues of continuity in initiatives, it will be necessary to allow elected public office holders in the Executive to seek the mandate of the electorate for the constitutionally allowable second term, to advance with and/or complete their policies and programmes.
10. Concerned at the condemnable behaviour and antics of some Nigerians and their evil collaborators in assaulting the collective psyche of the Nation, by waging various acts of terrorism, Caucus not only commiserates with the President, the Governments of all affected areas, the victims, their families and majority of peace-loving Nigerians, but salutes the resolute stance of Mr President to confront terror wherever and whenever it occurs in the Nigeria, while appealing to all law-biding citizens to sincerely join hands with Governments to stamp out these and other evils from our society.
11. Caucus further salutes the President’s sagacity in initiating and pursuing the policy of amnesty as an option for dealing with the menace of Boko Haram, in demonstration of the Administration’s untiring efforts and listening ears. We trust that the fundamental views and interests of the victims will necessarily be taken into account and that the Rule of Law must prevail and violence in any part of the country whatsoever not allowed to become an instrument to blackmail, coerce or otherwise dictate for political and/or other ends.
12. Caucus sincerely thanks all Nigerians and friends of Nigeria for their resolute support for the President Goodluck Jonathan Administration, the first headed by a Nigerian from our geo-political zone – despite being the mainstay of the country from our resources – which Administration is still in its first term, and urges Mr President not to be detracted by the antics of a few, but forge ahead with the task of transforming Nigeria and providing good governance, growth and development to all and sundry, knowing that Nigerians who gave him an overwhelming mandate are solidly supporting him and his programmes under our great Party.
Asaba, 12th May, 2013