FOR the first time, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), has accepted responsibility for the current state of economic hardship facing Nigerians, but vowed to fix the problems and restore the nation on the path of solid development.
Chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum and Imo State Governor, Mr Rochas Okorocha, made the position known, while briefing State House correspondents after a meeting between the party’s governors and President Muhammadu Buhari, at the Presidential Villa in Abuja.
The meeting was to discuss wide range of issues affecting the nation and the way out for nation’s development.
Okorocha, however, explained that the issues that brought the nation on its kneels were inherited by the current government of President Muhammadu Buhari.
He said as a ruling party, APC would not agree to shriek its responsibility to the nation, saying there was no surgery that is not painful.
He said: “There is no surgery that is not painful. Nigeria is going through a very serious economic surgery and that is the pains we are experiencing. We share the pains of Nigerians, every human being must feel it.”
The APC governors said they all feel what other Nigerians are going through but “we are asking for a little patience let us do things the right way and do it once and for all”.
Okorocha said: “I am sure that by next year you will begin to see changes, the price of rice will drop, prices of dollars will begin to stabilize and we will see a lot of changes.
“But at this painful moment, nobody likes it. It is like a woman in the labour room, when she is in the labour room there is no joy but she has to pass through that moment, and during that moment, she doesn’t wear her high heel shoes, no makeup, no champagne, no party she is going through a process but shortly after that process joy comes once she sees the child. So Nigerians should bear with us as a government.
“This was not a problem brought by the APC government, it is a problem that has existed long before APC came to government and we are only trying to clear the mess of the past.
“But we must take responsibility and we must never shift the responsibility to anybody, APC you are responsible for everything happening in Nigeria; we are responsible. The good, the bad, the ugly but we are promising Nigerians that we shall fix it,” he said.
Governor Okorocha said they were in the Villa particularly to encourage President Buhari and congratulate him for the release of the 21 Chibok girls.
He said the Governors urged the President to ensure that whatever was the action taken to bring back the girls let the action be repeated so that the rest of the girls could be free.
He noted that this would help because the return of the girls would be a very big achievement in the life history of this government.
He said: “Again we came to report to Mr. President that his agriculture policy is producing result, this time round we have bumper harvest in most parts of the country in rice production and other things.
“So that policy should be sustained. And the funding policy by CBN, the anchor borrowers should be encouraged because it is yielding results, in the next couple of years Nigeria would be self-sufficient in agriculture and would not need to import anymore food product into this country. That is a great achievement.”
The APC governors while backing President Buhari on the fight against corruption, said the President should not waver in spite of criticism of lopsidedness.
Governor Okorocha said: “We also encouraged him on the fight against corruption, that he should continue. We know that in the pursuit of good programmes certain lapses will be noticed and there is nothing wrong in pursuing a good course. We encouraged and thanked him for the efforts he is making to move this country forward.
“We also looked at the issue of Ondo election and said we are happy that we have delivered the first state under his administration which is Edo but in Ondo the governors have decided to show support for that election so that APC will take over the government of Ondo State.
“I agree with you to some extent but I believe before the election all things will be fixed right because Ondo is coming back to APC and we would do all we can. These were some of the things we discussed,” he said.
On Judiciary, he said: “No we didn’t talk about the judiciary. I think this is a Federal Executive Council’s decision and ours is to advice where possible. But the issue was not raised at all.”
On what the President said, Okorocha disclosed that President was quite happy and said he appreciated the support given to him and “looking forward to how we can work together to strengthen the economy and the party.”
On the Issue of the National Chairman resigning, Governor Okorocha said: “We are not talking about anybody resigning, we are talking about rebuilding the party to make it a stronger party, right from the grassroots level to the national level.
“Let me say to you, the chairman of the party and the party itself are having secured friction and could be said to have done well.
“We come from a party that nobody expected will ever win this election. We need to give them kudos and if there are areas of amendment we must do that,” Okorocha said.