Kebbi State Governor, Senator Abubakar Atiku Bagudu, has urged Nigerians to collectively defend and nurture democracy.
“It is our collective responsibility to ensure that democracy continue to thrive and flourish in Nigeria, just as has been doing so since 1999.
“This is a patriotic task that we must all cherish and accomplish to the latter,” Bagudu said.
He spoke on Sunday in Birnin Kebbi at an interactive session with journalists to mark the 2022 Democracy Day.
Bagudu, who is also the Chairman of the APC Governors’ Forum added that there can never be an alternative to democracy as it had effectively worked for Nigeria.
This, he explained was especially so in the last seven years with the President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC administration in the centre and in 22 states.
According to the Kebbi State Governor, without democracy, peace and unity, no nation could progress, “but only retrogression would be the order of the day.
“We have to thank God, just have a look at seven west African countries that experienced military coups in the last one year.”
He averred that for democracy to thrive, patience, perseverance and love for one another were required.
Bagudu was also delighted with the outcome of the APC special national convention that produced its presidential flag bearer, Senator Bola Tinubu.
Bagudu said that his emergence was a good omen for Nigeria as he would sustain the current trajectory of socio-economic transformation of the country, with Buhari as the indefatigable pilot.
He further solicited for more support of all Nigerians to Buhari to sustain his legacy and successfully hand over power to his incoming successor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Bagudu also reeled out myriad of achievements of his administration in the last seven years.
According to the Governor, these modest achievements were a product of humility, piety, patriotism, accountability, honesty and transparency.
He said the state has achieved rapid progress in industrialisation within the last seven years as one of the major landmark of his administration.
This he said was evident in the establishment of WACOT Rice Mill in Argungu, Tomatoes Processing Plant in Ngaski, Dangote Rice Mill in Saminaka and Lolo Rice Mill ,Kamba while the Ethanol Bio-Fuel Project is on course which the governor said was a joint venture project between the state and NNPC .
‘We have made our humble efforts to touch all areas of the economy and improved the living standard of the people.
“We will sustain this feat and Insha Allahu, my successor would sustain the feat and even surpass my achievements.
“Journalists have crucial roles to keep those in power on track, you should x-ray our achievements and tell us where we have strayed.
“This is to ensure that we always do the right thing and uphold the trust given to us by the electorate,” he said.
On security, Bagudu said that the current security challenges were not peculiar to Nigeria, saying,”the security agencies are defying all the odds and trying their best.
“We need to commend them, although more needs to be done, just as they need more to be more efficient.”
On the recent defection of Senator Muhamadu Adamu Aliero and Senate Leader, Dr Abdullahi Yahaya , as well as others, Bagudu said,”regrettably, I don’t want anybody to leave APC.”
He expressed the belief that Nigerians don’t have the time to fight each other, but should complement one another .
He referred to the conflicts in the party in the state in the last one year as,”transition related conflicts that are normal in periods like this.
“I don’t want to disparage anybody, but I regret anybody leaving APC.
“But, that is not to say I am afraid, or we are afraid.”
On those who cast aspersions on him and rained uncharitable comments on his person, Bagudu urged them to eschew bitterness.
The governor expressed confidence about the strength of APC to remain victorious in the forthcoming election based on the will of God.
He urged people of the state to sustain peace and tranquility pointing out that development was premised on peaceful atmosphere.
Bagudu renewed commitment to the protection of workers welfare , saying that many retirees have been paid their gratuity while others on the list would receive payment before the end of the year.
He also gave assurances that Government would pay leave grant of workers on the availability of funds.