Governors and stakeholders of the South-South geopolitical zone have again demanded the restructuring of the nation, in line with the prin­ciple of true federalism, to guaran­tee peace, security and stability of Nigeria.

The governors observed that the country was not at peace with itself and not working as it should, par­ticularly for the people of the South-South region.

 Chairman of the South- South Governors’ Forum and governor of Delta State, Sena­tor Ifeanyi Okowa, stated this as the position of the zone during the regional stakehold­ers’ meeting with a presiden­tial delegation led by the Chief of Staff to the President, Am­bassador Ibrahim Gambari, at the Government House, Port Harcourt, on Tuesday.

Governor Okowa ex­plained that the people of the South-South were committed to the restructuring of Nige­ria in a way that would guar­antee true federalism and devolution of powers to the states so that they can set up and manage their own police and security architecture.

He said: “For us in the South-South, the #ENDSARS protest is a metaphor of al­most all that is wrong with us, our refusal to properly un­derstand issues, and imbibe and entrench the virtues of justice, fairness and equity.

“The previous system of true federalism was jettisoned and it created a powerful cen­tre controlling and distribut­ing all the resources unevenly.

“There was now a strong desire to restructure the country in order to guarantee peace, security, stability and progress of the nation.

He added: “The region de­mands true federalism and devolution of powers to the states, including creating and managing their own police and security architecture, true fiscal federalism guided by the principle of derivation, revenue sharing and control of resources by each state,” he said.

He decried the deliberate lack of understanding, em­pathy and uncompromising attitudes of some Nigerians, who refused to understand the peculiar challenges of the South-South region, especial­ly the degradation of the en­vironment and the pollution of our waters.

“All we demand and ask for is fairness and equity and as we await actions to restruc­ture the country, we hereby renew our demands for: The relocation of the headquarters of major oil companies in Ni­geria to the region; relocation of several NNPC subsidiaries from Lagos and Abuja to the region.

“The region further re­quested the completion with­out delay of the East-West Road and all federal roads in the region; construction of the Lagos-Calabar railway, recon­struction and rehabilitation of the region’s major seaports notably the Port Harcourt, Cal­abar and Warri,” he said.

He stated that the kind of federation the South-South geopolitical zone desired was one in which federating units are constitutionally empow­ered to create their own struc­tures like local government areas, manage their elections, and control their judiciary.

“We are all aware of the huge endowment of this coun­try. As such, it is imperative to stress that with a little bit of ef­forts, imagination, hard work, sacrifice, and leadership, every state of the federation as of to­day, has the ability and capabil­ity to contribute to the national purse.

“This should be encouraged rather than the whole country depending substantially on a region of the country.

“What is worse and even more painful in this ugly sit­uation is the deliberate lack of understanding, empathy, and the uncompromising atti­tudes of some Nigerians, who have refused to understand the challenges of the South- South region of the country, especially the degradation of the environment and our waters.

“As a result, most of the demands of the region have remained unattended to while the resources of the region have been used continually to develop other parts of the country,” he said.

Governor Okowa request­ed for the immediate imple­mentation of the consent judg­ment entered in the Supreme Court in suit no: SC/964/2016 to enable the South-South re­gion get its share of the $55 billion shortfall of collection on deep offshore and inland basin production sharing contracts.

In addition, they demand­ed that the two refineries in Port Harcourt and one in Warri that have continued to bleed the country’s resources, in the name of turn around maintenance, be privatised.

“Enough is enough. Let us now privatise them and in doing so, however, allow the states and the region, among others, considerable equity in the name of fairness and jus­tice,” Governors Okowa said.

Concerned about the rot in the NDDC, the governors ob­served that one of the major failures of the intervention agency was its refusal to forge and foster synergy, consulta­tion, and cooperation with the state governments, especially on project location, develop­ment, and execution.

“We have resolved and we, as the state governments, will no longer allow NDDC to execute any project(s) in any state of the region without it consulting state governments.

“Frankly, enough is enough and we have a court judgment to back our posi­tion,” he added.

(Visited 28 times, 1 visits today)

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here