Governors and leaders of the South-South, Tuesday, made a 7-point demand from the Federal Government to meet the aspirations of the region.
The leaders made the demands during a meeting with the Presidential delegation led by President Muhammadu Buhari’s Chief of Staff, Prof. Ibrahim Gambari at Government House, Port Harcourt where the Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, was conspicuously absent.
Governors and people of the South-South geopolitical zone demanded for restructuring 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.
“True federalism guided by the principle of derivation, revenue sharing and control of resources by each State of the federation as it was the case in the first republic.
“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 while the resources of the region have been used continually to develop other parts of the country,” Okowa said.
Other demands of the South-South leaders include; immediate relocation of headquarters of oil multinational to their operational bases in the South South region, immediate relocation of government-owned oil subsidiaries from Lagos and Abuja to the South South region, completion of East-West road under construction and the privatisation of the two refineries in Port Harcourt and the one in Warri for effectiveness.
They also called for release of all funds due NDDC and that henceforth; all NDDC projects must be done in consultation with State Governors, reactivation of sea ports in Calabar, Port Harcourt and Warri. Then, the Lagos to Calabar railing, and true federalism, resource control, fair revenue sharing and State Police, the best ingredients to achieving a better Nigeria.
However in his remark, the Chief of Staff to the President, Ambassador Ibrahim Gambari, said the stakeholders meeting was at the instance of President Muhammadu Buhari, to the presidential delegation consisting of all the ministers from the region to visit and consult with representatives of the people regarding the recent End SARS protest.
Gambari, noted that reports indicated that there were instances, where breakdown of law and order was reported across various locations in the South-South states. He lauded the governors of the South-South States for their quick response and actions in addressing the End SARS crisis.
The Chief of Staff said he will convey the demands of the region to the President
Present at the meeting were: Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike of Rivers State; Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River; Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom; Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State; and Godwin Obaseki of Edo State.
Others were Inspector General of Police, Muhammed Adamu, DG Department of State Services, Yusuf Bichi, Godswill Akpabio, Minister of Niger Delta; Timipre Sylva, Minister of State for Petroleum; Goddy Jedy Agba ,Minister of State, Power; Festus Keyamo, Minister of State, for Niger Delta; Osagie Ehanire, Minister of Health, the Minister of Information, Lai Mohammad.
The Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi was, however, absent.