From Blessing Ibunge, Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has urged President Muhammadu Buhari, as a matter of importance act on the call for fiscal federalism and restructuring, to put out the rising tension in the country.
The governor stated this on Thursday, when he featured as a guest on Channels Television programme, Sunrise Daily.
Governor Wike, said stakeholders in the South-South and other geopolitical zones that met with the delegation led by Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari on Tuesday in Port Harcourt, expressed their grievances on the state of the nation, which he said must be genuinely addressed.
He noted that stakeholders in the South-South ventilated their expectations, adding that what was now required is political leadership and will by the President to implement the demands.
“President Buhari, has an opportunity today, that Nigerians are saying these are the things we want; these are the things we think can move Nigeria forward. And you have to show leadership by saying, I have listened to you and these are things we can implement. You may not necessarily implement everything that the people are talking about or people may want. But let people say that under President Buhari, he has been able to implement one, two, three and four demands by the people.
“But, if he does not take this opportunity now, and does not implement some of these request, I don’t think it will be very good for Nigeria and for his legacy. I don’t think that will mean well.”
The governor, stressed that despite reservation in some quarters about the readiness of the federal government to address issues raised, President Buhari should avail himself the rare opportunity to address nagging issues militating against the stability of the country.
“If the president does not do this, given the opportunity he has now, then, he will put Nigeria on fire.”
Governor Wike, acknowledged that some of the salient demands of the South-South zone include constitutional amendment. He implored the President that whenever the National Assembly carry out constitutional amendment as it concerns restructuring, true federalism and resource control, he should not refuse to assent to it.
But, again, if constitutional amendment is being made and the President votes or says no, he will not sign it like it has happened under the Electoral Act, then it will become a problem for Nigerians.”
He dismissed insinuation by the Deputy Senate President, Obarisi Ovie Omo-Agege, that National Assembly members and ministers from the zone were not consulted before Tuesday’s meeting with the presidential delegation.
“We are playing politics with issues that concerns Nigerians; issues that concern the region. I don’t need to be told, assuming I am a legislator, and something like this happens, I will rush back to the State to meet the governor; to meet the stakeholders and say what do we do. You don’t need to wait for the governor to call you. It is your own responsibility as representative of the people. You heard that your state has been burnt down for example, you don’t expect somebody who is bereaved to begin to call, to say I am bereaved.”
He described as regrettable the absence of the Minister of Transportation, who arrived the Government House, Port Harcourt, with the Chief of Staff for the crucial stakeholders meeting on Tuesday, but failed to participate in the event for inexplicable reasons.
Governor Wike, said President Buhari has done the needful by appointing people to manage the affairs of NDDC for the interest of the region, but regretted that those appointed are politicians who have refused to work with PDP governors in the region.
He accused the NDDC of pervasive corruption to the extent of claiming projects done by Rivers State government, as its own.