Governors and people of the South-South geopolitical zone have 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.
The 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 presidential delegation led by the Chief of Staff to the President, Ambassador Ibrahim Gambari at the Government House, Port Harcourt on Tuesday.
Okowa explained that the people of the South-South were committed to restructuring of Nigeria in a way that guarantees true federalism and devolution of powers to the states to create and manage their own police and security architecture under a federal structure.
“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.”
He said the kind of federation the South-South geopolitical desires, is one where 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”.
The governors reiterated the call for the relocation of the headquarters of major oil companies, NNPC subsidiaries from Lagos and Abuja to the South-South region.
Okowa requested immediate implementation of the consent judgment entered in the Supreme Court Suit No: SC/964/2016 to enable the South-South region get its share of $55billion shortfall of collection on deep offshore and inland basin production sharing contracts.
The governors further called for the reconstruction and rehabilitation of the region’s major seaports in Port Harcourt, Calabar and Warri in order to enhance the economic development of the South-South region.
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, should be privatised. According to Okowa, “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”.