JOE EFFIONG, UYO
The Co-ordinator of Akwa Ibom Leader Vanguard, Senator Anietie Okon, has stressed the need for Nigeria to zone the next president to South East for sake equity and political inclusiveness in order to achieve the much needed peace and development.
Sen Okon has also called for urgent restructuring of the country so that the zones and states would manage their resources and pay some prederemined percentage to the centre for purpose of defence maintenance and other similar items on the exclusive list.
He said the present arrangement in which the centre exploits the federating units by making them go cap-in-hand to beg for what is rightfully theirs was not only an aberation, but a systematic connivance to stifle the states and suffocate development in the zones.
Speaking exclusively with our correspondemt on in Uyo, Sen Okon explained that lack of regional control of resources by the affected states and communities was responsible not only for the sleaze currently bandied about in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), but also the massive underdevelopment experienced nationwide.
“The current structure is an aberration in which resources from one region are taken to develop other zones and fund their development agencies such as the North East Development Commission.
“We can see the hypocrisy in the whole charade when the president recently granted rights to states in the North to exploit their natural resources without a mention of revenue from resources going to the centre as is the case with oil revenue from the South.
“The NNPC and all other revenue generating agencies have not been transparent enough to publicly declare how much they have generated so that all tiers of government should know ab-initio what to expect at the end of each month.
“If we carry on like this, we will continue to move in circles and remain in a disarray in all aspects of our national development.
“There is no moral justification for the present unitary system cloaked in federal toga which breeds nepotism, corruption, ineptitude and other vices that have kept us where we are,” Sen Okon said.
He also said it would be unthinkable for the North to even consider retaining the presidency after Muhammadu Buhari’s tenure in 2023, stressing that right thinking people in the country have already voiced out that the South should produce the next president.
“When it is zoned to the South, then it would be fair to micro-zone it to the South East geo-political block which rightly deserves that next slot,” he said.
According to him, it does not matter on which political platform such an arrangement would be realised as long as there is an agreement for the presidency to shift to the South East.
“Let us also try the Igbo. They deserve to lead this country. They have made enormous contributions for the socio-political and economic survival of this country. They have very seasoned and cerebral political leasers that can help to rescue this country from the quagmire that has been foisted on us. So everybody should support them.
“The attempt to balkanise the Ohaneze should be ignored because it is orchestrated by paid agents in their midst to disorganise the igbo and deprive them, and the entire country of quality leadership. I believe the Ohaneze knows this and would do everything possible to put its house in order.” Sen Okon said