Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Bayelsa Elders Forum has called on the governors of the South-South geopolitical zone of the country to give sustained support to Governor Henry Seriake Dickson, in the intensified campaign for restructuring of the Nigerian Federation.
The Chairman of the Bayelsa Elders Forum, Chief Francis Doukpola, said in a statement that it was important for the South South governors to adopt a concerted approach to the campaign for restructuring being championed by the governor because the issues involved were of collective concern to the zone.
He said that it was important for the governors of the region to give the requisite support to Gov Dickson in the call for the actualisation of the general quest of Nigerians for a restructured party so that he would not be seen as a lone voice.
Doukpola urged the governors and other top political leaders from the zone to take advantage of the political period to demand implementation of the express recommendations of the All Progressives Congress Committee on Restructuring led by Governor Nasir El Rufai òf Kaduna State.
The Bayelsa Elders Forum commended the governors for adopting a firm position to support the growing demand for true federalism, power devolution, and a restructured Nigerian federalism built on a foundation of fairness and equity during their last meeting in Port Harcourt, Rivers State on May 31, 2018.
He said that Gov Dickson campaign for the implementation of the recommendations of the APC Committee’s report on restructuring should be encouraged and supported by all as it was designed to strengthen democratic governance, promote equal opportunities and protect the endangered rights of minorities.
Doukpola stressed that the time to speak up and appeal the conscience of the country had come. He added that there should be no place for the fence in the demand for justice, a fairness process of resource allocation, power devolution as recommended by the APC Committee.
Chairman of the Elders Committee commended the el-Rufai Committee for its recommendations on devolution of power, true federalism and state control of mineral resources.
However, he urged the government to accede to the demand of Gov Dickson and his South South counterparts to commence implementation of the report before the next general elections.
He added that only immediate implementation of the recommendations would convince the citizenry that the APC was not on a mission to deceive the deprived people of the Niger Delta.
Doukpola said that the members of the Forum would stand by the Governor and would be available to give him the necessary backing when he delivers a lecture titled “Restructuring and the Search for a Productive Nigeria,” as a Distinguished Guest Lecturer of the institution’s Faculty of Arts on July 12, 2018.
He also called on similar organizations in other states of the South South to adopt the same approach to the crusade for restructuring which he likened to a fight for a better and stronger Nigerian Federation.