Bayelsa State Governor, Seriake Dickson, has called on the Federal Government to set up an all-parties’ committee to formulate a template to streamline issues and views around the notion of restructuring Nigeria.
The governor’s call came few days after the leadership of the All Progressives Congress (APC) resolved to set up an internal committee of the party to work out modalities for restructuring of the country.
Commending APC for supporting restructuring, Dickson said rather than making it an exclusive APC affair, membership of the restructuring committee should be drawn from all the political parties, civil societies and the academia.
He said only an expanded committee would give a sense of belonging to all and sundry.
A statement signed by his Special Adviser on Media Relations, Francis Agbo, in Yenagoa, yesterday, said governor Dickson has promised to mobilise support for restructuring “if the APC goes about it with sincerity of purpose. “
The governor, however, advised those who misconstrue restructuring to mean secession to have a re-think as ‘‘Nigeria’s unity and indivisibility is desirable but should be negotiated for the good of all.’’
He said “for restructuring to comprehensively address the questions of Nigeria’s unity, the APC- led Federal Government must include resource control, devolution of power to the federating units and true federalism in the template of restructuring.
Restructuring along lines of resource control and true federalism, Dickson added, will build confidence and cohesion across the country and place Nigeria on the path of justice and fairness.
‘‘For me, as governor of Bayelsa State, any restructuring that does not include resource control will not make much sense to my people because for us in the Niger Delta, restructuring Nigeria starts with resource control. My understanding of Nigeria is that we all want to remain in one Nigeria but, it must be a Nigeria of our dream founded on justice, equity and fairness; a Nigeria where all the people that make up the country are happy and proud to call their country and not a country where any section or race is perceived to be superior or inferior to the other, a Nigeria where we are our brothers’ keepers. With restructuring, all these are possible because when we sincerely restructure, there will be devolution of power, true federalism and every state will have control over its resources and this will make Nigeria to work smoothly.’’
He stressed that agitations for restructuring are not new in the country, but that the agitation “did not see the light of the day in the past because the leadership were not sincere about it.”
Dickson noted that, “for restructuring to have the buy-in of all sections of the country, the APC-led federal government must show sincerity of purpose and involve all interest groups in the process.”
The statement said Governor Dickson has always believed in the restructuring of the country, adding that it was against this background that the governor teamed up with progressives across the country to establish Alliance for Democracy (AD) in 1998 to address the basis of Nigeria’s unity as well as the teething agitations for resource control, devolution of power/true federalism. The statement noted that Governor Dickson had to defect from the AD when the party turned 360 degree and backed out on resource control, by supporting the onshore/offshore dichotomy suit.
The suit which was instituted by the Federal Government against oil-producing communities was inimical to the corporate interest of the Ijaw nation because it, among other things, sought to take off the rights of host communities to have control over resources in their domains.