From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
The Ikwerre People’s Congress (IPC) worldwide, the apex sociopolitical and socioeconomic platform of the Ikwerre nation raised a red flag over the failure of governors of the South-South states to establish a regional security 18 months after what is now referred to as the Asaba Declaration.
Chairman and Vice Chairman of IPC, Livingstone Wechie and Innocent Okocha, respectively, in a statement issued in Port Harcourt, yesterday, accused the South-South governors of being nonchalant towards priority issues that touch security and welfare of the region.
The IPC charged the South-South governors to wake from slumber and declare a state of emergency in the region’s security, with a view to establishing regional security outfit.
It stated: “The lackadaisical and nonchalant attitude of the South-South Governors towards priority issues that touch on the welfare and security of our people has placed the region and the geopolitical zone on the back seats in the scheme of things based on the current realities.
“Whilst IPC, a major stakeholder organisation in the region makes a clarion call on all stakeholder indigenous ethnic nationalities of the Niger Delta to join and wake up the sleeping governors, we raise a red flag to the South-South governors to declare a state of emergency in the region’s security with a view to immediately establishing the regional security outfit without any further delays to avert any possible attacks such as is experienced in parts of the country.
“It would be recalled that governors of the six states of the South-south geo-political zone had sometime in March, 2020, in Asaba Delta State, agreed to constitute a common security outfit as an answer to the nagging security challenges in the country and the region in particular.
“Unfortunately, that widely publicised project that raised our hope had been left to its fate while our counterpart regions have moved on. It is a misdiagnosis for our South-South governors to depend on the already overstretched federal security structure which has almost lost the capacity to guarantee the protection of life and property of the entire country.
“It is important to remind the governors that whereas the 1999 Constitution as amended, provides that the primary purpose of government is the protection of life and property of the people, it only said “Government”, not particularly federal government.
“By implication, government at all levels owe a duty to establish the needed security infrastructure to protect our people, so as to forestall any unforseen invasion or compromise of the safety and wellbeing of the region by marauding enemy forces.”
The group queried the rational behind the total abandonment of all the resolutions reached at the Asaba Declaration by the governors who have not succeeded in achieving a single item in the communique almost two years after.
“This is reflective of the degeneration of governance in the region as our governors appear to be lost in party politics in pursuit of 2023 agenda at the detriment of their constituents.
“All critical issues affecting the Niger Delta region particularly the security masterplan arising from the Asaba Declaration has been relegated to the background due to the contributory negligence of our governors whom we entrusted with the task.
“The Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC as well as the BRACED Commission, the economic think-thank of the six states comprising Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta which should implement sustainable development in the region have been carpeted on unjustifiable grounds and this is curious.”