Omon-Julius Onabu in Asaba
Delta State Governor, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, and Sokoto State Governor, Mr Aminu Tambuwal, have restated the dialogue option as the best means of resolving the resurgence of violent agitation in the Niger Delta with its crippling effects on the Nigerian economy.
Speaking on Saturday in Asaba on the second and concluding day of the Delta State Economic and Investment Summit in Asaba as part of activities commemorating the Silver Jubilee of the creation of Delta State, both leaders noted that sincere dialogue and understanding would engender speedy development of the country.
They noted that early application of dialogue could have averted the security challenges in the oil-rich region, before it in particular could not have degenerated to the current situation where the country was losing huge revenue owing to bombing of pipelines.
They therefore advised that the agitation in the region should be peaceful with an open mind to dialogue with the Federal Government.
Governors Okowa and Tambuwal agreed that the Niger Delta region has great potentials for meaningful growth if the resources of the region were properly harnessed under atmosphere of peace and cooperation among the stakeholders.
Nevertheless, the Sokoto State governor, who is also the chairman of the governors forum, expressed delight at the visible development strides and plans of the Okowa administration, describing the people of Delta as peace loving and generally hard working.
“I bring you felicitations from the Nigeria Governors Forum on your state’s silver jubilee celebration”, Tambuwal said. “Delta State is known for peace, and a lot can be achieved when dialogue is applied. I want to call on the youths of the Niger Delta Region to embrace dialogue and peace in their agitation;, let us have dialogue on the various issues affecting the region.
“We need peace and tranquillity in the country so that we can harness all our resources for development. Therefore, I urge the youths of the Niger Delta to engage the Federal Government through dialogue so that solutions can be found.”
Speaking earlier, Dr Okowa observed, “We seek peaceful environment from our people so that a lot of development can take place. We need to cooperate with ourselves so that we can right the wrongs of the past.
“A lot of the investment community are ready to partner with us to develop the state, but, we need to ensure that we sustain the peace and security in our communities so that investors can come in; it is not wrong to agitate but we can do that through dialogue, we will get better result when we agitate through dialogue.”
The governor then assured the people of the state that his government would take all necessary measures to implement its resolutions without fail.
“The presentation at the summit gives us hope for the future”, he noted, saying “this summit would not end up as a mere talk show. I have instructed my executive council that all the suggestions and resolutions at this summit should be brought up at a special executive council meeting within the next two weeks so that we can begin to implement them.”
Okowa particularly commended all the participants and various leaders, including former military administrators and civilian governors of the state, for charting the way forward for the state, and sued for the cooperation of all citizens in the provision of enabling environment for investment to thrive.
The two-day Delta State Economic and Investment Summit was declared open by Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo on Friday with the Minister of Finance, Mrs Kemi Adeosun and numerous captains of industry, professionals. traditional and religious leaders as well as top government functionaries in attendance.