• Wike emerges Independent Man of the Year
By Davidson Iriekpen
A university don, Prof. G. G. Darah, has called for the restructuring of Nigeria on the basis of fairness, equity and justice.
Darah, a professor at the Delta State University, Abraka, stated this in Lagos at the weekend during the investiture of the Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, as the Independent Newspapers Limited ‘Man of the Year 2016.’
The event which was witnessed by politicians, corporate players and captains of industries, the Managing Director of Independent Newspapers, Mr. Ted Iwere, in his welcome address, said Wike was considered worthy of the prestigious award based on his sterling performance since assumption of office as governor on May 29, 2015.
He said the governor is a grassroots politician that is loved by his people and has passion for the development of his state.
Meanwhile, in his lecture titled: ‘Who is Afraid of Nigeria’s Restructuring?, Prof. Darah said it was unfortunate that the Niger Delta region that is producing oil which is Nigeria’s main resources is in a deplorable state.
He said those who amalgamated Nigeria did a lot of injustice which should be addressed.
“If three people own a thing and one of them forcibly takes it, it is because the other two allowed him.”
“Those who did the amalgamation of Nigeria are bandits and vandals,” he said.
With the current decline in economic growth of the nation despite its natural resources, Darah said Nigeria was an empire and not a nation.
Darah said it was high time Nigerian leaders took a bold step to implement democratic principles that would move the country forward.
He said Nigeria must return to her old structures since 1960 when the states were encouraged to function at their maximum capacity in relation to the resources available in the various places.
He acknowledged Lagos and Rivers States as two most viable states in the country, saying that other states were merely surviving on handouts.
“That is not a country, that is an empire like Saudi Arabia, Yemen and the rest. Those are the non-democratic countries of the world. Nigeria is a democratic country. Some Nigeria leaders want to lead us to the direction of the eastern world. Let Nigeria return to democracy. The war ended in the 70s,” he said.
He stressed that one of the major challenges of the country is its sole dependence on crude oil and its inability to explore other solid materials.
“There are 42 solid minerals in Nigeria. In Taraba and Plateau States alone, we have 25 solid minerals which is more than the whole of Asia. Bitumen in Ondo is second to that of Venezuala but Nigeria prefers to buy bitumen to build road. Wickedness is not a religion. If President Buhari is not implementing 2014 reports of constitutional conference, no problem, Nigerians will implement it one day.”
Darah also stated that for Nigeria to become a crime-free nation, each state must have its own police force. “For a new rebirth, every state will have its police force. The current 400,000 police cannot protect Lagos alone. We need not less than five million police in Nigeria. With this, you can track down any form of crime including Boko Haram insurgency. I am trying to warm you up for a better and brighter and more efficient country. By the time we achieve all these, Nigeria will be self sufficient and the western world market will eventually close down. Please join in the movement for democracy, for justice and liberation of Niger Delta. Join the movement for the restructuring of the Nigerian nation.”
Also honoured at the event were three leading Nigerian financial institutions – Fidelity Bank Plc., United Bank for Africa (UBA) and Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB).
The three banks were honoured alongside Governor Wike for their sterling performances in the 2016 trading year.
UBA received the Innovative Bank of the Year 2016, Fidelity bagged the SME Support Bank of the Year 2016 while GTB is Information Technology-Driven Bank of the Year 2016.
Receiving the award on behalf of the governor, the state Deputy Governor, Ipalibo Harry Banigo, said the award would spur the governor to do more in service to the people of the state and Nigeria.