Good Leadership, True Federalism will Defuse Agitations, Say Obaseki, Oshiomhole, Sagay


•  Ijaw youths insist on restructuring, resource control 

By Adibe Emenyonu in Benin and Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa   

The Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki; his predecessor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole; Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka and the Chairman, Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), Professor Itse Sagay, yesterday in Benin agreed that the raging agitations for a breakup and the demand for restructuring in the country could be defused with good leadership.

On the same day, Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide, described as ‘hasty’, the reported withdrawal of an ultimatum handed to the federal government by Niger Delta leaders to respond to demands by the people of the region, while at the same time insisting on restructuring and resource control. 

Speaking at the 20th Wole Soyinka Annual Lecture with the theme: “Nigerian State in the Aftermath of the Centenary: Prospect For its Indivisibility” held in Benin City, Obaseki who was the chairman of the occasion, said having the right leadership at all levels of government and the different aspects of life was the panacea to the recurring clamour for self-determination in the country.

Obaseki said: “The question of whether Nigeria has come to stay is a non-issue; the real issue is what sort of country should we create for ourselves?”

He explained that his administration was making concerted efforts to provide good leadership for Edo people and make positive impact in the lives of the youths to enable them take charge of their future.  

Obaseki said that Nigeria’s unity was non-negotiable and maintained that it was possible to make Nigeria great and prosperous again.

He commended the organisers of the lecture, noting that the topic was apt and timely, considering the agitations across the country.

In his presentation, the former governor of Edo State who was the guest lecturer said what should be paramount in the minds of Nigerians should be how to make the Nigerian Project a viable reality.

He explained that what needed to be addressed in the country was the socio-economic structure as well as the problem of bad leadership which has corruption at its core.

“It is not in our interest that after 103 years of existence, we should be thinking of dividing. It is not a viable conversation that having lived this long together we should divide, rather we should think of ways of doing things differently for better results,” Oshiomhole said.

He frowned at the wasteful spending of scarce resources by some government officials, noting that resources should be properly channeled towards improving the standard of living of the masses.

“The structural issue in the country needs to be addressed; the issue is really that of the very rich structure and the very poor structure. In addressing our challenges, we should restructure our attitude, character and value system and manage our resources well so that a very rich nation such as Nigeria will be able to take care of her poor people.’’

Also speaking, the Chairman PACAC, who was a discussant at the lecture, said a return to true federalism would promote good governance in the country.

Sagay urged that states be given autonomy as a situation where state governments have been reduced to mere civil servants, depending on monthly allocation was not ideal. “Why should the centre have all the resources and states be impoverished? This has led to the inability of state governments to carry out their responsibilities.’’

Soyinka, in whose honour the event was held, called on all Nigerians to unite against the common enemy of corruption, stressing that in Nigeria, it is not actually one tribe that is against the other or one religion that threatens the other, rather it is the league of the corrupt that has caused impoverishment of the numerous ordinary people.

Ijaw Youths Insist of Restructuring, Resource Control 

Meanwhile, the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide, yesterday described as ‘hasty’, the reported withdrawal of an ultimatum handed to the federal government by Niger Delta leaders to respond to demands by the people of the region. 

National President of the IYC, Eric Omare said in a statement in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, that the Chief Edwin Clark-led Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) made the decision based on mere promises. 

PANDEF had on Monday given the Federal Government up until November 1, 2017 to meet the 16-point demand made by leaders and elders of the region on November 1, 2016, but withdrew the ultimatum after meeting with Acting President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo on Thursday night. 

But the IYC maintained that aside the promises made by the federal government on ‘routine issues’, there was no commitment from the government at the centre on the matters of restructuring and resource control. 

 “The IYC is of the view that the federal government’s mere promise of dialogue and briefing on progress made with the PANDEF 16-point demand was not enough for PANDEF to withdraw its ultimatum to the federal government to dialogue with the Niger Delta people,” said the IYC.