By Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has charged the Federal Character Commission (FCC) to live up to its mandate by ensuring fairness, justice and equity in appointments and distribution of infrastructural facilities across the country.
The governor gave the charge while declaring open a workshop on sensitisation on socio-economic and infrastructural facilities and strategic partnership with critical stakeholders on change agenda in the South-south geo-political zone, held in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Dr. Ipalibo Banigo, decried the non-representation of the state in the Federal Character Commission (FCC) and emphasised that cries of marginalisation by various groups in the country should be addressed to ensure justice.
While noting that the state had been short-changed in the distribution of federal projects, Wike particularly decried the deplorable condition of the East West road, especially the section leading to the Onne industrial hub.
The governor enjoined the commission to address the imbalance in federal appointments and distribution of projects across the country.
Also speaking, the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Boss Mustapha, who was represented by a Director in the office of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Mr. Yinka Aguda, said the federal government was embarking on the provision of critical infrastructure in all geo-political zones in the country.
Mustapha said the government was vigorously pursuing the setting up of modular refineries in the Niger Delta region to create employment and tackle the issue of scarcity of petroleum product, while the amnesty programme for repentant militants was being sustained as well as the general development of the Niger Delta area.
He assured the people that the federal government would continue to support the FCC to realise its core mandate.
In his opening speech, the Acting Chairman of FCC, Dr. Shettima Bukar Abbaz, said the commission was designing programmes that would enable it overcome identified challenges especially data collection, to enhance even distribution of projects and programmes throughout the country.
He also said the commission was working out measures to remedy identified areas where some states have been short changed in federal appointments and the provision of projects.
Bukar Abba urged state governments to ensure even distribution of projects in their respective states.
In his vote of thanks, the Chief Executive Officer of Fortera Nigeria Limited, Mr. Charles Ovie-Obi, the consulting partners to the FCC, commended Wike for providing support and the enabling environment for the successful hosting of the workshop.
Ovie-Obi also thanked the chairman of FCC for finding the organisation, a worthy partner.
The event had in attendance representatives of state governors in the Niger Delta region, Heads of federal parastatals and traditional rulers including the first military administrator of Rivers State, King Alfred Diette-Spiff.