Dickson: Buhari Must Summon Courage to Restructure Nigeria

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By Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa
 

Governor of Bayelsa State, Mr. Seriake Dickson, yesterday lauded the declaration of June 12 as Nigeria’s Democracy Day, but maintained that President Muhammadu Buhari must quickly move to restructure the country in the interest of all Nigerians.

The governor who spoke during a media chat at the Government House, Yenagoa, noted that aside honouring Chief Moshood Abiola, the late politician should be declared  president posthumously.

Dickson argued that though the gesture was belated, it remained a first step to partly addressing the wrongs of the past, whereas fully restructuring the nation would put Nigeria on the path of sustainable development.

He also called on President Buhari to urgently sponsor an executive bill to the National Assembly to legitimise the proposed declaration of Abiola as winner of the election and back it up by an Act of Parliament by working with the legislature.

While also declaring that the honour done to Babagana Kingibe, Abiola’s running mate and the national awards given to the late legal luminary, Chief Gani Fawehinmi were in order, Dickson noted that a restructured Nigeria would address the current dysfunctional system, over-concentration of power at the centre,  and the expropriation of the resources of the Niger Delta.

The Governor urged the President to give due recognition to the then Chairman of the National Electoral Commission (NEC), Professor Humphrey Nwosu  for his uncommon courage and commitment to the conduct of  transparent elections in June, 1993.

“As member of House of Reps, I co-sponsored a bill to immortalise MKO Abiola to address the wrong done to Abiola and our democracy. So I believe by the president’s proclamation, he continued from where we stopped and in my opinion, it was the right thing to do.

“It is better late than never. The timing has made some people raise issues, but l go by my fundamental positions. I believe this will go a long way to redressing some wrongs of the past. “Ours has not entirely been a nation of fairness and justice and this is an effort to address an aspect of it. It is a noble act and I congratulate the awardees and the president, though there are issues of legalities raised, but the substance of it is commendable.

“As I mentioned in the course of my meeting with him (President Buhari), I believe, the president should show the same poise and patriotism on the issue of restructuring and showing presidential leadership and direction as he has done on the issue of June 12,” the Governor said.

He added: “There’s no doubt that Chief MKO Abiola, his running mate and a lot of pro-democracy activists were wrongly treated.”

 I am in support of it even though the timing and circumstances has given it some form of colouration.

 

“He should do same on restructuring which is  far more fundamental to Nigeria , to make it a  nation that can last for a long time which will go down in history that there was a president who had the courage to act.”

 

He reminded the federal government that a balanced federation was in everybody’s interest, but asked the proponents of restructuring to work for the buy-in of the north.

 

 

“Every part of Nigeria can benefit from it. If it’s wanton killings going on in the country, the solution is restructuring. We need to have states that are able to protect themselves.

 

“Not some officers sitting in Abuja who do not know the peculiar circumstances in the states. We are talking about right to control resources subject to taxation by the federal government. I won’t get tired of talking and engaging,” he vowed.

 

 

Dickson also urged the president to immediately withdraw his Water Resources Bill, insisting that the bill should have no place among Nigeria’s legal documents at a time Nigerians were yearning for devolution of powers from the centre.

 

 

“The bill is obnoxious, an attempt to control access to rivers and waters. We are talking about devolving power. The president should withdraw the bill. It has no place in our laws. We should be talking about devolution of power not more concentration,” he concluded.