Begin change with restructuring, South-South leaders tell FG

Victor Attah

Stakeholders at a South - South summit in Port Harcourt , Rivers State , on Saturday , have said that the change Nigerians were expecting from government must begin with restructuring to allow federating units to control their resources.

Participants at the event like a former governor of Akwa Ibom State , Obong Victor Attah, and representatives of states in the South - South region , among others , insisted that restructuring remained the way forward for the nation.

The stakeholders also called for a new constitution that would define the powers of the Federal Government and the states.

Speaking during the occasion organised by Project Nigeria Movement , the first governor of the old Rivers State , King Alfred Diete- Spiff , explained that the country was in need of a constitution that would be written by Nigerians and for Nigerians.

Diette- Spiff , who was the chairman of the event , maintained that the country began to experience problems when the military modified the Constitution in 1979 before handing over power to former President Shehu Shagari.

Calling on President Muhammadu Buhari to heed the call for restructuring, he said , “If there is anything to go by, knowing that the President advocates change; it is restructuring. I am all ears to hear how the people will convince the powers that be on restructuring. Change begins with restructuring. ”

Also , Attah explained that the need to restructure Nigeria had been well established, describing the call for the nation to be restructured as a response to the current anti - federalism being practised in Nigeria.

Attah, who is a co - convener of the summit , said, “ What we demand is a return to a Nigeria that we had before ; a Nigeria that worked for human progress and development."

“ Restructuring is not meant to intimidate anybody; it is meant to reestablish us as a fair , just and productive nation . ”

In his remarks , the Rivers State Governor , Nyesom Wike , described the report of the All Progressives Congress Committee on Restructuring as politically designed to deceive Nigerians .
Represented by the state Head of Service, Mr . Rufus Godwin, the governor explained that the report was political since it was coming close to the 2019 general elections.

He said , “ They are trying to mislead Nigerians that a party that has disappointed Nigerians will turn around to accept restructuring of the nation . ”

Besides, Senator Florence Ita - Giwa , who was one of the delegates from Cross River State , said the country cannot run away from restructuring.

The Oda - Abua of Abua Kingdom , King Kaleh Obuge . told the delegates that converged on Obi Wali Cultural Centre in Port Harcourt, that Nigerians should not pretend that all was well in country.

Other speakers at the event included Prof . Kimse Okoko , who is the convener of the summit , and a frontline activist , Ms Annkio Briggs.

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