Wednesday, October 20, 2021

Southern governors ask Buhari to speak up, demand restructuring, others

While the president appears to stand aloof, the nation has been under sustained onslaught from attackers, amongst other challenges.

• May 11, 2021

Governors from southern states of Nigeria have demanded that President Muhammadu Buhari address the nation on the overarching security challenges that has unforgivingly beset the country.

The governors who converged on Asaba, the capital of Delta State on Tuesday, also announced a ban on open grazing and nomadic pastoralism across the South.

While the president appears to stand aloof, the nation has been on the vestiges of anarchy as sustained onslaught from attackers subsists, amid economic woes and calls for secession by groups.

Bandits continue to pillage and ransack communities in the North, kidnapping students and citizens for humongous ransoms.

Down South, unknown gunmen continue to operate freely, attacking security formations, killing security operatives and committing arson in tow.

In a rare occurrence, the governors of the South, in spite of their ethnically heterogeneous and partisan differences, came together to deliberate and presented a common demand as a unified front.

A communique issued at the end of their meeting highlighted other salient demands by the southern governors.

The governors assured the president that the people in the southern region are committed to the unity, justices, fairness, equity, oneness, and peaceful co-existence between and among its people with shared goals for the nation’s economic growth.

They demanded that the federal government support willing states to develop a modern and sustainable system for livestock farming.

The gathering also called for the restructuring of power and a fairer resource allocation to productive states to reflect true federalism.

The governors also give their critical opinion on the agitation of people regarding the inclusiveness of citizens in governance, adding that appointment into federal government agencies should reflect the federal character.

President Buhari has long been cut out as an unabashed, nepotistic leader who could not yield important federal positions to Nigerians other than his Fulani clan.

Southern governors also called the attention of the federal government to the bad state of the Oshodi-Apapa Expressway in Lagos, while they suggest that seaports be established in other states for job creations.

Read the full communique below:

COMMUNIQUE ISSUED AT THE CONCLUSION OF THE MEETING OF THE GOVERNORS OF SOUTHERN NIGERIA IN GOVERNMENT HOUSE, ASABA, DELTA STATE, ON TUESDAY, 11TH MAY, 2021

At its meeting held today, 11 May, 2021, the Southern Governors Forum reviewed the situation in the nation generally and focused on the current security situation, agitations/restructuring, prospect for inter-state collaboration and partnerships as well as on the incidence of the COVID-19 Pandemic. Rising from the meeting, the Forum:

i) affirmed that the peoples of Southern Nigeria remain committed to the unity of Nigeria on the basis of justice, fairness, equity and oneness and peaceful co-existence between and among its peoples with a focus on the attainment of shared goals for economic development and prosperity:

ii) observed that the incursion of armed herders, criminals and bandits into the Southern part of the country has presented a severe security challenge such that citizens are not able to live their normal lives including pursuing various productive activities leading to a threat to food supply and general security. Consequently, the meeting resolved that open grazing of cattle be banned across Southern Nigeria:

iii) noted that development and population growth has put pressure on available land and increased the prospects of conflict between migrating herders and local populations in the South. Given this scenario, it becomes imperative to enforce the ban on open grazing in the South (including cattle movement to the South by foot);

iv) recommended that the Federal Government should support WILLING States to develop alternative and modern livestock management systems;

v) agreed that the progress of the nation requires that urgent and bold steps be taken to restructure the Nigerian Federation leading to the evolution of state police, review of revenue allocation formula in favour of the sub-national governments and creation of other institutions which legitimately advance our commitment to and practice of true federalism;

vi) recommended that in view of widespread agitations among our various peoples for greater inclusiveness in existing governance arrangements, the Federal Government should convoke a national dialogue as a matter of urgency;

vii) recommended that in deference to the sensitivities of our various peoples, there is need to review appointments into Federal Government Agencies (including Security Agencies) to reflect federal character as Nigeria’s overall population is heterogenous;

viii) resolved to foster cooperation among the Southern States and the nation at large;

ix) expressed concern on the continued gridlock on the Oshodi Apapa Expressway and the chokehold it has exerted on the nation’s economy being the sole outlet from Apapa Wharf. The meeting therefore recommended the activation and establishment of ports in other States of the federation to create new jobs and promote socio-economic activities in the country;

x) the meeting expressed concern on the economic implications of another lockdown on the country, and therefore suggested greater coordination and cooperation between Federal and State Governments in evolving strategies for dealing with the pandemic,

xi) expressed very grave concern on the security challenge currently plaguing the nation and strongly urged that Mr. President should address Nigerians on the challenges of insecurity and restore the confidence of our people, and

xii) expressed gratitude to our host, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa for his generosity and hospitality.

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