Restructuring: “You ought not to be in the position” – Okowa replies Lawan

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The Governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, has tackled Senate President Ahmad Lawan and others opposed to restructuring of the Nigerian federation as canvassed by the 17 Southern governors.

Recall that the governors met on Tuesday in Asaba, the Delta State capital, and afterwards released a 12-point communique that has been dubbed the Asaba Declaration.

Among others, the governors demanded the restructuring of the country, banned open grazing of cattle, urged President Muhammadu Buhari to convoke a national dialogue to address agitations across the region, among others.

Reacting to the call for restructuring, Lawan said on Thursday that elected officials should not be spearheading such agitations.

He advised the governors to restructure their states first before demanding same from the Federal Government.

However, Okowa countered the Senate President during an empowerment programme sponsored by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu on Saturday.

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Okowa said, “Unfortunately, I read in the papers that somebody said we ought not to talk about certain things, being elected people. If the voice of your people has been heard loudly and they have continued to talk, and you’re an elected person but you shy away from giving further voice to their voices, then you ought not to be in the position that you occupy. So, I must thank our people in the House of Reps who have responded to the speech made by their colleagues in the National Assembly.

“As I did say, all the things that we discussed; nothing is against the unity of this country. We reaffirm that as a people, as elected governors, we believe in the unity of our country. But we also went forth to advance the need for certain things to be done in order to give strength to that unity. That cannot be a reason for us to be vilified. Obviously not!”

Okowa added, “We talked about restructuring, which has been on the table for so long. Both the PDP and APC have endorsed restructuring. Our restructuring is all-inclusive and all-encompassing. We may have different views and approaches to restructuring, but when we sit at a table to dialogue, we will be able to agree on what is best for Nigeria.

“The conversations are obviously needed because if we do not talk and we allow the voices of our people to continue to speak, and the leadership shies away, then we are giving room for further crisis. So, I thought that it was time for other leaders across the country to thank the Southern governors for uniting to give a voice to the conversations because it is only when these conversations come at that level and driven in the interest of the majority of the people that we can have a truly united nation in which there is fairness and equity and trust amongst our people and the leadership.”

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