By Davies Iheamnachor
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has stated that the nation would be on fire if President Muhammadu Buhari fails to use the available opportunity to restructure the nation, urging the president to heed the clamour for fiscal federalism and restructuring to douse brewing tension in the country.
The governor also advised the president to genuinely address the concerns and grievances expressed by stakeholders in the South-South and those of other geopolitical zones during the meeting with federal government delegation led by Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari.
Wike, who spoke Thursday on a television interview tasked the President to use the opportunity to address pressing issues affecting the stability of the country.
Wike said: “President Buhari, has an opportunity today, that Nigerians are saying these are the things we want; these are the things we think can move Nigeria forward. And you have to show leadership by saying, I have listened to you and these are things we can implement.
“You may not necessarily implement everything that the people are talking about or people may want. But let people say that under President Buhari, he has been able to implement one, two, three and four demands by the people.
“But, if he does not take this opportunity now, and does not implement some of these request, I don’t think it will be very good for Nigeria and for his legacy. I don’t think that will mean well.
“If the president does not do, given the opportunity he has now, then, he will put Nigeria on fire.”
The governor, who observed that some of the demands of the South-South zone would require a constitutional amendment, implored the President to give speedy assent whenever the National Assembly carry out constitutional amendment as it concerns restructuring, true federalism and resource control.
Wike dismissed insinuation by the Deputy Senate President, Obarisi Ovie Omo-Agege, that National Assembly members and ministers from the zone were not consulted before the meeting with the presidential delegation.
He said: “But, again, if constitutional amendment is being made and the President vetoes or says no, he will not sign it like it has happened under the Electoral Act, then it will become a problem for Nigerians.
“We are playing politics with issues that concern Nigerians; issues that concern the region. I don’t need to be told, assuming I am a legislator, and something like this happens, I will rush back to the State to meet the governor; to meet the stakeholders and say what do we do.
“You don’t need to wait for the governor to call you. It is your own responsibility as representative of the people. You heard that your state has been burnt down for example, you don’t expect somebody who is bereaved to begin to call, to say I am bereaved.”
The governor further flayed the absence of the Minister of Transportation, Chibuike Amaechi, who had arrived the Government House, Port Harcourt, with the Chief of Staff for the stakeholders meeting, but failed to participate in the event.
He also said the President has done the needful by appointing people to manage the affairs of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, for the interest of the region, but regretted that those appointed were politicians who have refused to work with PDP governors in the region.
“When I told the Chief of Staff, where is my own Minister, he was also shocked, because he knew that the Minister was at the airport with them.
“Rivers State Government went to court and challenged NDDC that you cannot do what you are doing without consultation, without approval of the State Government. And the court agreed with the Rivers State government that you are right. NDDC you cannot do what you are doing. You are distorting the physical development of the state,” he said.