Atiku, Clark, Okoko clamour for restructuring of Nigeria
• Alex Ibru, Ken Saro Wiwa, Wike honoured
Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and national leader of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Chief Edwin Clark, have canvased for the restructuring of Nigeria.
Atiku stated this at a colloquium with the theme: “Niger Delta next decade: away from oil, a way with oil,” organised by the National Point newspapers in Port Harcourt yesterday.
Represented by Azibola Omekwe, the former vice president observed that the Niger Delta which generates crude oil and gas, our most valued asset, has been suffering neglect due to the current political- economic structure of the country.
He said it is terrifying to hear from global energy experts that the oil which Nigeria has solely depended on; made nations to rise against nations, and the DNA of politics and commerce across the globe, will soon become unprofitably as the advance nations are moving away from the use of oil to other alternative sources of energy.
Atiku regretted that while the world is moving away from oil, Nigeria seems to be insisting on it as all eyes are always on the inefficient and dull NNPC. According to him, the situation is pathetic that presidents have had to be minister of petroleum.
The former vice president said that by 2025, the United States will become a major supplier of crude oil to the world. He said this makes it expedient for Nigeria to restructure and return to the true path of federalism.
Clark said if Nigeria must survive as a single political entity, then the political leaders must ensure that the country is restructured so that the federating units can control their natural resources and drive their own development.
He said why elders in the Niger Delta have continued to prevail on militants to maintain the peace was not because they are afraid of military incursion or repression. He warned that in 2019, the region would not support any presidential aspirant who would not restructure the country.
Former president of the Ijaw National Congress, Professor Kimse Okoko, said stakeholders in the Niger Delta will be meeting next month to brainstorm on the kind of restructuring the region want to see before 2019.
A member of the House of Representatives, Okey Chinda, urged Niger Delta states to empower their people to become entrepreneurs thereby creating employment opportunities for others.
The founder of The Guardian, late Dr. Alex Uruemu Ibru, Ken Saro-Wiwa, Jasper Adaka Boro were given posthumous awards for their immense contribution the nation. While Governor Nyesom Wike, was honoured for his defence of democracy.
The Executive Director, National Point, Ibiba Don Pedro said the award Niger Delta Open Democratic Space 2017, was given to Ibru for his uncommon service in promoting the ideals of democracy in Nigeria.
Also honoured were seven others.
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