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Thursday, June 17, 2021

Southern Govs push for restructuring

By Adekola Afolabi

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Governors in the Southern part of the country under the aegis of Southern Governors’ Forum on Tuesday at their meeting in Asaba, Delta State capital called for urgent and bold steps to restructure the Nigerian Federation.
The Forum stated this in a 12-point communique read by Governor Oluwarotimi Akeredolu of Ondo State at the end of its four hours meeting.
The Governors expressed very grave concern on the security challenges plaguing the country and strongly urged President Muhammadu Buhari to address Nigerians on the challenges of insecurity and restore the confidence of the people.
The governors had last week met virtually at the instance of Ondo State Governor, Arakunrin Oluwarotimi Akeredolu.
The forum affirmed that the people of southern Nigeria remained committed to the unity of Nigeria on the basis of justice, fairness, equity and oneness and peaceful coexistence between and among its people with focus on attainment of shared goals for economic development and prosperity.
Governor Akeredolu who disclosed that the forum resolved that open grazing of cattle be banned across Southern Nigeria, explained that the forum observed that the incursion of armed herders, criminals and bandits in the southern part of the country has presented a severe security challenge such that citizens were not able to live their normal lives including pursuing various productive activities leading to a threat to food supply and general security.
He noted that development and population growth have put pressure on available land and increased the prospect of conflict between migrant herders and local population in the south. “Given this scenario, it becomes imperative to enforce a park for open grazing in the south including cattle movement to south by foot.”
He said the Governors recommended that the Federal Government should support willing states to develop alternative and modern livestock management system.
He said the meeting agreed that the progress of the nation requires an urgent and bold step taken to restructure the Nigerian Federation leading to the evolution of state police, review of revenue formula in favour of Sub-Nationals and creation of other institution which legitimately advance and commitment to and practice of true federalism.
“The Forum recommended that the view of the widespread agitation among our various peoples for greater inclusiveness in existing governance arrangement, the Federal Government should convoke a national dialogue as a matter of urgency
They recommended that in deference to the sensitiveness of our various peoples, there is need to review appointment into Federal Government agencies including security agency to reflect federal character as Nigerians overall population is heterogeneous.
They resolved to foster cooperation among southern states
Equally, they expressed concern on the continued gridlock on the Oshodi-Apapa express way and the choke hold it has 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.
The meeting expressed concern on the economic implication of another lockdown of the country and therefore suggested greater coordination and cooperation between federal and state government in involving strategies for dealing with the COVID-19 Pandemic

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