…Urges President Buhari to revisit the 2014 Constitutional Conference reports to restructure the country
The South-East, South-South Professionals of Nigeria (SESSPN) has appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration to restructure the country, appraise the current decentralisation of powers and trim the central supremacy so as to invoke competition and premeditated economic growth in harmony with the necessities of different regions.
The advocacy group also noted the obvious absence of justice and rule of law pervading all features of governance resulting in economic, political and social deterioration in the country. It therefore charges the President to reexamine the reports of 2014 Constitutional Conference.
The newly elected President of SESSPN, Mr. Hannibal Uwaifo sent the appeal on Tuesday during his maiden press conference held virtually on Zoom platform.
Uwaifo, a legal practitioner who expressed the commitment of the advocacy group to the complete emancipation of the people of South-South and South-East for good governance and improvement, disclosed it was important that the country shuns ethnicity, religious intolerance and engage in productive nation-building, while the state governments should be allowed to develop security structures around their communities by using their indigenous people for policing and vigilante groups.
SESSPN President lamented how Nigeria is being referred to as a failed country in the international community due to security challenges, and advised that the appointment of the security chiefs should not be based on religious and ethnic sympathy. He condemns personnel affinity among people at the helms of political affairs as one of the reasons for many woes of the country.
According to Uwaifo, a country that is unable to protect her citizens and territories is nothing less than a failed state, calling that a vital plan must be designed to restructure the nation in a way that empowers the component states to secure themselves.
“How can insecurity be tackled when the appointment of Service Chiefs and other critical security officials are harped on religious beliefs, personnel affinity and closeness to persons in the corridors of power?” Uwaifo demanded.
“The truth is that Nigeria is generally referred to as a failed country in international circles. A country that is unable to protect her citizens and her boarders is nothing less than that. An urgent plan must be put in place to restructure the country in such a way that real power to develop and secure the confidence of the citizenry would reside in the federation units,” he said.
The President of the advocacy group went further in urging the federal government to return power to regional governments which the past military regimes of the country abolished.
“The SESSPN will continue to champion this cause for the overall benefits of the regions it represents and for the overall benefit of Nigerians who are suffering from untold hardship with no solution in sight except for empty promises of a better tomorrow that only exist in their minds,” he vowed.
While speaking on corruption, SESSPN President described the penetration of corruption in the country as not only terrifying but also absurd, adding that, “the system encourages countless numbers of probe funds to be instituted and results are either swept under the carpet or subjected to another probe.”
Uwaifo, however, revealed that the advocacy group had produced a document which can be used to restructure as it symbolises a proposal for the prompt economic and social development of the South-East South-South regions, adding that the file represents the first bold attempt at regional economic integration.
On the matters of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), he said: “For us in SESSPN, we are very sad over recent developments in the Commission. We call on the National Assembly to caution its members, work with the Executive to produce legislation for a transparent process of appointments into NDDC, forbid politicians from handling its affairs and craft out the type of intervention jobs that the Commission can legally undertake.
“The amendment to the NDDC Act must provide a transparent process of selecting contractors, transparent auditing system, an independent verification of projects awarded and an independent payment system,” he said.
He also spoke on the country’s escalating foreign debts, saying that the huge sums of money being borrowed especially from China had not validated the infrastructural decay and mass poverty evident in the country.
“More worrisome is that most of these loans which in most cases are either squandered or partially put on white Elephant projects to deceive the unwary public are packaged and collected without proper scrutiny.
“While SESSPN is not against borrowing to finance well thought out infrastructural projects that benefit the general populace like the Railway Project which to our mind had been largely commendable in execution, the terms and conditions for repayment are largely unknown,” the advocacy group noted.