Governor Dickson, who spoke on Saturday in Yenagoa, during the South-South Mega Rally with the theme: “Restructuring the Nigerian Federation”, noted that, only restructuring will guarantee the development, unity and peaceful coexistence of the country.
The Governor in a press statement signed by his Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Francis Ottah Agbo maintained that, those championing the cause of restructuring are the patriots and true believers in the Nigerian project.
Governor Dickson, who emphasized the need for consensus building to foster better understanding on the issue and convince opponents of restructuring, pointed out that, no amount of military intimidation, blackmail and wanton killings would suppress the agitations for resource control, environmental justice, equity and proper federalism generally.
While commending the All Progressives Congress, APC for setting up the El-Rufai Committee on restructuring, Governor Dickson, however, called for sincerity of purpose by synchronizing areas of divergent views, push President Muhammadu Buhari to sponsor executive bill to the National Assembly for debate and passage by the National Assembly.
In his remarks, the Special Guest of honour and former President of Nigeria, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan urged Nigerians to closely study the recommendations of the 2014 national conference, with a view to finding a common ground in resolving issues agitating the people.
Represented by Senator Nimi Barigha Amange, Jonathan said, the call for restructuring is not misplaced, as it would go a long way in addressing the structural challenges of the country and ensure equal rights to all Nigerians.
Chairman of the occasion, Chief Albert Horsfall, urged the people to be positive and united in the struggle for resource control.
Also, the Co-Chairman of the Central Planning Committee, Prof. Godini Darah, who described the event as a festival of unity and restoration of federalism in Nigeria, said the rally is a follow up to an earlier one organized by the South-West Zone in Ibadan last year.
On his part, the National Leader of PANDEF, Chief Edwin Clark, posited that the constituent parts of the federation would do better in terms of development, if they are empowered to control and manage their resources.
Going down memory lane, leader of the Afenifere delegation, Chief Ayo Adebanjo noted that, what is today known as, struggle for resource control was started by Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who made a strong case for the minorities in the 1954 London Constitutional Conference.
Presenting the position of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Chief John Nwodo, said the mass movement for restructuring is aimed at restoring the stolen sovereignty of the people from oppressive and undemocratic forces for the common good of the country.
Dr. Bala Takaya of the Middle belt, also called on youths and the womenfolk to join in the task of taking back the country from the precipice. While stressing that the Middle Belt is in the vanguard for the call for true federalism through restructuring, he said only true federalism will give a sense of belonging to all ethnic nationalities in Nigeria and stop the ongoing ethnic cleansing across the country.
Others at the mega rally are, former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Dr. Olu Falae, and former Governor of Plateau State, Senator Jonah Jang, former Ijaw Youth Council President, Chief Asari Dokubo, Senator Stella Omu and representatives of the governors of Delta and Akwa Ibom States.
They insisted that true federalism of Nigeria holds the ace to the nation’s stability and economic prosperity, stressing that, recent developments in the country have given credence to the fact that, there is no better time to restructure than now.
Highpoint of the rally, was a minute of silence in honour of those killed by herdsmen across the country, as well as the inauguration of a 15-member Executive Council of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF by Elder Clark.
Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (Rtd) is the national chairman, while Chief Francis Doukpola is the Deputy national chairman, with Dr. Alfred mulade as the National Secretary.
Others are; Hon. Kenneth Robinson, Assistant National Secretary, Hon. Agbiji M. Agbiji, (national financial Secretary), Hon. Charles Harry (National Treasurer), Chief Anabs Sara-Igbe( National Publicity Secretary), Mrs. Nella Andem-Rabana (Legal Adviser), while Chief Johnson Ossai Opone is the Auditor.
Other members of the executive include; Engr. Efosa Aguebor (Organising Secretary), Emmanuel Akpnobong (Assistant Organising Secretary) Chief Mrs Betty Igbeyi (National Women Leader) and Hon. Vivien Ere-Imananagha as Deputy National Women Leader, while Famous Daunemigha and Olorogun Vincent Oyibode are to serve as National Youth Leader and Assistant Youth Leader respectively.