Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike has proposed a national dialogue to address the many contentions in the polity.
An Independence Day statement signed by his spokesman Kelvi Ebiri on Friday quoted the governor as saying “there isn’t anything worthy of our celebration” in the 61 years of nationhood except the struggle to survive and remain a united entity.
Mr Wike demanded the requisite courage and commitment from leaders and every Nigerian to search and secure solutions to the challenges confronting the country.
He recalled that the path to Nigeria’s independence was charted by patriotic, knowledgeable and compassionate leaders.
The Rivers governor said just as at independence, Nigeria still possessed “hardworking and resourceful people’’ that should be harnessed for the country’s greatness.
According to him, “our youths are some of the smartest people in the world, making great exploits, flying our flag and making us proud across the world in music, dance, acting, culture, arts, sports, and academics.”
In sitting down to rework Nigeria, Mr Wike insists the country must be based on justice and equity.
He also called for the defence of the basic structures of democracy and good governance by Nigerians by rising up to protect the right to free, fair and credible elections.
Mr Wike said this could be achieved by demanding for the immediate incorporation of electronic voting and simultaneous transmission of results into the nation’s electoral system.
According to him, the nation’s electoral management body has repeatedly said it has both the capacity, commitment and infrastructure to effect, if only the National Assembly would allow.
He urged the National Assembly to yield to the overwhelming demand by Nigerians for electronic transmission of election results.
According to him, it is not a matter of politics or sentiments, but a matter of the survival of the country which is superior to all other considerations.
In the past few weeks, Nigeria has witnessed a widening ideological gap between the South and the North.
Since their meeting in Asaba in May, governors from Nigeria’s southern region have been making demands in favour of restructuring the country, devolution of power and power shift.
Much of their resolutions have been met with stiff opposition from northern leaders who feel the agitations jeopardises northern interest.