—-Says there must be change in approach to security mgt
By Johnbosco Agbakwuru
ABUJA-GOVERNOR Siriake Dickson of Bayelsa state told President Muhammadu Buhari that Nigeria was in dire need of restructuring and devolution of power, saying without it there will not be stability in the states of the federation.
The governor who met President Buhari behind closed-doors at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, said that there was the need to carry every section of the country along and that the government should as a matter of urgency have a change in the approach to security management especially in the Niger Delta region.
Fielding questions from state House correspondents after the meeting, the Bayelsa State governor said he had a frank discussion with the President with regard to the ongoing debate on restructuring of the country.
According to him, “I am here this afternoon to see the President and to confer with him on critical national issues and also to issues that are pertinent to the stability, security and development of Bayelsa state and the Niger Delta region.
“And we had a very fruitful discussion and I am grateful to the President for the opportunity he afforded me to intimate him on the challenges and also of the prospects.
“You recall that since my re-election this is the first time I would be here, I am not a regular visitor here. So I thank the President for availing me the opportunity to share perspectives on very serious issues on security, stability and development of Bayelsa and the Niger Delta region of Nigeria.
“We talked about the need to revisit the Brass energy, we talked about the need for change in approach to security management in the Niger Delta, we talked about the challenges of stabilizing the Niger Delta and the need for federal support.
“We talked about a whole range of other issues including what we think should be the final response to the ongoing debate about devolution and I believe that we had a very fruitful interaction.”
On what were his concerns on the issue of security and what he would want the President to do, Dickson said, “I had a discussion with the President, he is the President and Commander-in-Chief, he is the leader of the country and these issues are beyond partisan politics and we had a frank discussions.
“He understands the issues because he served in that region during the war when he was a younger officer, he is familiar with the challenges that I have come to discuss with him and I look forward to collaborating and working with the President with the security officials to advance security in the region.
“Governors of the Niger Delta region are doing a lot and as governors we will continue to do our best, working with the security agencies, we should be apolitical in supporting constituted authorities in the States. We expect that this interaction will yield positive results.”
Also commenting on his meeting with the Kaduna state Governor, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, he said, “I was in Kaduna to confer with my brother friend and colleague the governor of Kaduna State. As you know, he chairs the APC panel on restructuring or devolution. And that panel as far as I am concerned did a good job.
“What we need is what it agreed upon to expand the scope of consultation. My view is that all parts of Nigeria needs to be carried along and especially the leadership of Northern Nigeria. It needs to be engaged and contacted and their buy-in and support. It is not only essential, it is indispensable to the success of the new Nigeria we are trying to carve.
“Not only have I visited governor el-Rufai, in the next coming days and weeks, I will be visiting a lot of my colleagues in other parts of the country I will be visiting and interacting with a lot of other opinion leaders and stakeholders.
“We are talking about our country and every part of the country has to be carried along. We need to interact and know what their fears and concerns snd perspectives are so that we can at the end craft a position that will represent the collective aspirations of all parts of our country because this country is in dire need of devolution, this country is in dire need of a return to the essential founding fathers principles of our nation.
“That is when you can have stability in the States, that is when we would have unleashed the huge potentials that exist in every part of the country.”
Commenting on the value of the award given to you by the Leadership Newspapers, he said, “I was conferred with Leadership Award on the account of the modest efforts and investments we are making in the education sector in Bayelsa.
“There is no doubt that that sector has changed in Bayelsa over the past six years. We will continue to make more investments. I thank leadership, I thank all those who are working with me and the team. I am dedicate this award to the good people of Bayelsa state.”