By Chioma Onuegbu,Uyo
MEMBER representing Etinan/Nsit-Ibom/Nsit-Ubium federal constituency in Akwa Ibom State, Mr Onofiok Luke, has warned that the Presidency should not ignore the various agitations in the country particularly those coming from the Southeast and South-West regions.
Luke who is the chairman House of Representatives Committee on Judiciary spoke on Friday at one- day National Dialogue to mark Democracy Day organised by Civil Liberties Organisation, Akwa Ibom state chapter in conjunction with the Office of the Senior Special Assistant to the President in Niger Delta Affairs.
His words, “I am a firm believer in the unity of Nigeria founded on justice, equity and then founded on true federalism. And we can achieve this by every segment of this society seeing ourselves as equals.
“The problem today, from the agitation for secession, agitation for all sorts of things is because some sections of the country feel marginalized. I know that there was a time in this country that the loudest voice agitating for the betterment of the people was the Niger Delta region.
“But you will agree with us today that by the grace of God we have experienced peace in the Niger Delta region compared to other regions. We should not ignore agitations from Southeast, we should not ignore agitations from South West”
Luke who noted that it was important for Nigerians to come together to share ideas and thoughts beyond party line, stressed that critical stakeholders in the country should be brought together to fine-tune and push the agenda for the development of the country.
He described the one day National dialogue as very apt, stressing, “I have always been an advocate for bipartisan approach to the problems of this country. The problem we are facing doesn’t know party, it doesn’t know region, religion.
“Now the security crisis we are experiencing in the Southeast, we have had a case of that crisis in North West. We have had students kidnapped from Schools, and those students are not Christians, those students are Muslims.
“And then we’ve had this crisis happen in states that are not APC, we have had it happen in states that are PDP. And the people affected by this crisis are the Nigerian populace. It affects our parents, siblings. So any aggregation of ideas to discuss the way forward for this country is welcome”
Presenting a keynote address Senior Special Assistant to the president on Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Ita Enang appreciated the organizers and participants and prayed that the dialogue could not have come at a better and more opportuned time given the various agitations in the country.
“The voices of discord are getting louder and it may be time to allow Nigerians to dialogue with each other by whatever arrangement. It was like this under Jonathan Presidency in 2013 when President Jonathan convened that 2014 confab and that political temperature was tamed and calmed.
“At this dialogue session, may we consider one of the matters causing mutual ethnic suspicion and insecurity, namely Land use and farmer herders clashes and the attendant effect on imminent food shortage and loss of livelihood.
“May we at this dialogue frankly state the grievances we have against other constituents and segments of the Country, even if they be not present here, state our position and what we want for ourselves, ethnic group, State, tribe, religion, region, land or whatever interest we are aligned or affiliated to.
“Thus, together shall we in the true spirit of National reconciliation address same, give up some, understand the other person’s point of view and fears, profer assuring solutions and come out smiling at each other again as we were reputed for”, Enang said
In his welcome remarks, Chairman of CLO, Akwa Ibom State branch, Otuekong Franklyn Isong said they mooted the National dialogue on democracy, insecurity and the unity of Nigeria to mark the 2021 Democracy day.