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Prof. Okaba, President, Ijaw National Congress

Democracy Day: INC urges FG to restore confidence of Nigerians

By Deborah Coker

Abuja, June 12, 2024

Prof. Benjamin Okaba, President, Ijaw National Congress (INC), has urged the Federal Government to take urgent steps to restore the confidence and genuine hope of Nigerians in the country.

Okaba made the call in his democracy day message made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) in Abuja on Wednesday.

He noted that June 12 was worth celebrating considering the relative human rights and freedom Nigerians are enjoying under civilian administrations and the need to consciously immortalise the Iconic democrat, Chief M.K.O Abiola.

According to him, the return to democratic rule has at least given Nigerians some level of opportunity to choose their political leaders and to some extent, advance the exercise of citizen’s right.

“No doubt, the worst democratic government is far better than any military regime, at least judging from our past experiences as a nation.

“However the current Federal Government should take urgent steps to overcome the hardship facing Nigerians.

“The federal government should also take steps to restore confidence in the masses who are battling with various livelihood and life threatening challenges such as insecurity, inflation, unemployment and criminality.

“Nigerians are becoming increasingly hopeless and helpless with each passing day,” he said.

The INC president also noted that Nigeria’s 25th Democracy Day celebration was a significant milestone which had raised a number of expectations from the government at all levels.

This, he said included dealing with issues of peace and peaceful coexistence, mutual tolerance, economic growth and stability, improved security of lives and properties, advancement of educational and healthcare services.

Other areas of expectations he said included economic empowerment, job creation, good governance, strategic anti-corruption efforts and an all inclusive decision-making processes.

“The Nigerian citizens are in dare need for tangible progress that would translate into positive change for all, irrespective of class, gender, creed and ethnic differences.

“The oil and gas rich Niger Delta region, which is a critical component of Nigeria’s economy, expects the current administration to without any further delay, address the multifaceted challenges facing it.

“This is in terms of infrastructure development, environmental remediation, economic empowerment, good governance and security,” he said.

Okaba also said that the Ijaw people who are one of the four largest ethnic nationalities and major producers of oil and gas resources in the country expected greater commitment from President Tinubu’s administration.

According to him, this is to deal with her peculiar and persistent problems and concerns of resource injustice, lack of political inclusion, and representation in key political positions and decision-making processes as well as environmental degradation.

“The Ijaw quest for true federalism is rooted in their desire for greater autonomy, resource control and self-determination that would enable them to manage their affairs more effectively and promote their overall well-being.

“We wish to express our satisfaction with President Tinubu’s stance on restructuring.

“While we appreciate the need for more efficient management of our local government councils, which are the 3rd tier of government, we wish to caution those seeking local government council autonomy to first and foremost tackle a more fundamental injustice.

“This injustice is the one created by the wide disparity in the number of local government areas per state, where Kano for instance has 44 and Bayelsa at the other extreme has only 8.

“It is on this note that I implore the federal government led by President Bola Tinubu to take critical steps that will restore confidence and genuine hope in Nigerians.”

He reiterated that citizens also have pivotal roles to play in taking the country out of the conundrum.

“Moving forward, let us make a commitment to remain patriotic and united as one people, as well as be good ambassadors of Nigeria,” he added.

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