Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State on Friday urged the Federal Government to urgently set machinery in motion for the restructuring of the country to address the myriad of issues bedeviling peace and development of the country.
Speaking on a wide range of issues during a live interview programme on Africa Independent Television, AIT, he also called on political leaders to show true patriotism by espousing causes that promote national interest.
Governor Dickson, who said restructuring would engender efficiency of the Judiciary, fiscal federalism to enable owners of resources have a sense of belonging and justice in the polity, however, kicked against the convocation of another national conference in the country.
While calling for the overhauling of the nation’s judicial system, he noted that, the judiciary could no longer perform optimally due to the workload foisted on it by the prevailing structure.
The Governor also justified the resource control struggle of the Niger Delta people, describing the situation where legislations are enacted deliberately to deprive the people of their God-given resources as unacceptable and condemnable.
His words: “I keep saying that, what you call in Abuja, Lagos and other capitals of the world, as oil bloc, is the ancestral property of the people of the Niger Delta. You sit down here in Abuja and allocate it as you please but that is someone’s property in the Niger Delta. So it is perfectly legitimate for the people to complain, that ‘look, the federation is unfair.’
“We have been funding this country for the past 61 years. You have built major capitals and billionaires out of it. Nigeria, because of the discovery of oil at Oloibiri in Bayelsa in 1956 and now in other places in the Niger Delta became a global power. Good, we are in a country and that’s our contribution, but then, you have to be fair and look at the side effects of oil production and the sacrifices we are making. Our people are dying. So, let’s see how they can get commensurate benefits from this; that is resource control.
“In our constitution, we claim that we are operating a free market capitalist economy, but what Nigeria did against the oil producing people was that, they passed series of legislations effectively expropriating the resources of the Niger Delta people and vesting same on the federal government. My argument is that, we produce and so we own. The federation has the power to levy a tax. So what you do is to raise your tax. That way, you have respected the principles of ownership.
“As it stands today, it means in FCT you have land that you are selling like oil; in Lagos, your land is as costly as oil but when you come to Bayelsa, and you see oil or gas, there is no ownership of land.”
On the implementation of reports of past national conferences, the Governor stressed the need for the Federal Government to set up a technical committee to distill the recommendations for the president to forward to the National Assembly for consideration and passage.
Reacting to the issue of insecurity in the country, Governor Dickson urged Northern and Igbo leaders to prevail on their youths to refrain from making inflammatory statements capable of jeopardizing national security.
The Governor, who posited that, all tiers of the government should invest appropriately in the educational sector, attributed leadership failure in all strata of society to the collapse of education and lack of proper mentorship.
He also underscored the need for both leaders and followers to respect the rule of law as enshrined in the constitution, noting that, not much would be achieved in the fight against corruption if constitutional orders were flouted with impunity.