Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has declared that Rivers people are insisting on true federalism because they crave a country where all federating units are allowed to develop in line with their respective potentials and resources.
The governor emphasised that the demand for true federalism simply means that Rivers people believe in a united Nigeria, where no section is denied the control of her resources.
The governor who spoke at the Government House Port Harcourt on Tuesday night when the Rivers State Government hosted the Ambassador of the United States of America to Nigeria, Mr William Symington to a State Banquet, also called on the Government of the United States of America to set up a Visa Office in Port Harcourt to cater for the South-South and South-East.
He said: “We are clamouring for true federalism. When you talk true federalism, they think you don’t want to be part of the country. We talk about true federalism as practiced in America. A true presidential system where all the Federating units will be allowed to enjoy their resources and contribute to the centre.
“That means we believe that there must be a country called Nigeria. All of us will work together for the unity of the country”.
He explained that Rivers people seek equity, fairness and justice in the country, stating that the right framework must be established to ensure that all states excel at their pace.
On the request for the United States Government to set up a Visa Office in Port Harcourt, Governor Wike said the visa office will resolve the issue of equity and justice as the Abuja office serves the north and Lagos office serves the South West.
He assured the American Ambassador that the state is safe for business, pledging that his administration will partner with investors, as the right environment has already been created.
“Forget about the media propaganda. This state is an opposition state . Therefore, don’t expect them to say it is the best. But, we are the best state. We are doing everything to ensure that investors do profitable business under the ambit of the law”, Governor Wike said.
In his remarks, the Ambassador of the United States of America to Nigeria, Mr William Symington commended Nigerians for the unity of the country.
He said that Nigeria is a great country because of the contributions of Nigerians.
“Nigeria will be great and I expect a super power and a super partner “, he said.
The US Ambassador to Nigeria was accompanied by the Consul General , John Bray.
Head of Service of Rivers State, Mr Rufus Godwins, in a welcome remark on behalf of the Rivers State Government, pointed out that Rivers State shares a lot of similarities with the United States of America, especially in the area of the presence of oil resources, love of human rights, justice and fair play.
He, however, pointed out that while United States practices fiscal federalism where federating states own their resources, Rivers State suffers untold hardship as her resources are exploited to the benefit of others.
The Head of Service of Rivers State further brought to the notice of the United States of America Ambassador to Nigeria, the murderous attack on the democratic rights of Rivers people by Federal forces during the repeated legislative reruns. He urged the United States of America to take very profound steps to check the rape of democracy by Federal forces and their cohorts during future elections.