Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State on Saturday faulted the Senate President, Senator Ahmed Lawan for saying elected officials should not be canvassing for restructuring of the Nigerian polity.
While fielding questions from State House correspondents in Abuja on Thursday, the senate president said he was not against those calling for restructuring but elected officials should not be among those advocating for such calls.
He said: “The call for secession or the call for restructuring, many are genuine calls even though I never believe that someone who is calling for secession means well or is a misguided person.
“But I believe that when somebody calls for improving the structure that we have is a genuine call.
“But I want to advice here, I believe that as leaders those of us who were elected must not be at the forefront of calling for this kind of thing because even if you are a governor you are supposed to be working hard in your state to ensure that this restructuring you are calling for at the federal level you have done it in your state as well.
“This is because what you may accuse the federal government of whatever it is, you may also be accused of the same thing in your state.
“So, we are supposed to ensure that we have a complete and total way of ensuring that our systems at the federal, state and even local government work for the people, and that we allow people to participate in governance so that whoever feels that he has something to offer to make Nigeria better does so freely without any hindrance,’’ the Senate President said.
Governor Okowa, however, disagreed with Senator Lawan.
Speaking at an empowerment Programme sponsored by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Rep. Ndudi Elumelu in Asaba, Okowa said Lawan’s take on the Asaba Declaration was unfortunate, adding that the southern governors’ position on restructuring was not new as various stakeholders in PDP, APC and civil society organisations had, at various times, canvassed for it.
“Unfortunately, I read in the paper somebody saying that we ought not to speak on certain things because we are elected people. If you cannot echo the voice of your people, then you are not worthy of that position you are holding.
“All those things that we said in our communique are not new. They have been spoken by our people and what we did was just echo their wishes,” Okowa said.