‘Mr President, you are wrong’ — Dickson tackles Buhari over comment on restructuring

Seriake Dickson, governor of Bayelsa state, says a statement credited to President Muhammadu Buhari on restructuring is a threat to the country’s stability.

When he hosted Niger Delta elders at the presidential villa in Abuja two weeks back, the president said those agitating for restructuring have ulterior motive.

“You mentioned something, which is topical these days; the restructuring of Nigeria. Every group asking for restructuring has got its own agenda and I hope it can be accommodated by the constitution,” he had said.

But Dickson disagreed with the president, wondering why he could make such utterance when people were opposed to the current structure in the country.

According to Fidelis Soriwei, media aide to Dickson, the governor said this while delivering a lecture with the theme ‘Restructuring and the search for a productive Nigeria’ at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Ile-Ife, Osun state, on Thiursday.

“When everybody in this country is talking about the need to restructure this country, our President, Muhammadu Buhari, made a statement that is not only wrong, but it is also faulty that cannot stand the test of time,” he said.

“That statement is a threat to the continued stability and prosperity and development of our country, when he dismissed outright, the notion of restructuring. And he didn’t stop there, he went ahead to say that those who are in support of restructuring are doing so for parochial agenda. Mr. President, you are wrong.

“In fact the reverse is the case. The majority of Nigerians from the north, south, east, west and middle belt, who are making a case for restructuring are indeed the patriots of Nigeria. We want a Nigeria that works with equal citizenship. A Nigeria for the many as well as for the few; a Nigeria that we will be proud to call home any day, that we can proudly pledge allegiance to.”

The governor recommended that country change the presidential system of government because “it is expensive”.

“The system is expensive, we can’t have a productive Nigeria with the way it is structured. The government has abandoned its core responsibilities of defence and security. The constitutional issue can’t deliver a safe Nigeria,” he said.

“There’s need to devolve policing powers to the people. But I’m not saying states should have police. Our system of settling disputes is faulty.

“Why should a land dispute in communities be dragged to the supreme court? I know many things about access to justice. Instead of justice getting stronger, you see ‘Babalawos’ getting stronger. The distortion of our federal structure has destroyed Nigeria.”

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