Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum (SMBLF) has congratulated the Rivers State governor, Governor Nyesom Wike, on his victory at the poll, the result which the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) officially declared few days ago after what the Forum described as “a tortuous and needless rigmarole.”
This was as the leaders equally mourned all the innocent souls murdered in the state as thugs and security forces unleashed terror on the state during the March 9 poll exercise, urging that all those responsible for the mayhem be brought to book as failure to punish such crimes in the past had encouraged impunity in Nigeria’s system with its unpleasant consequences.
SMBLF said this on Friday in a signed statement by PANDEF leader, Chief Edwin K. Clark, an Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, President- General of Ohanaeze, Chief John Nwodo and President of Middle-Belt Forum, Dr Pogu Bitrus.
“The Southern and Middle Belt Leaders Forum congratulates Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State on his victory at the polls after a tortuous and needless rigmarole.”
“We equally mourn all the innocent souls murdered in the state as thugs and security forces unleashed terror on the state during the March 9 Governorship elections as we ask that all those responsible for the mayhem must be brought to book.”
“It is the failure to punish such crimes that has encouraged impunity in our system with its unpleasant consequences,” the leaders said.
SMBLF, however, said what the unfortunate development in Rivers had raised once again was the urgent need to restructure the country, contending that for a few desperate people backed with Federal might to prop up a candidate unknown to many Rivers people few days to the election and put the state through such stress showed how dysfunctional the country’s federalism was at present.
According to the leaders, this sad development “has shown clearly that the powers of the Federal Government can be deployed behind even a goat to cause mayhem in any part of the country,” declaring that such sad development didn’t start now.”
“It would be recalled that the events that led to the collapse of the First Republic started with the use of Federal Might to enforce minority will in Western Region starting from 1962,” SMBLF said.
SMBLF said Nigeria had been saved from a major catastrophe with the conclusion of Rivers elections though with deep scars, insisting that the country cannot continue under this dysfunctional arrangement and, therefore, must be arranged as a proper federation with the dispersal of the concentrated powers at the centre to the federating units.
“This is the only way to elongate the life of Nigeria and build an inclusive country where all sections will live in peace and happiness,” the Forum submitted.