Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers has suggested a national dialogue that would lead to the emergence of new peaceful, united and prosperous Nigeria based on justice and equity.
In a statement signed by Mr Kelvin Ebiri, his Special Assistant (Media), in Port Harcourt, the governor made the remark in an event to mark the 61st Independence anniversary of Nigeria.
Wike recalled that the path to Nigeria’s independence was charted by patriotic, knowledgeable and compassionate leaders.
He remarked that the leaders’ vision was to build a united, peaceful and prosperous black nation.
Wike said at independence, Nigeria was at par and even better in resource endowments and potential for development with its contemporaries like Malaysia, Singapore and several other countries.
“At independence and even now, we are a nation blessed with very hardworking and resourceful people.’’
He lamented that if subsequent leaders had continued on the path of the patriotic leaders, the nation would have actualised the dream of making ‘’Nigeria lead Africa’’ to stand shoulder to shoulder with the rest of the civilized world within the shortest possible period.
The governor said that at 61, it did not seem to him that ‘’there is anything worthy of our celebrating except, perhaps, the fact that we have remained independent and managed to struggle with our existence for all these years.”
According to him, what is required is requisite courage and commitment from leaders and every Nigerians to search and secure solutions to the challenges confronting the country.
He also called for the defence of the basic structures of democracy and good governance by Nigerians by rising up to protect the right to free, fair and credible elections.
Wike said this could be achieved by demanding for the immediate incorporation of electronic voting and simultaneous transmission of results into the nation’s electoral system.
According to him, the nation’s electoral management body has repeatedly said it has both the capacity, commitment and infrastructure to effect, if only the National Assembly would allow.
He urged the National Assembly to yield to the overwhelming demand by Nigerians for electronic transmission of election results.
According to him, it is not a matter of politics of sentiments, but a matter of the survival of the country which is superior to all other considerations.
Wike, however, said that his administration had spent the last six years in laying the most concrete foundations for rapid economic growth as well as put the entire state on the path to a prosperous future.
Wike said, “our economy has grown far beyond the national average and is expected to accelerate even further in the coming years with the measures we have put in place.”
He said that the measures included fiscal discipline, improved revenue generation and massive provision of infrastructure as long as the nation maintained appreciable level of macro-economic stability.