BY ANAYO ONUKWUGHA,
Former President Goodluck Jonathan has called on the federal government to implement the report of the last National Conference, which was put together by his administration.
This is as the chairman, national caretaker committee of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ahmed Makarfi, said only the party has the capacity to embark on the restructuring of the country.
Jonathan, who spoke yesterday during the Rivers State golden jubilee anniversary lecture in Port Harcourt, said implementation of the report will help the nation address the numerous development challenges facing the nation.
He declared that the Rivers State Governor, Chief Ezebunwo Nyesom Wike is working hard to transform the state, saying that Wike is leading Rivers State to greater heights.
Jonathan said, “Having had the opportunity to serve at the state level for eight years and at the centre for eight years, I can attest to the fact that Wike is working.
“Everyday I watch television, I see programmes going on. Commissioning of projects are taking place. It takes somebody with commitment, somebody with foresight and somebody with a strong team to achieve all these”.
The former president stated that he is not surprised that Wike is living up to the expectations of the people, because as a minister, Governor Wike excelled.
He said, “Let me specifically thank the Governor of Rivers State, somebody who worked with me, somebody I believe in. That is why I conferred on him the prestigious title of Commander of the Order of the Niger (CON).”
Speaking further, the former president argued that reforms should ensure that more resources get to the state, rather than the interventionist agencies already affected by politics.
He said that the states in the Niger Delta have achieved more in terms of development since they started accessing 13 percent derivation than interventionist agencies have achieved.
Jonathan said because of political influence on the interventionist agencies, the entire Niger Delta is replete with abandoned projects.
Also speaking, National Caretaker Committee Chairman of PDP, Senator Ahmed Makarfi said only PDP has the capacity to embark on the restructuring of the country.
Makarfi said, “In PDP, we believe that our Federation needs to be fixed . We will ensure reforms in a manner that every federating unit will know that they will not be abandoned. “
In his lecture titled “Democracy and development in Nigeria: The Case of Rivers State”, Prof Godini Darah advocated resource ownership for the Niger Delta.