Ifeanyi Okowa, governor of Delta state, says restructuring and a ban on open grazing will improve the unity of Nigeria.
He said southern governors should not be berated “for coming together to speak for our people”.
Governors of the 17 southern states had on Tuesday met in Asaba, Delta state capital, to discuss the state of the nation.
Following the meeting, the governors called on President Muhammadu Buhari to be fairer in political appointments, convene a national dialogue, embrace the calls for restructuring, and establishment of state police.
Ahmad Lawan, president of the senate, had subsequently faulted the governors’ call for restructuring, insisting they restructure their respective states first.
Yahaya Bello, governor of Kogi, had also called on the governors to implement financial autonomy for the judiciary and legislature in their states.
Reacting to the feedback on Saturday, Okowa said the governors took a stance that will benefit the nation’s unity.
He added that their resolutions are answers to the demands of the people.
“We thank all our brothers in the south for coming together to speak for our people. The things that we’ve said are not new. It’s just the voice of our people that we have continued to echo,” the governor said.
“But unfortunately I read in the papers that somebody says we ought not to talk about certain things, being elected people. If the voice of your people has been heard madly and they’ve continued to talk and you are an elected person and you shy away from giving further voice to their voices, then you ought not be in the position that you occupy.
“We reaffirmed that as a people, as elected Governors, we believe in the unity of our country. But we also went forth to advance the need for certain things to be done in order to give strength to that unity. That cannot be a reason for us to be vilified, obviously not.
“We talked about restructuring, which has been on the table for so long. Both the voices of the PDP and the APC itself have endorsed restructuring. And restructuring is all-inclusive and all-encompassing. We may have different views, different approaches to the restructuring, but when we sit at the table in dialogue, we will be able to agree best on what is good for Nigeria and what is good for the component parts of Nigeria.”
“The time is ripe for leaders and stakeholders from all parts of the country to endorse the communique issued by the Southern Governors as a road map for rebuilding a new Nigeria where all interest groups will be treated equally.”