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Okowa: why Southern governors called for dialogue

By Okungbowa Aiwerie, Asaba

Delta Governor Ifeanyi Okowa on Thursday said Southern governors called for a national dialogue to allow for frank discussions on the challenges confronting the country.

He believes many agitations for secession were due to the perceived injustices in the polity.

The governor said the proposed national dialogue would discuss and resolve the agitations in the interest of the unity of the country.

According to him, more voices need to be heard to unite Nigerians.

Okowa said: “In seeking for that unity, if we have voices that are getting strong because of one reason or the other, we need to be able to listen to them.

“We need to be able to accommodate those voices and that is why the Southern Governors’ Forum did call for a national dialogue because when people sit together to dialogue with themselves, they can speak their inner minds, they can find ways of resolving issues.

“So, we truly believe that in the communication process there must be a space for people to air their views and we also advise that there is still a lot of room to talk; so, our people should not take up arms instead of talking with their voices.

“We believe that in taking up arms, we are not doing any good to Nigeria and we are not doing any good to our communities.”

He called on leaders across the country not to stifle the voice of the oppressed, but urged them to close ranks and build a consensus to ensure that peace pervaded the nooks and crannies of the country.

“For those of us in the governance space, we also need to continue to hear the people and to give room for people to air their opinions on national issues.

“We believe that if there is a national dialogue, obviously it will help to reduce the tension that we have today as a nation.

“There is no doubt that we are stronger together as a nation and everything that is possible to keep us together as a nation, the better for us.

“It is for us to be able to manage the current threats in the country in such a manner that we do not lose out at the end of the day.

“There must be an approach that brings us together where we can talk freely to ourselves and we can ensure that at the end of the day there is justice, fairness and equity because it is the best for the nation.”

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