By Okungbowa Aiwerie, Asaba
Delta Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has explained why the Southern Governors’ Forum’s called for national dialogue.
Southern Governors, in a communiqué after their meeting in Asaba in May, called for dialogue and true federalism.
The call, he said, was to allow for frank discussions on challenges confronting the country.
Okowa, who spoke in Asaba on Thursday, said the many agitations for secession were due to the perceived injustice in the polity.
He said proposed national dialogue would discuss and resolve the agitations in the interest of unity.
According to him: “We need to be able to accommodate those voices and that is why the Southern Governors’ Forum actually did call for a national dialogue because when people sit together to dialogue with themselves, they are able to speak their inner minds, they are able to find ways of resolving.
“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 individual communities.”
He called on leaders across the country not to stifle the voice of the oppressed but urged them to build a consensus to ensure peace pervades 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 are able to talk freely to ourselves and we are able to ensure that at the end of the day there is justice, fairness and equity because it is the best for the nation.
“In our communications, let us appeal to Nigerians to know that we are better together than going our individual ways, but I also believe that as a nation we need to talk to ourselves and be able to listen to the voices of those who feel challenged or oppressed,” the Governor stated.