The passage of the Electoral Bill is crucial to the furtherance of Nigeria’s democracy, as against the ongoing process of reviewing the nation’s constitution, Governor Udom Emmanuel has declared.
The Akwa Ibom State governor reiterated that taking the nation on the path of constitutional review would portend a deliberate distraction, when the issue of Electoral bill which should assure Nigerians of their stake in the democracy is on ground and called on Nigerians to defy partisanship in such issue of national interest.
The Governor stated this on Thursday while hosting the South-south zonal Executives of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, at Government house, Uyo. He said, though the Electoral Bill may not be a single solution to all of Nigeria’s problem, it is a major step forward.
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He maintained that Nigeria has tried democracy over the years as a borrowed system and with the level of success so far, it has become expedient to streamline the system.
“You are just trying to distract us from what you are supposed to do. Pass Electoral bill, pass Petroleum Industry Bill (PIB), then you can talk of Constitution Review. Don’t muddle up issues and get people confused along the line. To assure Nigerians that their votes will count, the electoral Bill is fundamental, important and urgent and so must be treated same. So if we really mean business that we want to do democracy, then let’s do it right,” he said.
He decried the deteriorating economy of the nation and deprivation of the South-south states of the revenue due to them under the pretence of subsidy.
“As at today, oil price is $72 per barrel, while our budget benchmark was less than $40, yet there is not a dollar in the excess crude account. Even our 13% derivation is not given to us. They say they are using it to pay for subsidy and we don’t know those consuming 93 million litres of petrol every day. Tell me, what logistics do we have in Nigeria to support importation of 93 million litres of petrol every day.
“Even during COVID, we were still paying for subsidy on daily basis, but there was no movement. Who were those moving with the petrol, we don’t know. All these to deny us of the 13% derivation, when we can barely pay salaries and to construct a kilometre of road here takes about eight times the cost of making it in other regions,” he said.
He commended the zonal EXCO for winning the trust of the party faithful to run the affairs of the PDP in the South-south zone, assuring that the zone remains the party’s strong hold.
In his remarks, the National Vice Chairman of Peoples Democratic(PDP) South-South, Chief Dan Obih, who said the visit was to appreciate the work Governor Emmanuel was doing for the State, lauded the developmental strides of the governor in the State, describing him as an asset to the party and the nation.