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“We are not second class citizens of this country” – Governor Wike and Okowa insist on Asaba resolution

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Rivers State Governor Nyesom Wike on Saturday said there is no going back on decision of Southern Governors to ban open grazing across the region.

The Governors of the 17 Southern states had met in Asaba, Delta State on Tuesday and agreed to the ban as parts of efforts to solve the farmer-herder crisis sweeping the country.

The meeting and resolutions reached by the Governors continues to elicit reactions from amongst those prominent is Senate President Ahmad Lawan.

Also, a former Executive Secretary of the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), Prof. Usman Yusuf criticised the move, saying the Governors did not consult with the Fulani, a tribe renowned for nomadic cattle rearing.

But speaking at a civic reception organized in his honour by the Ogoni Ethnic Nationality of Rivers State in Bori, headquarters of Khana Local Government Area on Saturday, Wike said the decision was cast in stone.

“Look, I have been in government, I am in opposition, nobody can cow me,” he said. “Magnus (Abe), they know, their government cannot cow me. I will say what I will say and I will do what is right for my people. Nobody will do me anything. I will die the day God says it is my day. Nobody can take my life when it is not time for me to die. So, let nobody be afraid.

“Let me also use this opportunity to say, all those who are saying why should Southern Governors ban grazing – I have taken further steps to fulfill what the Southern Governors said in Asaba. If anybody wants to die, go and die and hang yourself on electric pole.

“We have taken a position and we are not going back. Enough is enough; we are not second class of citizens of this country. We also own this country and we must partake in what is happening in this country.”

Delta State governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, also berated the president of the Senate, Ahmad Lawan, over comments credited to the latter on the call for restructuring of the nation’s political structure by the Southern Governors Forum (SGF).

Okowa noted that the discussion around the restructuring of the country has been on among Nigerians for some time, insisting that the subect cannot be avoided.

The governor, while speaking at the launch of an empowerment scheme by the minority leader of the House of Representatives, Hon. Ndudi Elumelu, in Asaba, the state capital, and apparently responding to Lawan’s criticism of SGF’s resolutions, said it was wrong for anybody to fault the position of the southern governors, noting that the governors only reechoed the voices of their people.

“I have read a lot about the outcome of the Southern Governors Forum meeting. Unfortunately, I read somebody saying that we ought not to speak on certain things because we are elected people. If you cannot echo the voice of your people, then you are not worthy of the position you are holding.

“All those things that we said in our communique are not new. They have been spoken by our people and what we did was just to reecho their wishes,” the governor added.

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