The Nigeria Presidency has snubs the meeting with the South-South Governors and leaders which was scheduled.
The meeting which was called at the instance of the presidency ended in rage as at the Banquet Hall of the Rivers State Government House due to the absence of the presidential team.
AUTHENTIC learnt that representatives of traditional rulers, leaders from the six south-south states and all the governors in the region who arrived Port Harcourt Monday, Nov. 16th for the meeting which was originally scheduled to commence by 11 am on Tuesday became infuriated when they were told by 3 pm that the delegation from the Presidency, which was to be led by the Chief of Staff to the President would no longer be attending.
Governors of the South-South region led by the Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State, had apologised to the delegation for the botched meeting.
The Governor’s plea, however, met resistance from the delegation who argued that the cancellation was an insult on the people of the region, which would not be taken lightly.
fter the outbursts, Governor Okowa announced the decision of the stakeholders who demanded an unreserved public apology to be rendered to the leaders and people of the region as a precondition for any consideration for reconvening any meeting with the people of the South-South.
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“We understand the anger in you, and on our own part as governors, we are also angry because the South-South zone is a very important part of this nation.
“There is no doubt that we the governors also feel insulted and we feel very sad and touched at what has happened.
“We felt it was necessary to consult with you as critical stakeholders because if we had acted on the information without consulting you, that would have added to the insult already meted to us.
“Together we call for a public apology because the meeting was not called at our instance; it was called at the instance of the Presidency,” Okowa said.
OKowa said the people of the region have been embarrassed, disgraced and disrespected. He stated that the South-South geopolitical zone is a very important component part of the nation and the governors feel insulted because the traditional rulers who had gathered for the meeting, deserved to be revered.
“As governors, we feel very touched and very sad about what has happened. And having also listened to our youths, we can feel the anger. As a mark of respect for our people, because you are actually the stakeholders of our region, we felt it was necessary for us to consult with you before taking any decision, if we take our decision without consulting with you, then we would have added to the disrespect that has just been meted on you.
Former President of the Movement for the Survival of the Ogoni People, Ledum Mitee, said he concerns the abrupt cancellation of the meeting not only as an insult but an effrontery on the people of the South-South zone.
Similarly, member of the 2014 national political reform conference, Ms Ann-Kio Briggs, said the Federal Government on Tuesday demonstrated the value it actually place on the South-South geopolitical zone.
On his part, the President of the Ijaw Youth Congress, Peter Igbifa, accused the federal government of taking the South-South for granted.
It was noted that the Presidency including; the Inspector General of Police, Director-General of the Department of State Security and eight federal ministers requested for the meeting to be rescheduled.
Present at the meeting were also the Governor Ben Ayade of Cross River; Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akw Ibom; Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State; and Godwin Obaseki of Edo State. Other eminent persons present included: the National Chairman of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga, rtd; former President, Nigerian Bar Association, Onueze Okocha (SAN); among others.