Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, on Thursday said President Muhammadu Buhari has an opportunity to address the demands of the people or put the country “on fire”.
His comment comes two days after the federal government met with leaders of the South-South region.
At the meeting, the South-South leaders demanded the restructuring of Nigeria, in line with the principle of true federalism.
“We must understand in this country that political leadership is very key,” Wike said on Thursday during his appearance on Channels Television’s Sunrise Daily. “Having the political will to implement what the people want is very serious.
“I don’t want to talk about the issue of distrust or no trust in government. People have raised such issues, that they don’t think that nothing will come out of all this dialogue. I don’t agree with that. I believe that if the president does not do, given the opportunities he has now, then, he will be putting Nigeria on fire.”
Governance Not Politics
In an hour-long interview, Mr Wike touched on other issues, including the over-politicisation of governance in the South-South region and why Nigeria should implement state policing structures.
“The problem is that we play politics in everything,” he said, while responding to a question about concerns raised by Deputy Senate President and Nigeri-Delta lawmaker, Ovie Omo-Agege.
Omo-Agege, on Tuesday during the federal government’s meeting with South-South leaders, had criticised the bloc’s governors for not consulting with federal representatives from the region before coming up with their demands.
But Wike described the criticism as a politicisation of governance. He argued that the federal representatives should, instead, have reached out to the Governors.
“Unfortunately, you have the South-South zone, where you have PDP governance,” he said. “It is unfortunate. Now, as I speak to you, I have a Minister . . . he has never one day said ‘what do we do for the state, look what I’m thinking’.
“So that opportunity has not been there. We are playing politics, saying these Governors are not members of my party, and so I don’t need to talk to them. And that’s the problem we have always had.
“And we have said, that is not correct, politics have come and gone, we are talking about governance, what affects the people of Niger-Delta. When the time for politics comes, then everybody will go your own way.”