Voting in South-South geo-political zone in 2023 is not likely to be business as usual for the presidential flag-bearers of political parties particularly those of All Progressives Congress (APC) and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Leaders of the zone which is the main oil and gas basin of Nigeria are playing up the undying issue of restructuring the country as a condition on which the region will massively back aspirants seeking to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari.
Civil rights activist, Karl Uchegbu, told Naija News on telephone this Monday that social formations that are very active in the region, are insisting on restructuring as a major condition for supporting any presidential candidate.
‘’We are seriously of the view that Nigeria cannot continue like this. The basis of our federalism has to be renegotiated and agreed upon by the federating groups/the plural ethnic nationalities.
‘’We have also seen that the many challenges of the Niger Delta require a restructured Nigerian federation that promotes resource ownership and control, equity and justice’’, Uchegbu said.
However, Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State, the home state of former President Goodluck Jonathan, let the cat out of the bag when he revealed that PDP delegates in the state will support any presidential aspirant of the party that will restructure Nigeria if elected.
The apex socio-political group of the area, Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) has also been hammering on restructuring as a veritable instrument of moving Nigeria forward.
PANDEF’s Spokesman, Ken Robinson, says they are not relenting on the agitation for restructuring, pointing out, ‘’there have been calls for the Federal Government to commence the process of restructuring by devolving more power to states and local governments.’’
PANDEF back in 2021, took on the Executive Secretary of Revenue Mobilisation Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMAFC), Mohammed Shehu, for kicking against restructuring, saying, “there is an over-concentration of power at the centre.”