Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike says Nigeria’s development will remain stunted without strong institutions that will promote devolution of power.

Governor Wike  who made the assertion at an event to mark Nigeria’s 60th Independence Day celebration at Government House, Port Harcourt, said it was time for Nigerians to confront core political and economic issues that hamper sustained growth.

According to Governor Wike   to put Nigeria on the path of progressive growth, requires that rule of law,  fraud-proof electoral system, effective neutral law enforcement agencies and  the independence of the judiciary should be in place.

He said, “We may gloat in the limited progress that we have made since independence. It is true that we have achieved relative expansion in access to education, healthcare and the socio-economic infrastructure. But if we fail to give considerations to the serious challenges preventing us, we cannot build a free, fair and just nation that will command the total loyalty of all nationalities”.

“Let us therefore, resolve to take the right step to institutionalise the necessary constitutional and political systems that will enable us to build a free, sovereign democratic and functional nation”, he stated.

Governor Wike noted that at independence, there was an effective democracy, regional autonomy and fiscal federalism, adding that these principles guided the political,  social and economic relations between the central government and the regional constitutional regions until they were frustrated.

The governor emphasized that, Nigeria’s founding fathers envisioned to build our nation with due regards to our diversities and with visionary enthusiasm, noting that they provided basic building blocks for sustaining a united, peaceful and prosperous Nigeria with a functional constitution document.

“No one part or region was deliberately denied against what was due to it. No ethnic nationality was politically and economically favoured unduly above all others by the central government. Under this arrangement, Nigeria thrived on a peaceful and progressive path. Unfortunately, the fundamental principles of negotiated constitutional regional autonomy and federal government were blatantly jettisoned,” he said.

Governor Wike restated that Rivers state would continue to promote the unity of the country and ensure peaceful coexistence of all residents.

According to him, efforts will be sustained in improving the standard of living, expand healthcare delivery and pursue accelerated economic growth.

The Governor also commended the military for their efforts in curbing banditry, and all forms of insurgency to defend the sovereignty of the country.

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