Akwa Ibom State governor, Mr Udom Emmanuel, has said that he would rather support the passage of the Electoral Bill, than the much talked about revision of the constitution.
According to him, his stance stemmed from the fact that Electoral Bill gurantees fundamental to the sustenance of Nigeria’s democracy as against the clamour for reviewing of the nation’s constitution.
The governor expressed his views during a meeting with South-South zonal executive committee members of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, at Government House, Uyo, Thursday.
The Governor stressed that taking the nation on the path of constitutional review is a distraction, whereas the issue of Electoral bill should have assure Nigerians of their stake in the democracy, calling on Nigerians to defy partisanship in such issue of national interest.
He said though the Electoral Bill may not be a single solution to all of Nigeria’s problem, it was a major step forward , maintaining that Nigeria has tried democracy over the years as a borrowed system and with the level of success so far, it has become expedient to streamline the system.
On the economy, Udom decried the deteriorating economy of the nation and deprivation of the South-south states of revenue due to them through the current alleged subsidy regime.
He wondered why at $72 per barrel crude oil price, payment of salaries and wages still constitute a set back in the country.
He observed that Nigeria’s problem was not about political party, but rather lack of sincerity by those in leadership.
“As at today, oil price is $72 per barrel, while our budget benchmark was less than $40, yet there is not a dollar in the excess crude account.
“Even our 13% derivation is not given to us. They say they are using it to pay for subsidy and we don’t know those consuming 93 million litres of petrol every day.
“Tell me what logistics do we have in Nigeria to support importation of 93 million litres of petrol every day.
The Governor reasoned that with limited pipelines to distribute the product to every part of the country and the poor roads network across Nigeria, it was surprising that the country allegedly evacuates 93 million litres of petroleum products every day.
He further noted that expenditure was also recorded during the Covid19 lockdown last year.
“Even during COVID, we were still paying for subsidy on daily basis, but there was no movement. Who were those moving with the petrol, we don’t know. All these to deny us of the 13% derivation when we can barely pay salaries and to construct a kilometre of road here takes about eight times the cost of making it in other regions”, he added.
He commended the zonal EXCO for winning the trust of the party faithful to run the affairs of PDP in the South-south zone, assuring that South-south remains the party’s strong hold.
On the defection of Governor Ayade, Emmanuel said that PDP has not lost Cross River State, but that the people of Cross River State were on the verge of losing PDP.
He stated that, only PDP governors have been able to showcase projects in the nation over time and described the rumour of his defection as a mere wish, adding that the touch of excellence and capacity brought to bear by the PDP led state governments have a lot to do with the quality of people in the party.
Earlier, the National Vice Chairman of Peoples Democratic(PDP) South-South, Chief Dan Obih, said he was on the visit to appreciate and to applaud the wonderful works Governor Emmanuel was doing in the State.
The party Chieftain lauded the developmental strides of the governor in the state , describing him as an asset to the party and the nation.
Obih, however, decried the inability of the present government in Nigeria to proffer solution to the economic recession and alarming rate of insecurity and violence in the country, stressing that the country needs the PDP and people like Udom Emmanuel to progress.
“These are certainly not very good times. As a man with very sound economic background, we notice that on a daily basis the naira is on a free fall.
“This country needs the PDP than ever before because of the problems that this government has not been able to solve. Nigerians need PDP; Nigerians need you and others to save our country”, Obih stated.