*Saraki promises to revive economy, unify Nigerians
Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, has said Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) delegates in the state would support any presidential aspirant of the party that will restructure Nigeria if elected.
Diri spoke on Friday when he received former Senate President and presidential aspirant, Senator Bukola Saraki, in Government House, Yenagoa.
The governor noted that as an oil and gas producing state, which contributes huge revenue to the country’s economy, restructuring would ensure equity and fairness to the oil-producing Niger Delta region, the state and the Ijaw nation in particular.
Diri said that the Federal Government, as presently constituted, does not encourage productivity and competitiveness. Rather, he said, it turns the federating units to beggars where states go cap in hand to Abuja on monthly basis for revenue sharing.
He said that there is too much concentration of power at the centre, which has prevented the country from functioning effectively, adding that devolution of power would enable states to develop at their own pace.
The governor restated his call on aspirants to place the interest of the party and country above their ambition, saying that as an opposition party, what is required to wrest power from the ruling party and rescue the country from total collapse is unity among members.
Diri stressed that only the PDP is capable of tackling the challenges facing Nigeria and restore it to the path of growth and honour it was known for.
He said that the former Senate President had the credentials to govern the country considering the experience he had garnered from serving in different capacities over the years.
“You talked about certain things that touch us as a state. You talked about the restructuring of this country. The Ijaws have always talked about justice and equity.
”As a state that produces oil and gas, which have been the mainstay of our economy, we subscribe to any aspirant that has included restructuring of this country in his manifesto, to ensure equity and justice.
“The Federal Government is too centralised and nothing will work. Certain powers have to be devolved to the states and let the Federal Government face only common issues that are central to all of us. So this blame game of previous government will stop.
“Let us go back to the foundation of this country where we had regions that took responsibility for their economy and policies. Allow the states to carry some of the responsibility.
“The present structure does not make room for productivity and competition among our states. State governments go cap in hand to our Federal Capital Territory in the name of federal allocation.
“I believe that you are knowledgeable about these issues as those practices have to stop. You have swayed everybody and shown that you have the capacity to govern this country.
“Our country was high up there but today, we are at the bottom. What Nigeria needs now is somebody and a party that will rescue the country. There is no other party that can rescue Nigeria than the PDP.
“You have been governor and president of the Nigerian Senate. You are one man that Nigerians can go to sleep with if you emerge as president.
“All I ask for is that we must be cohesive and united as a party. We must see the survival of our country as the number one thing that we must hold on to if we must wrest power from this rudderless ruling party at the centre.”
Diri also said that despite being a believer and advocate of power shift and zoning, he had accepted the decision of the party to allow aspirants from all parts of the country to vie for the presidency and would work to ensure that a candidate that represents the interest of the party and country emerges.
Earlier, Senator Saraki said that Nigeria was moving towards becoming a failed state in terms of security and its poor economy and needs a competent person to reverse the drift.
According to the former Kwara State governor, having served in different capacities, he has the experience both from the private and public sectors to lead the country out of its near state of collapse.
He said he is bold and can spearhead restructuring of the country if elected as president in the 2023 election.
While lamenting the disunity among Nigerians, he said he would be the bridge to unite the north and the south, young and old as well as Christians and Muslims.
Saraki appealed for support from the state’s delegates in the forthcoming party primary election.