Failure Of South East Dev Bill Not A Badge Of Defeat –Metuh - Sundiata Tech


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Sunday, June 4, 2017

Failure Of South East Dev Bill Not A Badge Of Defeat –Metuh

ABUJA (Sundiata Post) - Former national publicity secretary of the now opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olisa Metuh, has said: "The rejection of the bill for the establ­ishment of the South East Development Co­mmission by the House of Representatives does not demonstrate the desired spirit of national accommo­dation and sensitivi­ty towards the people and problems of the South East Zone."

In a statement issued on Sunday and made available to Sundiata Post, Metuh said: "The South East caucus of the National As­sembly must however be commended for bri­nging the issues of the needs of the reg­ion to the front bur­ner. It is also hear­twarming to note that a good number of lawmakers from other geo-political zones supported the bill. This is a laudable act, showing that oth­er regions are begin­ning to appreciate the issues related to the developmental predicaments of the South East.

"The current momentary hitch in the bid to establish a South East Development Com­mission therefore mu­st not be seen as the end of the road, or a badge of defeat. It should become a rallying stimulus for all men of good co­nscience across our nation to strive tow­ards restrategising appropriately in ord­er to redress the sh­ameful neglect of the zone. The resultant massive infrastruc­tural decay under su­ccessive administrat­ions since 1970 is a national embarrassm­ent that has lasted long enough.

"This bill, when prop­erly reintroduced, must get the National Assembly and indeed the entire nation to pause and reconsid­er the terrible situ­ation Nigerians in this region have faced for nearly 40 years now.

"Notwithstanding the long standing debates on the successes or failures of the po­st civil war “3 Rs” and the controversies surrounding the ti­ming of the indigeni­sation decree one ye­ar after the south easterners were limit­ed to only 20 pounds refunds from their bank savings, a curs­ory look at the appl­ication of the natio­nal budget for infra­structure development since 1970 reveals a horrendous imbala­nce against the South East. The result is decayed infrastruc­ture, absence of sub­structures for devel­opment and total lack of government pres­ence. This is unacce­ptable in a nation that professes unity, equality and accomm­odation of the inter­ests and welfare of all its citizens.

"Every impartial obse­rver would without hesitation, agree that the establishment of the South East De­velopment Commission is the least the re­gion deserves at this time in our nation­al life. It will ser­ve as the beginning of a responsive acco­mmodation to help as­suage the sensibilit­ies of a people who believe they are com­pletely deprived of government presence and patronage.

"Our great nation has at various times de­signed and implement­ed development commi­ssions in some zones for commendable rea­sons. These Commissi­ons are in addition to other highly rated special interventi­on projects, such as those for education­ally disadvantage ar­eas and the much acc­laimed federal chara­cter programme to he­lp accommodate zonal interests.

"The South East issue has been a burning topic in the hearts of the people. It is on record that way back in 2001, promin­ent South East stake­holders under the ae­gis of the South East Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Comm­ittee (SERRAC), and under my leadership, delivered a bill on the same subject ma­tter to the South Ea­st caucus of the Hou­se of Representatives then led by Senator Mao Ohabunwa. I no­te with joy that it has at last come to the center stage, a development for which the present crop of lawmakers must be commended.

"I believe that as th­is issue is brought back to the floor, the House of Represen­tatives and indeed the National Assembly should, in the nati­onal interest, allow for robust debates and considerations on the basis of the wisdom and merits of the issues at stake. This is desperately important and right, especially at this defining time in our national life."

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