*says Nigeria’s situation worsening at 60.
By; PATRICK TITUS, Uyo
Against the backdrop of increasing advocacy for the presidency of Nigeria to return to the South East after eight years in the North Western part of the country, a former minister of lands, housing and urban renewal, Chief Nduese Essien has joined voice for a president of South Eastern extraction in 2023.
Essien who is also a former member of the House of Representatives between 1999 and 2007, explained that having a president from South East will assuage the feelings of marginalization from that part of the country and further reinforce Nigeria’s unity.
The former Minister who spoke in an interview with newsmen in Uyo on Sunday said,”We have had the government of Nigeria rotating from one zone to the other and so far we have had all the zones tasted power at the presidency such as the South West, South- South, the North Central during the military administration, the North West presently; If Nigeria is to have peace and move forward there is need to allow the South East have the presidency in the next dispensation”.
According to Essien, “I would have advocated for elimination of zoning but because the South- East is yet to have a turn in the presidency. Zoning has to continue until after the turn of the South-East from 2023 and thereafter, Nigeria should return to elect the best material to govern the country and no longer on zoning arrangement or rotation anymore. We can’t say we have had a peaceful rotation of the presidency if the South-East is not given an opportunity to rule the country. So we are all hoping that the next election will produce a South Easterner as Nigeria’s next president.
Speaking on the state of the Nation as Nigeria clocks 60 years of independence, the former Lawmaker described the situation in Nigeria as worsening saying that the country is further deteriorating.
In his words,” Interestingly, Nigeria is now 60 years but the level of disappointment of Nigerians is reflected in some of the cartoons presently in circulation in the country. Some said that Nigeria has reached retirement age and should be retired. Some said new countries should emerge out of Nigeria. That shows the level of frustrations among Nigerians. There is no doubt about the fact that most Nigerians are frustrated about the way things are done. Personally, I have seen colonial administration, I have seen Nigeria at independence, I have seen Nigeria under the military rule, I have seen Nigeria under the various democratic rules including the one from 1999 till date and it has never been as bad as it is presently. The level of indiscipline, the level of corruption, the level of decadence has escalated instead of declining”.
Chief Nduesso Essien who described the ongoing forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission as one which will achieve very little result regretted that most Elders of the region who could have raised alarm over the corruption going on in the interventionist Agency were silent because they were compromised.
According to him, “Forensic audit is not the solution to the corruption in the NDDC. Unfortunately people who are going to supervise the forensic audit are also part of the corruption in the NDDC. There is no way they will allow the forensic audit to run its full course because they will want to protect themselves and their surrogates they appointed to go there.
“Maybe the forensic audit will expose a little of the corruption but it will not be the way to solve the problem of the NDDC. You already know that before the commencement of the forensic audit the present operators of the commission had been accused of being more corrupt than the people they are to investigate. So it appears to be a situation where the more corrupt are investigating the less corrupt people”.
On the culpability of some Elders of the region on the pillage in NDDC, the Ex Minister said,” The Elders in the Niger Delta region have been advocating for effective running of the Commission but because of the fluidity of the resources available to NDDC, whoever comes out to propagate for things to be done properly will be settled. I will assert very sincerely that some Elders have compromised their position.