South-South leaders demand apology from presidency over botched stakeholders’ meeting
Leaders of the South-South geopolitical zone on Tuesday demanded public apology from the presidency over the botched stakeholders meeting slated for Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
The Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, led his counterparts from Edo, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River and Bayelsa to the meeting.
Other stakeholders in the region including the traditional rulers, religious leaders, opinion leaders, youths, and women were already at the venue of the meeting when Okowa informed the gathering that the meeting had been cancelled by the presidential delegation who originally convened the forum.
He told the disappointed stakeholders that the meeting was cancelled because of an emergency security meeting called by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Irked by the development, the stakeholders described the cancellation of the meeting as a gross disrespect to the people of the region and demanded an immediate public apology from the presidency.
The Delta governor urged the people to remain calm over the embarrassment caused by the cancellation of the meeting.
He said the governors would definitely convey the feeling of the people of the South-South to the presidency.
Okowa said: “We understand the anger in you, and on our own part as governors, we are also angry because the South-South zone is a very important part of this nation.
“There is no doubt that we the governors also feel insulted and we feel very sad and touched at what has happened.
“We felt it was necessary to consult with you as critical stakeholders because if we had acted on the information without consulting you, that would have added to the insult already meted to us.
“Together we call for a public apology because the meeting was not called at our instance; it was called at the instance of the presidency.
“Some of us didn’t sleep trying to put things in order to make this meeting a reality.
“We will convey this message to the Chief of Staff to the President that as a region we deserve a public apology, particularly to our traditional rulers and opinion leaders and also to the governors that you voted into office.
“This is the least we expect before this meeting can be reconvened.”