South-south govs demand apology from presidency over cancelled meeting

An apology has been demanded from the presidency by leaders of the south-south region on Tuesday for cancelling a meeting scheduled to take place in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.

Recall that on Tuesday, the meeting between the presidency, governors and leaders of the region was billed to take place.

According to report, the meeting was reportedly moved twice from 11am to 1pm before the Chief of staff to the president, Ibrahim Gambari called the chairman of the South-south Governors Forum, Ifeanyi Okowa and cancelled the meeting.

Okowa while addressing the leaders at the banquet hall of the government house in Port Harcourt expressed disappointment that the region’s leaders were treated that way.

He said the meeting time was cancelled on the excuse that President Muhammadu Buhari was meeting with the director-general of Department of State Services (DSS) and the inspector-general of police, who were meant to be part of the presidential delegation to the event.

He said the people of the region have been “disrespected and embarrassed”, and asked the presidency to tender an apology to the leaders.

He said the governors feel insulted because traditional rulers who had gathered for the meeting, deserved to be revered, adding that an apology would be the least that will be accepted for the meeting to be reconvened.

“As governors, we feel very touched and very sad about what has happened. And having also listened to our youths, we can feel the anger, ” Okowa said.

“As a mark of respect for our people, because you are actually the stakeholders of our region, we felt it was necessary for us to consult with you before taking any decision, if we take our decision without consulting with you, then we would have added to the disrespect that has just been meted on you.

“We call for a public apology, not for the governors alone. We call for a public apology because this meeting was not called at our instance. It was called at the instance of the Presidency. The time was changed last night. We understood and we talked to our people. Some of us did not sleep in trying to put things together. We have gotten to a very bad start. So we are going to convey this message to the chief of staff to the president.

“We deserve as a region unreserved public apology to the region, particularly to our traditional rulers and the leaders in this zone, which include our Christian leaders, opinion leaders, our women and our youths, and also the governors of the zone who were voted into office and that is the least that we expect for us to accept the reconvene of this meeting.”

Present at the botched meeting were Nyesom Wike, governor of Rivers; Ben Ayade of Cross River; Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom; Douye Diri of Bayelsa, and Godwin Obaseki of Edo state.


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