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Ibori urges south-south leaders prioritize people’s needs

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Former Delta State Governor, Chief James Onanefe Ibori has called on leaders of the South-South region to champion fiscal federalism as an unfinished business during the 24th anniversary of the South-South Governors, Legislators, and Leaders’ summit held on March 31st, 2000, in Asaba, Delta State.

Addressing the leaders, Ibori emphasized the importance of the summit’s theme, “We Must Not Fail Our People,” highlighting the need for continued efforts to address the challenges facing the region.

“We must not fail our people,” Ibori said, stressing the significance of embracing fiscal federalism to ensure the equitable distribution of resources and development in the South-South region.

He congratulated the current South-South governors, legislators, and national assembly members on their elections, urging them to prioritize the implementation of true fiscal federalism for the benefit of their people.

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Reflecting on the history of the region’s struggle for fiscal autonomy, Ibori recalled the challenges faced during the inception of the Fourth Republic, including the refusal of the federal government to activate the thirteen percent derivation principle and the debate over onshore and offshore oil and gas production.

Ibori urged the leaders to remain steadfast in their commitment to addressing these challenges, emphasizing the importance of unity and collective action in achieving meaningful progress for the region.

“We must pull together to answer the question of the trajectory of the Niger Delta Region for the benefit of its people,” Ibori stated, underscoring the need for concerted efforts to advance the socio-economic interests of the region.

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He also called for renewed attention to the land and environmental issues facing the region, urging leaders to safeguard the natural patrimony of the South-South for future generations.

“As political leaders of the people of the South-South zone, given the sad and long history of our marginalization, we should see and treat our various offices as held in sacred trust with corresponding obligations imposed by our conscience and oath of office to work for the redemption of the region from selfish exploitation of any form and color, as well as our people from injustice, in whatever form it may be expressed. We must speak when we must, and must act when it is desirable, in the overriding interest of our states and the nation. Succeed we must. Failure will be disastrous not only to the aspirations of our peoples but the nation as well,” Ibori passionately declared.

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As the South-South leaders commemorate the achievements of the past and confront the challenges of the present, Ibori urged them to remain resolute in their commitment to the development and prosperity of the region.

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