By Brangyet Dadiya
The Presidency Wednesday, explained that the absence of the federal government delegation at the planned meeting with governors and stakeholders of the South-South region was necessitated by an emergency security meeting summoned by the President, certainly not out of disrespect.
Leaders of the South-South geopolitical zone had demanded public apology from the Federal Government over a botched meeting in Port Harcourt on Tuesday.
Governors of the South-South led by its chairman and Governor of Delta, Ifeanyi Okowa, who were in Port Harcourt for the meeting, had informed other leaders comprising traditional rulers, religious leaders, opinion leaders, youth and women from the zone that the presidential delegation which convened the meeting, had cancelled it.
But Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity, Garba Shehu in a statement explained that the delegation to the meeting, under the Chief of Staff to the President, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, ministers and heads of security and intelligence agencies were in full readiness to proceed to Port Harcourt until they were directed to stay back for the emergency security meeting.
He said, “This information and regret for the inconvenience caused were conveyed to the hosts of the meeting through what we believed were the right channels.
“As may have been gleaned from the statement read by the Minister of Police Affairs, Muhammad Maigari Dingyadi, the extraordinary National Security Council meeting, under the President, was called in view of the gravity of the security situation affecting all parts of the country, including the South-South in the aftermath of the ENDSARS protests, and the need to rise to protect our national security and territorial integrity.”
The Presidency said that President Muhammadu Buhari is strongly and resolutely committed to hearing from leaders, stakeholders and our youth on burning issues affecting all parts of the federation, and to this effect, a new date for the meeting with the South-South will be agreed after due consultations with the parties concerned.
Once again, the unavoidable postponement of the meeting is regretted, the Presidency stated.