By Abasifreke Effiong

AKWA IBOM – The people of Etinan federal constituency in Akwa Ibom state have urged the federal government to set modalities for the restructuring of the country as currently demanded by Nigerians.

A cross-section of people from the constituency who spoke at a townhall meeting convened by the member representing Etinan/Nsit Ibom/Nsit Ubium federal constituency, Barr. Onofiok Luke, in collaboration with YIAGA Africa Center for Legislative Engagement, called on the national assembly to take on reforms of the electoral systems to allow electronic voting.

However, they urged the national assembly to throw out the controversial hate speech Bill.

The people decried the delay in the extension of the coastal rail project to Akwa Ibom state as promised by President Muhammadu Buhari, urged the federal government to prioritize the dualisation of federal roads across the state which they said were in very bad shape.

“We are still waiting on the federal government to start the coastal rail project which is expected to crisscross Akwa Ibom and Cross River states,” Obong Okon Emah, one of the speakers at the meeting said.

They called on the federal government to reopen and upgrade the Maritime Academy of Nigeria, (MAN) Oron, to a Maritime University.

Different contributors at the meeting including members of different political parties noted that most of the fundamental problems facing Nigerians will be solved with restructuring.

The National Chairman of Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga, who hails from the federal constituency said the federal government was not paying attention to citizens’ demand for restructuring of the country.

Nkanga, a former military administrator of the state said the next generation of Nigerians will not accept the current structure of Nigeria.

“If we don’t restructure Nigeria, Nigeria will restructure itself because I am certain that the next generation of Nigerians cannot continue like this.”

He said the federal government is not showing serious commitment to the needs of the Niger Delta as articulated in the 16-points agenda presented by the leaders and people of the region through PANDEF.

“Only half of one of the 16-points agenda presented by PANDEF has been done”, Nkanga said.

The convener of the town hall meeting, Barr. Onofiok Luke, who is the chairman, committee on federal judiciary in the House of Representatives, said the citizens’ engagement was to help set an agenda for his contributions in the national assembly in year 2020.

Luke said he believes that regular interaction with his constituents will allow them to contribute ideas for the kind of development they want to see, thanked them for making excellent contributions at the meeting.