Governor Nyesom Ezenwo Wike of Rivers State has attributed Nigeria’s lack of progress to over dependence on a “single economic product derived from the ‘natural bowels’ of the Niger Delta.”

He made the remark while faulting various governments for “abandoning all other economic options” for oil.

Speaking at the Sharks Stadium in Port Harcourt on Sunday, as part of activities to mark Independence Day celebration, Wike also said that Nigeria’s situation had been worsened by the failure to successfully redefine and restructure the country towards progressive path since 1960.

The governor stated that Nigerians must unite and set aside the narrative of division, violence and hate.

He said, “After nearly 18 unbroken years of democracy and despite positive assertions to the contrary, our democracy keeps floundering under the watch of the Federal Government just as the vast majority of Nigerians are alienated from the state and estranged from the development process and denied the dividends of democracy.

“If economic progress is the test of our democracy, then we have woefully failed as a nation. For 57 years, we abandoned all other economic options and depended on a single economic product derived from the natural bowels of the Niger Delta.

“We all crave for strong national institutions to support our democracy, protect our freedoms and advance our development.

“Unfortunately, instead of advancing our democracy and protecting our liberties, some of our most important national institutions, especially the Independent National Electoral Commission and the Nigeria Police have become the undertakers of their destruction by acts of deliberate compromise, partisanship and even sabotage in the discharge of their constitutional responsibilities.

“How else can we attribute INEC’s misfeasance and criminal complicity in the emerging, but strange jurisprudential contraption in election disputes, where fake results produced and procured from the custody of terribly partisan police agency were validated and accepted as evidentially superior to its own results by the electoral tribunals to overturn the returns it genuinely and rightly made in respect of the outcome of the 2016 legislative re-run elections in Rivers State.”

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