Niger Delta Youths Caution Buhari, Warn South-South Politicians Against Betrayal
Subtle protests by youths of the Niger Delta against some perceived policy initiatives of the incoming All Progressives Congress (APC) administration regarding the region may have gone full throttle, as the Niger Delta Progressives Alliance (NDPA) weekend, told the president-elect, General Muhammadu Buhari, not to test the resolve of the youth to vehemently resist further suppression of the peoples’ interests.
The NDPA, a socio-cultural group with massive followership across the oil rich region, specifically warned Buhari against using the Presidential Amnesty Programme initiated by the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as political tools to settle a few bigwigs of his party in the South-south.
President-General of the group, Chief Tombra Ekpedekumo, said in a statement issued in Abuja weekend that the Niger Delta people should not be treated as conquered specie simply because the region is not on fire after the harassment, intimidation and political manipulation to force President Goodluck Jonathan out of power.
“The harassment, intimidation and political manipulation through the use of the ‘Card-Rigger’ by INEC and its collaborators in the recently conducted presidential election to force President Jonathan out of office remained a bitter pill to swallow for the Niger Delta people.
“The region is not on fire basically because of some considerations, which is the peace and unity of Nigeria that President Jonathan has been preaching”, the group noted. It expressed regret that while the Niger Delta people had for decades, suffered environmental degradation due to oil exploitation and exploration activities with attendant effects on fishing and farming, which would have been alternative sources of livelihood for them, the people were still being treated as second class citizens despite their huge sacrifices to the nation.
The group said that the outcome of the 2015 presidential election, in which President Jonathan, an Ijaw from the minority Niger Delta region was forced out of office through institutional and organised conspiracy, was a testament to the age-long view that Nigeria as a political entity merely existed in name.
Part of the statement reads: “Nigeria’s unity had been preserved by the petro-dollars from the massive crude oil in the Niger Delta region, whose people are ironically the least beneficiaries of their God-given wealth. While the inhabitants of the area are bearing the brunt of the destructive oil exploration and exploitation activities by the multinational firms, the proceeds are used to develop and industrialise other parts of the country that now regard the Niger Delta people as second class citizens.
“Yet, the people have exercised caution and refused to engage in actions capable of breaking up the country. This is not a sign of weakness, but sacrifice they’ve borne for decades even with the stark reality that the project called Nigeria is a total conspiracy against the Niger Delta.
Having maintained their peace for so long, the Niger Delta people should not be stretched beyond endurable limits. “It is glaring that the only reason why they were bent on removing Jonathan from office was because he is a minority from the South-south region who has become a stumbling block in their quest to perpetually control the oil wealth in the Niger Delta.
They are pained and angry because it was no longer business as usual, and perhaps, the resources, which they had brazenly starched away in local and foreign currency over the years had depleted to unimaginable level. “
Since it is all about oil politics, we shall ensure that those lusting to grab political power as a means towards amassing our oil wealth will no longer see a single drop of oil.
We shall henceforth take appropriate measures to ensure that our God-given wealth is protected from the grip of people who do not wish us well.”
The group sternly warned some unnamed APC top shots of South-south origin against further betrayal of the peoples’ cause, declaring that such moves would be met with “unpleasant consequences.”
Noting that the Amnesty programme for ex-Niger Delta agitators and particularly the NDDC, were major programmes that had facilitated human and infrastructural development of the South-south, the group asked emerging political gladiators from the region not to trade the collective hope of the people by angling to alter the present status and composition of the NDDC for their personal gains.
“After the last presidential elections, it is speculated that some political bigwigs from the South-south are already on the loose, angling to take charge of affairs of the NDDC as settlement for their contributions to the electoral success of the incoming government.
We pray that it is a mere rumour; otherwise, it would definitely attract some unpleasant consequences.
“In fact, the tensed mood and uncertainty that has enveloped the Niger Delta as a result of the “Card Rigger” official manipulation by INEC and its cohorts, will shatter the eerie peace in the entire region. People should not take the prevailing imaginary peace for granted”, the group warned.