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PANDEF, ex-minister canvass restructuring, insist Nigeria not working

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The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and First Republic Aviation Minister, Chief Mbazulike Amaechi, yesterday said restructuring of Nigeria was not negotiable, insisting that the country is not working.

The national chairman of PANDEF, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (rtd) while inaugurating the Delta State chapter of the body with Prof. G. G. Darah as chairman, said the country was like a 10-storey building standing on the foundation of a bungalow, adding that it would collapse naturally if the agitations to reset its foundation remain unheeded.

He said of the 16 point demands to the Federal Government, only one had been implemented albeit unconvincingly.

Nkanga flayed the Minister of State for Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Tayo Alasoadura, for blaming Niger Deltans for the underdevelopment of the region, maintaining that the area had been neglected for ages.

He tasked sons and daughters of the region to develop it, saying ironically that the most developed areas in Nigeria today do not produce oil, yet built with oil wealth.

The retired Air Force officer backed the forensic audit of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), urging the naming of errant contractors.

He challenged the chapter to work hard for development without fear or favour.

The national leader, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, who was represented by erstwhile Minister of Police Affairs, Alowei Broderick Bozimo, said he was proud that all the ethnic groups were represented in the pioneer Delta PANDEF executive committee, adding that the era of infighting was over in the region.

In his remarks, Amaechi urged the citizens to embark on non-violent protests to compel the Federal Government to set in motion the process to rejig the polity.

The nonagenarian, who spoke yesterday in Enugu during the 20th anniversary symposium of the Igbo Youth Movement (IYM), posited that elitist groups such as Afenifere, Ohanaeze Ndigbo, PANDEF, and Middle Belt organisations do not have the capacity to compel the powers that be to agree to restructure, stressing that it would require persistent and peaceful demonstrations.

His words: “The pious resolutions of Ohanaeze/Afenifere and others are like whispering advice to a deaf ear. Only action, peaceful non-violent, non-provocative action will force a coming together of the leaders and politicians. Youths and people of the present age give the impression that they are indolent, lazy, cowardly, unpatriotic, in nationalistic and even mercenary.”

Meanwhile, the Africa Polling Institute (API) has released the Nigeria Social Cohesion Survey report, which among other findings, revealed that Nigeria is not a socially cohesive country, and as such, the government needs to promote oneness, trust, equity, inclusion and hope for the future.

The nationwide survey was to measure social cohesion in the most populous black nation.

A total of 7,901 respondents were contacted, with 5,019 interviews completed to a response rate of 63.5 per cent of respondents who were 18 years and above.


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