Saturday, January 24, 2015 7:42 pm
Former Niger Delta militants, benefitting from huge multi-billion naira patronage from the Federal Government have vowed to ensure that President Goodluck Jonathan wins the February 14 presidential election.
Mr. Jonathan shares Ijaw ethnic kinship with the militants.
The former militants, who said any attempt to dethrone the President would be seen as a direct attack on the Ijaw nation, threatened to unleash violence on the country and take back Niger Delta oil should Mr. Jonathan lose re-election.
The former militant leaders took the position Friday in Government House, Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, at an enlarged meeting that was attended by all the former militant leaders and their followers across the Niger Delta region.
Governor Seriake Dickson, who chaired the meeting thanked the former militant leaders for their resolve to back the re-election of President Jonathan with greater vigour and assured them that he would relate their position to the President.
He urged them to resist the temptation of being recruited by the opposition to destabilize the state.
The governor also charged them to shun propaganda and blackmail.
He said the time had come for stakeholders and interest groups in the Niger Delta to pull resources together and work in one accord to ensure victory for the president in the February polls.
The governor described the re-election of the president as key to the development aspirations of the country in general and the Niger Delta in particular.
He said victory in the polls would afford the president the opportunity to consolidate on the achievements recorded in the various sectors of the economy.
Dickson condemned the attacks on the president’s convoy in two states.
He said that the opposition presidential candidate was allowed to campaign peacefully in Bayelsa and wondered why the same gesture was not extended to the president in Katsina, which is being controlled by a PDP governor.
“You are witnesses to how the opposition presidential candidate campaigned here and left peacefully without any form of molestation,” Dickson said.
He, however, called on the youth not to allow themselves to be deceived by empty promises and gifts from mischief makers.
According to him, such gifts and situations are not in the interest of the state and should be rejected.
“As youths and freedom fighters, I urge you to woo your neighbours beyond the Niger Delta region to ensure the re-election of the president,” Dickson said.
Seriake Dickson’s speech was perhaps the only temperate statement at the meeting, with the ex-militants threatening hell and brimstones should Jonathan fail to win re-election.
Addressing the meeting, Dokubo-Asari deplored the alleged intimidation being meted to the people of Ijaw stock in Nigeria, saying the people cannot take it any longer.
”For every Goliath, God created a David. For every Pharoah, there is a Moses. “We are going to war. Everyone of you should go and fortify yourself,’’ he said.
He advised those at the meeting to be ready for the battle ahead and declared that Mr. Jonathan would win reelection.
Mr. Dokubo-Asari, who condemned the attack on Jonathan in the north in the ongoing presidential campaigns, maintained that the survival of the Ijaw nation rests in the hands of the militants gathered at the meeting.
On his part, Boyloaf condemned the attack on President Jonathan in the north, saying nobody has the monopoly of violence.
He said there is nothing like one Nigeria, pointing out that oil is the only thing binding Nigeria’s diverse nationalities together.
While maintaining that President Jonathan would win the election, he however said if the north takes the power away from Mr. Jonathan, the people of the Niger Delta region would take their oil back.
He stressed the need for oneness of purpose among the people, urging them to keep their grudges aside and face the present challenges facing the Ijaw nation with solidarity.
”Keep grudges and sentiments apart. We are ready to match them bumper to bumper,” Boyloaf said.
Among those in attendance were Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, leader, Niger Delta Peoples Volunteer Force; Victor Ben Ebikabowei, aka, Boy Loaf; and Government Ekpudomenowei, aka, Tompolo.
Also in attendance were the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, and chairman of Amnesty Implementation Committee, Kingsley Kuku; Bayelsa state Governor, Seriake Dickson and his deputy; President General of Ijaw Youth Council, Udengs Eradiri.
*Condensed from reports by NAN and Premium Times