By Umoh-Obong Kingsley |
Leaders and stakeholders of ethnic nationalities in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, under the umbrella body of Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), has condemned in strong terms the involvement of security operatives, especially the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), in the country in active politics.
They said this during a consultative meeting by the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, with the leaders of the South-South region held at the Government House Banquet Hall, Uyo, over the weekend.
Reacting to the recent illegal invasion of the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly by five sacked APC lawmakers in support of the newly posted Commissioner for Police, Musa Kimo, PANDEF warned that they will not fold their arms and watch the region thrown into jeopardy.
The National Leader of PANDEF, Chief (Dr.) Edwin Clark, in his remarks, cautioned that it is the collective interest to ensure that the Niger Delta is not turned once again into a theater of war, and warned power mongers not to dare the will and resolve of the people to allowing peace to reign in the area.
He wondered how anyone could try to disturb and stampede the peace in a place such as Akwa Ibom State where the Governor is visibly high performing, well-loved and well respected by his people, adding that Governor Udom Emmanuel has done creditably well and continues to enjoy the resounding applause of the people.
As part of resolution during the meeting, the group under the chairmanship of former Military Governor of the State, Air Commodore, Otuekong Idongesit Nkanga, unanimously reechoed their demand for restructuring of Nigeria, true federalism, and reviewed the 16-Point Reformation Agenda earlier submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari.
It said restructuring of Nigeria and need for functional federalism became pertinent following the ugly scenarios and where the country finds itself, saying that “we must practice devolution of power, physical federalism and resource control as the only means of unity and peace in the country.”
The presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, who was duly represented by his vice and former governor of Abia State, Peter Obi, decried the absence of federal presence in the Niger Delta region since the APC took over the presidency despite the country being maintained and managed with greater part of resources drawn from the region.
Akwa Ibom State Governor, Mr. Udom Emmanuel, on his part, thanked PANDEF for projecting and protecting the interest of the Niger Delta region, and stated that he stands for restructuring of Nigeria and true federalism, noting that the load is too much on the foundation of country, which if not restructured, may collapse.
He said where Niger Delta goes, that is where Nigeria goes hence they should be well treated and not to be treated with the ‘Warsaw saw war’ threats.
Highpoint of the occasion was the inauguration of 14-man Akwa Ibom chapter of PANDEF with Sen. Etang Umoyo as Chairman.
The meeting had in attendance delegations from Bayelsa, Abia, Edo, Delta, Cross River, Rivers and the host, Akwa Ibom States.