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We Are Backing Commitment To Niger-Delta With Actions – FG

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President Muhammadu Buhari

Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja.

The Federal Government says it is backing its commitment to the Niger Delta region with necessary actions that would lead to the implementation of the President Muhammadu Buhari’s New Vision for the region.

It has also assured that the New Vision for the region would create a future of success and prosperity for the region.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on the Niger Delta Region, Edobor Iyamu, gave the assurance at a one-day capacity building workshop for the media, Civil Society Organisations and staff of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs) at the State House Auditorium, Abuja.

The theme of the workshop was: “Niger Delta New Vision: Partnership for regional development & Nation-building.”

“Not only is the government committed, it is backing all of its commitment with the necessary action and steps that need to be taken,” Mr Iyamu said.

He said that one of the licensed modular refineries in Delta State was about 70 per cent completed, while works on the one in Rivers State was progressing.

Among other projects, Iyamu listed that were currently ongoing in the region in line with the Niger Delta New Vision, were the Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State, and the Ogoni Cleanup.

Iyamu said the Federal Government had also demonstrated its commitment to the Niger Delta with a consistent increase in budgetary allocations to the region in the last three years.

“Today, the budget of the Ministry of the Niger Delta Affairs has been increased.  The budget of the NNDC has also been increased. The budget for NDDC has also been increased.”

Also, following that meeting with elders in the region, in 2017, on behalf of the President, the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, undertook a tour of oil producing communities in the region. The President Buhari administration’s New Vision for the Niger Delta was, thus, birthed.

According to Mr Iyamu, the Niger Delta New vision was “designed to promote development in the region through a forthright partnership between the Federal Government, state government, the private sector and the local community.”

He said the New Vision was also designed to positively change the narrative of failed promises and abandoned projects and creates a future of success and prosperity which the people of the region so earnestly deserve.

He restated Vice President Yemi Osinbajo’s assertion during his engagements with leaders and stakeholders in the region last year that the people of the Niger Delta deserved more than they were getting.

Senior Special Assistant to the President on Infrastructure, Imeh Okon, said the key to what government was doing in the Niger Delta was to complete all abandoned projects in the region.

In the words of Okon, “You don’t start something and then you abandon it where you have limited resources. “You need to finish it and be able to leverage on the resources that you deployed on that project in the first place.”

She said the government was working to ensure that all projects with strategic developmental impact were completed.

“And then we also look at new projects that have the impact that would be linked to those existing projects.  So, we can also fund those projects.  But the key is that we are no longer abandoning projects.”

Participants at the workshop were given an overview of the Strategic Implementation Work Plan (SIWP) of the Niger Delta New Vision.

They were also taken through the communication strategy of the SIWP to stakeholders in the Niger Delta and the role of Civil Society organisations in the region.

There was also a session on partnering towards regional development and nation building.

In November 2016, in a move to address concerns in the region and see to its development, President Muhammadu Buhari held a meeting with Niger Delta leaders under the aegis of Pan-Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF.

PANDEF made a 16-point demand to the Federal Government which was subsequently captured in the FG’s 20-point agenda to develop the region. (The Sun)

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Buhari Sacks Boroh As Amnesty Coordinator, Asks NSA To Probe Him |RN

Paul-Boroh
                                          Paul Boroh

…asks NSA to probe him

Olalekan Adetayo, Abuja

President Muhammadu Buhari on Tuesday sacked his Special Adviser on Niger Delta and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brig.-Gen. Paul Boroh (retd.).

In a statement by his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr Femi Adesina, the President also named Prof. Charles Dokubo as his replacement.

In addition to his sack, Buhari also directed the National Security Adviser, Babagana Monguno, to carry out a full investigation into the activities of the Amnesty Programme from 2015 to date.

The President said the investigation should focus on allegations of financial impropriety and other acts that are allegedly detrimental to the objectives of the programme.

The statement read, “President Muhammadu Buhari has approved the appointment of Professor Charles Quaker Dokubo as the new Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme for former Niger Delta militants.

He replaces Brig.-Gen. Paul Boroh (retd.).

“Prof. Dokubo is currently Director of Research and Studies at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs. He holds a PhD in Strategic Studies from the University of Bradford, United Kingdom, and hails from Abonema, Akuku-Toru Local Government of Rivers State.

“Meanwhile, the President directs the National Security Adviser to carry out a full investigation into the activities of the Amnesty Programme from 2015 to date, especially allegations of financial impropriety and other acts that are allegedly detrimental to the objectives of the Presidential Amnesty Programme.” (Punch)

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Niger Delta Militant Leader Warns FG Against Proposed Amnesty Termination

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File Photo: Niger Delta Militants

Ijaw youths defend Buhari, Boroh on PAP

Ben Dunno, Warri and Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa

 

A former militant leader, Ambassador Kingsley Muturu, has urged the Federal Government not to terminate the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP).
He urged the Federal Government to relocate oil facilities out of the Niger Delta region should it go ahead to implement the proposal to terminate the PAP by the end of this year.
Speaking in his capacity as the Chairman, Amnesty Phase 11 in Delta State, Muturu said the ex-militants’ opposition to the planned termination was based on the fact that the federal government must have been wrongly advised on the proposal considering the negative consequences it might have on the peace so far being enjoyed in the region.
According to him, “the ideal of peace and development of the Niger Delta for which late President Musa Umar Yar’Adua laudably offered and implemented the Amnesty programme remain far from being achieved.
“With the groundswell of anger in the land, we wish to serve notice that we cannot guarantee the safety of oil installations in the Niger Delta should the federal government go ahead to implement this proposal.
“Accordingly, before terminating the PAP, we advise the federal government to relocate all oil facilities from the Niger Delta to another safer haven.
“This advice is intended to avert consequences of military deployment by the federal government which unfortunately believes more in thrust of physical force to spill blood of innocent people of the oil-bearing communities in the Niger Delta.
“Instead of leveraging on relative peace in the Niger Delta from leadership interventions for development and reintegration of ex-militants with jobs.
He alleged that the amnesty programme suffered declining fortunes under General Paul Boroh who was arm-twisted by agents of the federal government to the detriment of Niger Deltans.
Muturu further alleged that politicians and bad advisers were preventing Boroh from meeting with leaders of the militants for which the programme was designed.
Meanwhile, Ijaw youths from nine states of the Niger Delta region yesterday rose in defence of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Implantation Committee Brigadier General Paul Boroh dismissing allegations of shoddy implementation of the presidential amnesty programme.
The Ijaw youths, who are members of Serving and Leading Without Bitterness (SLWB), in a statement signed by Nature Keighe, Paulinus Albany and Teke Iyala, said the funding and implementation is paying off with the existing peace in the region.
According them, though the criticism of the present administration and Boroh was due to the alleged fraudulent attitude of some officials of the amnesty office, implementation of the programme in the region under the Buhari administration is on course.
They, however, warned that despite the performance of the administration, cases, such as the alleged short changing and depriving qualified beneficiaries, will throw spanner in the wheel of progress of the Amnesty Implementation Committee.
The statement read in part: “The fragile peace being enjoyed in the region is due to the fulfilment of the promises made by President Buhari and the doggedness of the Amnesty Implementation Committee, headed by Boroh to use our scarce resources to execute training, post-training and educational advancement since the administration started funding the programme. But when some persons at the helm of authority starts playing to the gallery for immediate gains, it may scuttle the  good works of President Buhari in the Amnesty office and Niger Delta region and plunge it into another round of pandemonium if immediate  steps are not taken.”

terminate the PAP by the end of this year.
Speaking in his capacity as the Chairman, Amnesty Phase 11 in Delta State, Muturu said the ex-militants’ opposition to the planned termination was based on the fact that the federal government must have been wrongly advised on the proposal considering the negative consequences it might have on the peace so far being enjoyed in the region.
According to him, “the ideal of peace and development of the Niger Delta for which late President Musa Umar Yar’Adua laudably offered and implemented the Amnesty programme remain far from being achieved.
“With the groundswell of anger in the land, we wish to serve notice that we cannot guarantee the safety of oil installations in the Niger Delta should the federal government go ahead to implement this proposal.
“Accordingly, before terminating the PAP, we advise the federal government to relocate all oil facilities from the Niger Delta to another safer haven.
“This advice is intended to avert consequences of military deployment by the federal government which unfortunately believes more in thrust of physical force to spill blood of innocent people of the oil-bearing communities in the Niger Delta.
“Instead of leveraging on relative peace in the Niger Delta from leadership interventions for development and reintegration of ex-militants with jobs.
He alleged that the amnesty programme suffered declining fortunes under General Paul Boroh who was arm-twisted by agents of the federal government to the detriment of Niger Deltans.
Muturu further alleged that politicians and bad advisers were preventing Boroh from meeting with leaders of the militants for which the programme was designed.
Meanwhile, Ijaw youths from nine states of the Niger Delta region yesterday rose in defence of the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari and the Chairman of the Presidential Amnesty Implantation Committee Brigadier General Paul Boroh dismissing allegations of shoddy implementation of the presidential amnesty programme.
The Ijaw youths, who are members of Serving and Leading Without Bitterness (SLWB), in a statement signed by Nature Keighe, Paulinus Albany and Teke Iyala, said the funding and implementation is paying off with the existing peace in the region.
According them, though the criticism of the present administration and Boroh was due to the alleged fraudulent attitude of some officials of the amnesty office, implementation of the programme in the region under the Buhari administration is on course.
They, however, warned that despite the performance of the administration, cases, such as the alleged short changing and depriving qualified beneficiaries, will throw spanner in the wheel of progress of the Amnesty Implementation Committee.
The statement read in part: “The fragile peace being enjoyed in the region is due to the fulfilment of the promises made by President Buhari and the doggedness of the Amnesty Implementation Committee, headed by Boroh to use our scarce resources to execute training, post-training and educational advancement since the administration started funding the programme. But when some persons at the helm of authority starts playing to the gallery for immediate gains, it may scuttle the  good works of President Buhari in the Amnesty office and Niger Delta region and plunge it into another round of pandemonium if immediate  steps are not taken.”  (The Sun)

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$1b To Fight Boko Haram War: Gov. Wike Demands Special Fund For Niger Delta

682d4-urhobo2bmilitants

* Fayose absent at governors’ meeting, says Zamfara governor

…...Fayose cannot query us over $1b approved

Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike has declared that the APC-Federal Government must as a matter of urgency release funds for tackling issues of environmental degradation and security in the Niger Delta. 

Governor Wike said while he would not condemn the release of $1billion to tackle Boko Haram, the environmental and security challenges  in the Niger Delta far outweigh the Boko Haram conflict. 

The governor spoke during the Annual General Meeting of Okpo Club of Nigeria (Association of Ikwerre Lawyers) yesterday in Port Harcourt. 

He requested the APC, Federal Government to release the derivation component of the Excess Crude to the oil producing states  of the Niger Delta.

He said: “Niger Delta environmental problems are as serious as the Boko Haram Insurgency. I am not saying that you should not fight Boko Haram. 

“If you can get funds from the national pool to tackle  Boko Haram, then you should go to the pool to get funds to fight environmental problems in Ogoni and other Niger Delta communities.”

Commenting  on politics in Rivers State, Governor Wike urged all ethnic nationalities to work together to fast track development in the state. 

He said no ethnic nationality in the state could succeed without others, hence the need for greater cooperation at all levels.

The governor also called on the people of the state to always work for relevance in the political  terrain of the country so that the state could attract development.

Former NBA President , Chief Onueze Okocha (SAN), commended Governor Wike  for his commitment  to the  development of the state. 

He assured him of the support of Ikwerre lawyers as he worked for the people of Rivers State. 

Chairman of Okpo Club of Nigeria, Mr Chukwuma Chinwo said the club would continue to mobilise Ikwerre lawyers for the development of the area.

Former Rivers State Governor, Sir Celestine Omehia said the Association of Ikwerre Lawyers had grown over the years to become a catalyst for development. 

Highpoint of the occasion was the celebration of the birthday of the Rivers State governor by members of the Association of Ikwerre lawyers.

 

Fayose absent at govs’ meeting –Zamfara gov

…Says, ‘Ekiti gov can’t query us’

From Juliana

Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja

The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum, Alhaji Abdulazeez Yari, has reacted to Governor of Ekiti State, Ayodele Fayose, criticism of $1 billion approved by the forum to aid the fight of insurgency in the north east.

He said contrary to Fayose’s reaction it was endorsed by all the governors present because they saw reason, adding that if the Ekiti Governor was present at the meeting, he would have seen the wisdom in the decision.

Fayose, had alleged that the $1 billion to be withdrawn from the Excess Crude Account, and ploughed into the battle with insurgency is a ruse, but money that would rather go for President Muhammadu Buhari’s campaigns for 2019 presidential election.

Fayose in a statement signed by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, said: “Since they said they have defeated Boko Haram, what else do they need a whopping sum of $1 billion (over N360 billion) for, if not to fund the 2019 elections? For posterity’s sake, I wish to place it on record that I was not among the governors who approved the withdrawal of almost half of our savings in the Excess Crude Account, which belongs to the three tiers of government to fight an already defeated insurgency,” he declared.

But Yari Abubakar, who is also Governor of Zamfara State, in his reaction explained that the decision, to allow the Federal Government to access the amount was a collective one by the Forum, and that absenteeism from the meeting does not exculpate anyone from responsibility from the Forum’s resolutions.

“I am saying that, that statement was an unfair cut against the Forum,” Governor Yari Abubakar said, “when a decision is taken by the Forum in one’s absence, once there was a quorum at the meeting where the decision was taken, it becomes binding on all. I am sure Fayose was not making the statement to undermine the Forum. He was just doing his thing”.

The NGF Chairman rationalized that the decision was a conscious sign by the two parties to show the synergy between the NGF and the Presidency, which ought not to be politicized, but consolidated. “This same lack of unity between governors and the presidency had brought about poor governance in the past, throughout the country and now that we are working together no one should constitute a wedge in the process.”

He added that “you can never spend too much on security because the safety of lives and property are the most cardinal among all the principles of governance, in any democracy.”

Governor Yari Abubakar said that the issue of drawing from the ECA was very broadly deliberated at the Forum’s meeting on the eve of the National Economic Council meeting where the decision was taken. “If Governor Fayose was there at the meeting, he would have seen the wisdom in the decision. Yes, the administration is claiming to have decimated the insurgents out of Sambisa Forest but they are reemerging in different flashpoints across the country. They need to be tackled wherever they are and the NGF decided to support the Presidency just as it (The Presidency) had been supporting states with their own problems,” Governor Yari Abubakar argued.

The Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum who spoke on the phone from Zamfara even contemplates addressing a world press conference on the matter to clear the air, and show how seriously we cherish human lives.

“Governor Fayose is on his own. We have to protect our people and we have to do it with everything we have,” Governor AbdulAziz Yari Abubakar emphasized, adding that “let me reemphasize one more thing, Mr President is a responsible and honest leader who does not believe in money politics and he would never divert public resources into it.”

In the same vein, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has also thrown its weight behind the governors’ decision to withdraw $1 billion from the Excess Crude Account to fight Boko Haram insurgency in the North-East region. The APC-led federal government and the governors who had come under severe attacks from the opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the governor of Ekiti State, Ayo Fayose, has in a text message from the National Publicity Secretary of the party, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, said that the ruling party solidly backs the governors’ decision.

Obviously replying to a text message on the 2019 hidden intent of the fund, the party’s spokesperson said: “The governors have responded. I don’t have anything to add.”        (The Sun)

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Ibe Kachikwu, Niger Delta And The Scions Of Usman Dan Fodio, By Charles Ogbu |RN

Kachikwu-Baru

By Charles Ogbu.

I’ve said it before and it bears repeating now, President Muhammadu Buhari is an incurable ethnoreligious Jingoist and a Fulani supremacist with a feudal mindset. As far as he’s concerned, the North, specifically the Fulanis, owns Nigeria with the whole South as a conquered territory.

When a Fulani Muslim or any Northerner is involved in corruption, Buhari views that the exact way a man views the action of a son who takes his father’s money which is his by the right as the son of the father. But when a southerner is suspected of corruption, Buhari sees that with the anger a slave master feels when a mere slave steals from him.

Examples abound:

Till today, Buhari has continued to swear that Abacha did not steal. Dasuki is not in prison for any 2billion dollars arms fund. He’s in jail for his role in booting the Daura born ex-soldier (Buhari) out of office in 1985. In Olisah Metuh’s trial, he was handcuffed and his request to go treat a spinal cord problem abroad denied even when former Kano state governor, Attahiru Baffarawa, facing the same charge, was allowed to go pray in Mecca for one whole month.

The case of Ibe Kachikwu is a further testament to the criminal disdain which the Sons of Danfodio hold for all Southerners.

Make no mistake, Ibe Kachikwu’s humiliation in the hands of the Feudalists IS NOT an isolated case. If you think it is, then you are mistaken.

As I type this, vice President Yemi Osinbajo is going through worse indignity at the hands of Abba Kyari and co. Most of the things he says like when he described those asking for Restructuring as hungry people looking for appointment etc, were not his thought. Ngige, Ogbonnaya Onu and every Southern minister in Buhari government is passing through one humiliation or the other in the hands of Arewa men who ordinarily are not qualified to hold their bag.

They were all given an unwritten option which is to either be in office as obedient slaves creating the impression that there is a regional balance in the appointment and be collecting salaries with the attendant humiliation or resign. And because they are all integrity-challenged men with no principle, they accepted the former.

The only reason Kachikwu is still in office is just to keep maintaining the lie that Niger Delta is represented in Buhari’s government so the Creek boys will keep being deceived.

The day Buhari took the AK47 assault rifle from Kachikwu (NNPC Director) and handed him a catapult without even a stone (junior Petroleum minister) was the day he should have resigned if he had any honour in him.

Buhari is the Petroleum minister. Baru is the NNPC boss. As I type this, a mega power project has been launched in Kaduna for the Northern region. Rail-lines connecting the North to the even Niger Republic are in progress. Northeast Development Commission is heavily funded. VAT, which is sourced mainly from Alcohol, has a special % going to the North even when alcohol is banned in the Sharia North. Last week, there was a report in the Guardian that NNPC compels firms to pay a monthly sum of 100million to fund Northern projects.

Meanwhile, in the Niger Delta region, Ibe Kachikwu’s region, the main region producing the oil, what you will be greeted with is an environment unfit for even non-living things. No good water for fishing or drinking, no clean air to breathe, no land to farm on, no nothing!

All because of oil exploration in the region.

Nature blessed you with oil. But all you have to show for it are pains, miseries and death while those who do not have even a litter of “condemned” oil in their land are the ones owning all the oil wells in your own backyard and using them to develop their place and still treating your sons and daughters like subhumans.

An Ibrahim from Sokoto can own oil blocks in the Niger Delta and make billions without doing any work but if a Tompolo from Niger Delta gets a contract to secure oil pipeline in the same Niger Delta, he will be hunted like a common thief and his father brutalized, leading to his death.

Yet, we are all busy chasing shadows.

How far about Ogoni Clean-up, the same Ogoni struggle for which Ken Saro Wiwa and others were hanged?? After deceiving the people with noise about cleaning up Ogoni, the Oligarchs simply turned to their own region.

If the Niger Delta youths do not force the Caliphate to clean up their region now and develop it with the same zeal with which Lagos and Abuja were developed, is it when oil loses its value that they will do it??

In no distant time, even if the oil hasn’t dried up then, it will no longer be the beautiful bride it is today, considering that most countries are turning to the alternative source of energy far removed from the oil. When that time comes, you can be sure the Core North will have finished developing her region. The question is, what will be the condition of the Niger Delta region then?? We can all guess correctly, can’t we?

Those of you sitting quietly and waiting for Nigeria to be restructured so you can all take control of your resources, you are on a very long thing. The North WILL NEVER allow for any genuine Restructuring without a well-coordinated RADICAL push from the South. And you can NEVER get Restructuring through the existing constitutional framework. Even if you borrow lawmakers from 2 or 3 states in the North and add to the entire federal lawmakers from the South, you will not get up to the 2/3 required to change the atrocious apartheid manual masquerading as the 1999 constitution.

So I ask, how does the Restructuring group intend to get it?

Those of you who think Buhari’s unsettled but unsettling grudges and unmitigated hatred is for the Igbos alone, you are grievously mistaken. Down South, we are all Dwarfs in the eye of the “Giant” Fulani supremacists even when “Height Enhancer” is ours by right. Ndigbo are not even the shortest of the Dwarfs.

Any southern tribe boasting of having a better deal in Nigeria than the other is as criminally moronic as a Dwarf boasting of being taller than a fellow Dwarf instead of striving to be the Giant which he’s created to be.

Shame isn’t it??

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Ohanaeze, Niger Delta Leaders Back Yoruba’s Demand For Regional Gov’t |RN

Yoruba-Summit-on-restructuring

Cross section of Yoruba leaders at summit supporting restructuring

Olufemi Atoyebi, Ibadan

The umbrella body for the Igbo, the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, and leaders of the Niger Delta joined leaders of the South-West in Ibadan on Thursday, where they demanded a return to regional government in Nigeria.

The Yoruba Summit, held in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital, was convened to deliberate on the position of the Yoruba on restructuring and the future of Nigeria.

The summit was attended by Yoruba leaders, South-West governors, traditional leaders, lawmakers, Yoruba socio-cultural groups, professional bodies, various Yoruba youth groups and leaders of various groups from the South-East and the South-South.

The South-South and South-East leaders and groups, who said they came to offer solidarity to the Yoruba’s position on restructuring, came in large numbers and added colour to the event with their traditional performers.

In the 16-point communiqué, dubbed Ibadan Declaration, which was signed by the summit chairman, Chief Afe Babalola (SAN), and the Chairman of the Planning Committee, Dr. Kunle Olajide, and read by National Publicity Secretary of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, the Yoruba elders stated that Nigeria must return to proper federation as obtained in the 1960 and 1963 constitutions.

They stressed that this had been the position of the zone since the 1950 Ibadan Conference.

The communiqué read, The “Yoruba are clear that restructuring does not mean different things to different people other than that a multi-ethnic country like Nigeria can only know real peace and development if it is run only along federal lines.

“The greatest imperative of restructuring Nigeria is to move from the money-sharing anti-development economy to productivity, by ensuring that the federating units are free to own and develop their resources while they pay an agreed sum to the federation purse to implement certain services.

“The federating units, whether states, zones or regions must be governed by a written constitution to curb impunity at all levels. Nigeria shall be a federation comprising six regions and a federal capital territory in Abuja.”

The summit proposed that in the new arrangement, the Federal Government could make laws and only have power in relations to items specified on the exclusive list contained in the constitution of the federation.

It added, “Each region shall have its own constitution, containing enumerated exclusive and concurrent lists. Contiguous territory, ethnic nationalities and settlements shall be at liberty, through a plebiscite to elect to be part of a region other than the region which the current system has.

“The power to create state shall be within the exclusive power of the region provided a plebiscite is conducted following the request by the agreed percentage of the ethnic nationality within the state.

“The power to create local government and assign functions to them shall be vested in the state.

“States shall be entitled to manage all resources found within their boundaries and the revenue accrued thereof. The sharing ratio of all revenues shall be 50 per cent to the state, 35 per cent to the regional government and 15 per cent to the federation.”

At the summit, the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi, urged Yoruba elders to be honest and place the future of the youth ahead of every consideration. He said it was the only way to preserve and strengthen the Yoruba race.

The monarch said, “I thank God for this forum; He is God forever. He made the Yoruba people leaders of the human race.

“My appeal is that we should all approach restructuring with honesty. We should separate politics from it because of the future of our youths. Out of 10 people in Nigeria, seven are in the youth brackets. We should be firm in our pursuit and let peace reign in our agitation.

“With peace, we can get what we want. Patience can earn us everything we want. We should place the future of Yoruba youths in front and not selfish interest.”

Yoruba problems are the leaders, says Fayose

But the Ekiti State Governor Ayodele Fayose, at the summit, alleged that Yoruba elders were the problem of the region because they failed in their duty to protect their own people.

He said, “People can only discard my voice but they cannot throw me away. Our forefathers in Yoruba land tried their best but the present Yoruba elders are our problem. This is our fathers’ land and they must defend it.

“We have had great meetings like this that were held in the past and which were attended by Yoruba elders, but after the meetings, the so-called elders would approach the media and said we do not need restructuring. This does not make any sense.

“The war against Yoruba land is from within. We have selfish elders in the land. Through the period when one of our elders ruled Nigeria, he never deemed it fit to honour Chief M. K. O. Abiola, who died fighting the cause of Yoruba people.

“We are fighting for a just cause now but this man will appear on the television and say restructuring is not the way. He put us in the position we are today.”

Fayose said he supported the position of the forum and that there was no alternative to a return to regionalism.

He said, “I align myself with what our elders have said but they must fight without fear if we have to move forward. God will help you. There is no alternative to regionalism.

“You cannot blame the governors who are not here because our present leaders have turned themselves to Lions. When the governors want to talk, they roar at them to keep them quiet.”

In his own contribution, a former Minister of Aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode, called on the Yoruba elders to prepare for an agitation for the Oduduwa Republic if the restructuring was not possible.

“If we cannot have regional restructuring, let us prepare ourselves for the Oduduwa Republic. That is the thinking of the majority of our people but as a first step, let us demand to restructure.

“We appeal to the Federal Government, all political leaders and all parties, let us restructure this country and devolve powers to the regions. Give us the power to live our lives.

“Nobody can suppress the Yoruba people, nobody stops us; we are the sons of Oduduwa and we shall go forth.”

But the national coordinator, Oodu Peoples Congress, Gani Adams, noted at the summit that it would be dangerous to call for devolution of powers to the states, arguing that it could lead to the disintegration of the Yoruba states.

Adams said, “To devolve power to the states is dangerous for the Yoruba states. This is because if for example, Lagos has the power to be on its own, after having its own constitution, police and other things, it will one day tell Ogun State that it does not want anything to do with it since it already has what it wants. This can also apply to other states in the region.

“What we want is to go back to regionalism. From the beginning of history, Yoruba has always been a pacesetter. They should not set us backwards.  What we need is restructuring based on the regional line.”

Among the Yoruba socio-cultural groups at the meeting was the Yoruba Liberation Command, which said restructuring was too late to save the nation. According to the group’s spokesperson, George Akinola, the Yoruba have been trampled upon in the Nigeria arrangement.

He believed that it was time to gain independence.

“We are serious about our demands. Every region has its agitation. Nigeria is the impediment to the development of the Oduduwa Republic.

“We had television before France and radio before South Africa. Look at where we are today. Restructuring is what we need and we are talking to our leaders,” he added.

South-East supports Yoruba position –Nwodo

Meanwhile, Nwodo, who led the South-East delegation to the summit, said Nigerians, especially, people in the Southern part, were being ruled by a set of documents they were not a party to.

According to him, it was time for every region to dictate its level of development as it was in the regional system of the past.

The Ohanaeze president-general added, “I am here with a large delegation to emphasise the Ndigbo solidarity with this occasion. What is happening today shows that democracy has begun to grow in Nigeria.

“Is it right to be ruled by a document that you are not a party to? What we are saying today is that the people of Nigeria must have a say in the way they are governed. It is not only the Yoruba that is saying it; we, the Igbo, are saying it loud and clear. Many people have tried to destroy restructuring by saying that it is a ploy by Southern Nigeria to monopolise the God-given mineral resources in the area. Those who are doing this do not love Nigeria.

“The Netherlands is the 18th richest country in the world. Its agricultural export every year comes to $100bn. The Netherlands has 34,000 square kilometres but Niger State in Nigeria has 73,000 kilometres. If Netherlands can export $100bn worth of agricultural produce, Nigeria should be able to do more in million folds.

“In a restructured Nigeria, only those who can till their land and produce food will be rich. All parts of Nigeria are endowed with agricultural resources.

“California is the largest economy in the world, yet, it is only one state in the United States. California has given birth to richest companies in the world whose founders grew from universities in California. If you give the people the power to develop themselves, they will do well.

“Education knows no boundaries, I was taught by Yoruba professors and today, I can mimic the Yoruba intellectual powers.

“I want to tell you that we support your motion for the restructuring of Nigeria.”

Also, the leader of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, Albert Horsfall, said Nigeria’s structure was lopsided, stating that it gave undue advantage to a set of people to be at the saddle because of questionable population figure that remained unproven.

Horsfall stated, “The whole issue of restructuring depends on the control of what you or your soil produces. We in the South-South have, for several decades, provided the engine room that runs Nigeria but we are still expecting to be given the privilege to run our own affairs. That is the restructuring that we are talking about.

“The rest of us in the south speak with one voice over restructuring. We believe in one Nigeria but every country must do something and contribute something to the nation. We do not want a system called federalism but based on a unitary system of government.

“If you go to the Niger Delta today, despite the fact that we lay the golden egg, our people are still agitating. We are not mad; we are agitating because history repeats itself.

“The issue of restructuring must start with resource control. That is what we believe. We support the Yoruba motion in its entirety. The sage, Chief Awolowo is closely related to politics with my father, who was also a leader of the Action Group. We have an affinity with the Yoruba and that is why we are here to speak in acknowledgement of what the Yoruba people are doing today.”

OPC factions clash at Ibadan summit

Meanwhile, some members, belonging to two factions of the OPC, clashed shortly after the end of the Yoruba Summit on restructuring at the Lekan Salami Stadium, in the Adamasingba area of Ibadan.

Tension began to rise at the venue of the event when a faction of the group alleged that it was not recognised or given an opportunity to contribute to the discussion after one of the factional leaders, Gani Adams, made his contribution.

Although elders present at the venue kept the peace, the animosity grew and degenerated into a fight outside the stadium.

Our correspondent learned that there were casualties on both sides after they opened fire on themselves and used dangerous weapons during the street fight.

It was also learnt that the National Public Relations Officer of the Reformed Oodua group, Adeshina Akinpelu, was critically injured after he was hit in the head with heavy stones.

A call to his mobile was answered by an aide who said he was in a critical condition and receiving treatment at the Police Hospital, inside the Oyo State Police Command Headquarters, Eleyele, Ibadan.

The Police Public Relations Officer of the command, Adekunle Ajisebutu, confirmed the clash to our correspondent

He said, “Two OPC groups clashed and one person was injured. No death was recorded and police have restored normalcy.

“No arrest has been made but we are working hard to arrest those who participated in the clash. The injured person, who was treated at the Police Hospital, has been discharged.”   (Punchng.com)

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Niger Delta Militants Withdraw Quit Notice To Yoruba, Northerners |RN

• Dump declaration of Republic October 1

From Fred Itua, Abuja

Niger Delta militants have formally withdrawn the quit notice handed down to northerners and Yoruba who reside in the oil-producing region.

Rising from a meeting on Wednesday, the militants, in a U-turn, declared their support for the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), whose leadership they had earlier disowned, to lead the region in ongoing negotiations with the Federal Government.

The agitators also announced the suspension of planned attacks on the oil installations in the region, while putting aside intention to declare a Republic of Niger Delta on October 1, 2017.

In a communique issued at the end of the meeting, a coalition of the agitators, led by General John Duku, said the withdrawal of the quit notice, among other threats, was sequel to PANDEF’s intervention and Nigeria Ethnic Nationality Youth Leaders Forum (NENYLF), led by acting National Chairman, Imoh Okoko.

Those who signed the statement included General John Duku (Niger Delta Watchdogs and convener, Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators); General Ekpo Ekpo (Niger Delta Volunteers); General Osarolor Nedam (Niger Delta Warriors); Major General Henry Okon Etete (Niger Delta Peoples Fighters); Major General Asukwo Henshaw (Bakassi Freedom Fighters) and Major General Ibinabo Horsfall (Niger Delta Movement for Justice).

Others were Major General Duke Emmanson (Niger Delta Fighters Network); Major General Inibeghe Adams (Niger Delta Freedom Mandate); Major General Abiye Tariah (Niger Delta Development Network); Major General Joshua Ebere (Renewed Movement for Emancipation of Niger Delta); Major General Jeremiah Anthony (Movement for Actualisation of Niger Delta Republic); Major Francis Okoroafor (Niger Delta Freedom Redemption Army) and Colonel Nelson Okochi Walter. (The Sun)

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