A coalition of Niger-Delta activists under the aegis of Vanguards of Nigeria’s Democracy (VND) on Saturday said it has uncovered clandestine moves by President Muhammadu Buhari and the All Progressives Congress to probe the administration of ex-president Goodluck Jonathan and send him to prison on trumped-up charges.
A statement issued by the spokesperson of VND, Mr. Osaghae Ogiemudia, in Abuja said recent events in the country have revealed that the Buhari’s regime was out to deal with the Niger-Delta people, especially the Ijaw ethnic group in Nigeria.
According to them, the plot to imprison Jonathan has been perfected with the ongoing controversy over Excess Crude Account and the allegation levelled against the immediate-past Minister of Finance/Coordinating Minister of the Economy, Dr. (Mrs) Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala by Edo State governor, Adams Oshiomhole.
The full statement reads:
We the members of the Vanguards of Nigeria’s Democracy (VND) wish to call the attention of the Federal Government led by President Muhammadu Buhari to the unsavory and patently repugnant action by the APC led federal government, especially the anti-Niger Delta and the anti-Ijaw posturing of the APC led administration. We believe the anti-Niger and anti-Ijaw posturing is against democracy, good governance, equity and good conscience.
1. There is no gainsaying the fact that the most liberal political parties that has ever ruled Nigeria is the Peoples Democratic Party. The political Party demonstrated this in terms of appointments in line with the federal character principle, of key appointments, which cut across ethnic, religious and geographical barrier. This is why most objective analysts described the PDP as a national Party in terms of spread, popular support in all geo-political zones, appointments and structures. The former President Dr, Goodluck Jonathan even conceded defeat to President Muhammadu Buhari even before the presidential election results were formally declared by the Independent National Electoral Commission. This is the climax of political maturity and the aura of good governance and political sportsmanship, which the PDP radiated in the political landscape of the nation. Unfortunately the All Progressive Congress, APC does not have these liberal characteristics. The APC, within the short period it has been in office has demonstrated that it is not only anti-Niger Delta, but acutely anti-Ijaw in nature.
2. The anti-Niger Delta and anti-Ijaw posturing of the Party has been demonstrated in several ways. No sooner the APC led administration took office that the Director General of the State Security Service – Mr. Bassey a minority man from the Niger Delta was relieved of his appointment. No reason was given for the action. In his place a Fulani man was appointed. Mr. Lawal who is in an acting capacity demoted Ms. Marilyn Ogar another Niger Delta Director. The reasons of the demotion are still shrouded in mystery.
3. Then President Buhari unilaterally cancelled the waterway surveillance and security contract awarded to the Delta-born Ijaw peace maker Mr. Government Tompolo. For those who know, this contract has drastically reduced oil theft, oil bunkering and violation of oil facilities in the Niger Delta waterways. The award of the contract was necessitated by the incessant cases of oil theft, bunkering and destruction of oil facilities.
4. The Amnesty students have written to President Muhammadu Buhari to keep the Amnesty Programme running because the well-being of Niger Delta Children is at stake. Let it be noted that the Programme was introduced by a Northerner President Umar Musa Yar’Adua from the same State with President Muhammadu Buhari to reduce militancy in the Niger Delta Region, which provides the foreign exchange of Nigeria. Part of the letter written to the President reads: “We are the 3,063 students/beneficiaries of the Special Educational Scholarship under the Niger Delta Presidential Amnesty program run by the Office of the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta. We have not received our allowances for upkeep and Accommodation for 3 months and we are now destitute in large numbers all over the world; United Kingdom 625 students, South Africa 69 students, United States 275 students, Malaysia 180 students, Philippines 50 students, Russia 45students, Belarus 53 students, Dubai 23 students and the rest are spread all over the globe from Grenada to Australia. That the acting head Engineer Jaiyeoba Tikolo be authorized to pay our Allowances, Tuition, Salaries and other attendant basic office cost.”
The students continued: “We were told that the former Special Adviser Hon. Kingsley Kuku in the absence of Permanent Secretary handed over to the most senior Director Engr. Jayeoba Tikolo on May 29, 2015. We are appealing that the government authorize and appoint the Acting Head of the Presidential Amnesty Program Engineer Jayeoba Tikolo as a signatory and this should not be difficult”. Ordinarily, the APC led administration should have understudied how the Presidential Amnesty Programme was run before replacing Hon. Kingsley Kuku but President Buhari replaced the man running the programme because Hon. Kingsley Kuku is an Ijaw man. This we believe is the climax of APC’S anti-Ijaw posturing. Till date President Muhammadu Buhari and the APC government has not considered the plight of the students abroad. Why? because most of the beneficiaries of the programme are Ijaw youths.
5. SACKING OF NIMASSA DG: The immediate past Director General of Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), Patrick Ziakede Akpobolokemi is one of the principal appointment given to the Ijaws of Bayelsa State. Ex President Jonathan appointed Akpobolokemi for a tenure of four years in 2010 and renewed his appointment in 2014. Such appointment just renewed less than a year ago should have been kept until his tenure expires but the APC led government threw caution to the winds and sacked the DG of NIMASA.President Buhari did not state the reason for the sack.
6. We the members of the VANGUARD OF NIGERIA’S DEMOCRACY are aware of some clandestine moves made by the APC led government to probe, investigate, malign and imprison ex President Jonathan. We are already aware of the trumped-up charges the APC government is leveling against a man who has diligently served the Nigerian State at the highest level of government.
7. The APC led Government should take notice that the appointments made so far are skewed in favour of the North, as no Ijaw man has been appointed. While An Ijaw President did not discriminate in appointment, President Buhari is implementing a Northern Agenda. (Vide: some of the appointments)
1. Director-General of the State Services, Lawal Daura, Katsina State – North
2. Acting Chairman, Independent National Electoral Commission, Mrs. Amina Bala Zakari, Jigawa State – North
3. Director, the Department of Petroleum Resources, Mr. Mordecai Danteni Baba Ladan – North
4. Accountant-General of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Idris, Kano State – North
5. Chief Security Officer, Abdulrahman Mani – North
6. State Chief of Protocol, Mallam Lawal Abdullahi Kazaure – North
7. Aide De Camp, Lt.-Col. Muhammed Lawal Abubakar, Kano State – North
8. Senior Special Assistant on Media and Publicity, Mallam Garba Shehu; (North) –
9. Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, South-West
WE are watching with keen interest.
The Nigerian State and specifically the APC led government should take notice that the Ijaw race, which is the dominant ethnic nationality, has never been conquered. From the days of the slave trade, through the legitimate trade to colonialism and to the present day, the Ijaw race has never been conquered. The Ijaw race produces about 70% of the resources sustaining the country and it will be foolhardy for any government to undermine the capacity of the Ijaw ethnic nationality to be marginalized. We are a peaceful and law abiding people and we believe in the indivisibility and corporate existence of Nigeria, but certainly the Ijaws have a way of resisting injustice, sectionalism and inequality AND NOT EVEN THE APC ADMINISTARTION CAN ATTEMPT TO CONQUER THE IJAW NATION.