Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The presidential bid of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate in the 2019 election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, has received a major boost with former leaders of the disbanded Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) may have been ready to mobilise support for Atiku in the Niger Delta region.
According to investigations, though foremost militant MEND leader, Chief Government Ekpomupolo, aka Tompolo has not given any commitment to the Atiku project, other leaders of the militant organisation known as the Big Five namely Victor Ben aka Boyloaf, Ateke Tom (now a traditional ruler in Rivers state), Farrah Dagogo, Joshua Macaiver and Bigbopere Ajube aka General Shoot at Sight, are deeply involved in the project.
While Ajube is said to be coordinating other ex-militant leaders, the mobilisation efforts are being coordinated by an influential former top public officer from Niger Delta region who held a prominent position in a multi-billion development agency during the tenure of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
The influential political figure that recently dumped the All Progressives Congress (APC) for the PDP may likely be named Niger Delta Liaison Officer at the PDP Presidential Campaign Council.
A source close the PDP Presidential Campaign Council confirmed that series meetings had been held, in Warri, Portharcourt and Abuja in respect of the need to support Atiku for the 2019 Presidential election.
“We are top of the situation in the Niger Delta region because all ex-agitators from the region, especially those we call the big five are solidly begin our presidential candidate.
“Although they had their initial reservations about Atiku because of his role in the ouster of their kinsman, Goodluck Jonathan, they finally agreed to work for Atiku after certain concessions were made in terms of their continued involvement in the surveillance of oil installations.
“Recall that the arrangement was stopped by the current government so they are not happy with Buhari,” he said.
Findings indicated that as part of moves to firm up support for Atiku in the Niger Delta region, Ajube, an Ijaw from the riverine in Ondo State, has dumped his long-time friend and political associate, Olusegun Mimiko, for the PDP.
Ajube had been a backbone for political leaders in Ondo State especially in the riverine areas where he was said to have solely bankrolled elections for candidates of then Governor Mimiko including that of Eyitayo Jegede in the last governorship election in the state.