From Romanus Ugwu, Abuja
Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio, has said that the spate of insecurity in the country is politically motivated and targeted at derailing the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
Akpabio made the remark when he visited the National Secretary, All Progressives Congress (APC), Caretaker/Extraordinary Convention Planning Committee, James Akpanudoedehe, at the party’s secretariat in Abuja on Thursday, assuring that the storm will soon be over.
Asked what he thought about the cause of the high level insecurity in the country, he replied: “The issues of insecurity for me has already assumed a very worrisome dimension, if you notice, it is not limited to one region, it is not a function of North East, it is not a function of South East, even in the South South, even in my own local government.
“If you read everyday what is happening Benue state and other State, we have never in the history of this nation witnessed where people in uniform are targeted for elimination. That will show you that we have infiltrators in our midst.
“The security of our neighboring countries must also remain a priority, because all these heavy arms entering into Nigeria when Libya failed, when Mammah Gadafi was taken out, and people looted the arms. If you enter Chad or Niger Republic, just like you buy petrol in Nigeria by the roadside, you can pickup any arm you want. So, that has led to very heavy arms entering into the wrong hands.
“In the Niger Delta region, we have been able to contain the situation, with the amnesty programme, and as I speak today, I think that is the most peaceful region today in the country. The area is very calm and we intend to keep it as such.
“So, there are many reasons that people can ascribe to it, if you say oh! youths are unemployed, no! because many of the people that are undertaking the insecurity are not even unemployable. They are not even interested in employment, some of them are on the bases of ideology and all sorts of things. So, I think most of it are from outside influence.
“Most of the actions you see today are politically motivated, to try to derail the government but the government will be deterred. And there is nothing that lasts forever, you know that everything that goes up must come down. So the insecurity you are seeing today, you will not see it again.
“We also, in my view, I think most of the problems are politically motivated, so we must use our binoculars to be able to look to dictate the sponsors of the insecurity that we are witnessing in the country. What is happening now is not Nigeria, this is unNigeria. As far as I am concerned, right from when I was a kid in federal government collage, we were taught the unity and oneness of this country. Many fought the civil war and died to keep this country together and handed over the country to us, as leaders today, we must do everything possible, even through advice , to make sure that Nigeria remains United. I believe in the oneness of Nigeria and I believe that I will bequeat a better Nigeria to my children and the future generations to come,” he assured.
On the reports of his bitter relationship with Akpanudoedehe, he said: “Let me give you an example, you heard about the Rwandan genocide. It started with one person with a rumour that an ethnic nationality have killed another ethnic nationality, and over one million lives were lost, and it was at the end of the war that it was discovered that the rumour never happened.
“What it means is that we have to be careful about what we read, and we have to be careful about what we chun out. Yes, breaking news is good but breaking news should not break the nation. So, there has never been anytime we had issues together, we have never quarrelled with one another, in fact, we have always cooperated with one another, if anything, he will use his mouth to tell you how we use to dance Kokoma, holding hands together, then we go down and come up again.
“All these things happened in 2019 elections, when we tried to install the APC government in Akwa-Ibom State, untill there was a conflict from both within and without, and that efforts was shattered. I don’t want that to happen again,” he said.
On the possibility of APC winning Akwa-Ibom, he simply said: “Because I am a former governor, I am not really allowed to speak about governors. I think the party Secretary will be in the best position to answer that question because he has all the strategies to back the party party to succeed.”
He equally spoke his mission, the future and fortune of the ruling party, stressing: “I am a stakeholders in APC and I believe strongly that the APC will wax stronger and stronger. I am happy with what the APC Caretaker Committee is doing so far. “Almost every state of the federation, people are trooping into the APC. The recent registration exercise that was conducted by the caretaker Committee was a very huge success. Even though there are still thousand of people still saying they still want to be members, they should be allowed to join. The more the merrier.
“Most especially the acting secretary of the party is from Akwa-Ibom State. At a time he was one of my subjects when I was Governor. But most especially he was one of my allies. He was my Director General of campaign organisation when I was coming in as a Governor in those days. So I will say he was the pioneer of the uncommon transformation that took over the entire state in 2007- 2015.
“And during that tenure he served as a minister in the capital territory under the late president Musa Yar’Adua. So I am delighted that he is the Caretaker secretary of our party here, together with the executive Governor of Yobe state. I am here to offer my own advice on how we can move the party forward and we have a lot of issues that I think the party can help us to resolve and all hands must be on deck as long as Nigeria is concerned today for us to solve the mairad of problem, including security challenges, this is not a time for blame game.
“So the party, the APC is going to be the pivot, the fulcrum that will roll that new Nigeria into being. Mr President has already commenced that with what he is doing in the Niger Delta. You can see that most Niger Deltans are excited with him. For 26 years the NDDC ever had any office.
“The construction started in 1994 or 1995, but the president has completed it and commissioned it, in the next two weeks, the President will be commissioning an ultramodern multipurpose barracks that is meant for the special Operations Unit of the police, with complete armoury and all that. Many flats, high rising offices in Port Harcourt have also been completed and awaiting his commissioning.
“And we are working assiduously to make the people of Nigeria Delta happy with the completion of the East West road. It was started in 2006, and the president has continually worked on and completed old projects left behind by not just his predecessor but predecessors in totality. You can imagine, I sit in the Federal Executive Council and I see the quantum of things this President is doing for Nigerians. He is not doing it for himself, he is doing it for the love he has for the country.
“Of course, we have to work closely with the party to actualise his vision and the vision of APC for Nigeria. So, it is not strange that I’m here, this is my brother and my political juganaut. My political Ally. So no matter what you read on social media, this is me and him, if you noticed, when I came in, he was not crying, instead when he saw me he was laughing,” he said.
On his feelings over the visit, Akpanudoedehe said: “I want to remind you what I said two months ago. My father told me that if you go to heaven and you don’t see politicians in heaven, you have to leave because that one is hell. I asked him why, he said politicians are people who can easily resolve their problems without fighting. That is why when you people open your mouth or your pen on issue of politics we always laughing because you will not know when we will laugh and resolve these issues.
“But that is not to say that we have issues. This visit is a surprise visit, it is like a girlfriend who has been expecting her boyfriend when he will visit for proposal, and have been ambushed for this proposal. What will the girlfriend do, excitement. That you have been waiting for this diamond. So I am happy that this proposal has come finally, because it is what I have been waiting for.
“Let me tell you something, it is like America, Britain or world powers. If a small country wants to survive, you have to rush to America to support you. So most of the problems are not personal. It is between small country and big country. So it may set confusion between two bigger countries, but if the two bigger countries understand how to deal with the issues, the issue becomes non issue and they have become non issue today,” he said.