From: Ben Dunno, Warri
Prominent leaders in the South South geo-political zone under the auspices of ‘Niger Delta stakeholders’ have passed a vote of confidence on President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration, especially as it concerns the ongoing war on corruption and efforts being made to bring back the economy into shape.
The body reaffirmed its support for the Federal Government at a consultative meeting with agitators presided over by three leaders of the Niger Delta struggle;Elder Timi K. Ogoriba, High Chief Mike Loyibo and Mr Famous Daunemuagha, advise Nigerians to be very optimistic in seeing in good sides of the present administration.
It, however, urged the Federal Government to take advantage of the window of opportunity provided the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) for peace to prove to show to the region that it is genuinely committed to the region’s development so as to usher in sustainable peace in the area.
The meeting, which had senior citizens of the region, like Prof. Ben Okaba, Prof. Christopher Dime, retired Hon. Justice Francis Tabai (JSC), clergy, activists and leaders of agitating groups in attendance, also pass a vote of confidence on the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), as being led under the leadership of Chief Edwin Clark.
The group, which also passed a vote of confidence on the Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, Brigadier General Paul Boroh; the Minster of State for Agriculture, Sen. Heineken Lokpobiri; and the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, also urged President Buhari to address the issue of the timely funding of the Amnesty programme and reengineer it for effective operation.
The meeting, which was convened to address the needed steps to take to sustain the peace in the oil-rich Niger Delta region to ensure uninterrupted operation of the oil and gas sector, also appealed to the Niger Delta Avengers, as well as other agitating groups in the region to allow peace in the region so that federal government could have the atmosphere to fulfill its promises.
Reading out the resolutions of the meeting at the end of the session, Chief Loyibo called on the federal government to “set up a proper a proper dialogue team to interface with the leaders of the region, as represented by PANDEF, and not the inter-ministerial committee, as it had been hitherto.
“The government should review the recent appointments in the management of the NNPC. The promise to compel the IOCs to relocate back to their primary areas of field operations in the Niger Delta should be effected with immediate effect.
“We are also calling for the amendment of all the defective provisions of the 1999 Constitution, which have negatively affected the region. We maintain that true federalism is the answer to the Nigerian development question. Let us have it back the way we had it during the era of cocoa and groundnut pyramids in the 50s and 60s”, he said.
Speaking to journalists after the meeting, one of the conveners, Elder Ogoriba said it was time for the federal government to start seeing the Niger Delta as a partner in progress and not as one aggressive enemy, adding that all parts of Nigeria would be the better for it when the country truly becomes a federal economy.