TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), has called for greater cooperation and synergy among politicians from the Niger Delta, and the South-South geopolitical zone, in particular.
PANDEF noted that lack of rightful cooperation among politicians in the region was worsening the developmental disabilities of the region.
National Chairman of the regional body, and former military Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (rtd), made the call in a statement issued in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, yesterday.
Nkanga stated: “We are, therefore, appealing for greater synergy among them, in the larger interest of the region, and our people. It became necessary to make this public appeal, partly, because of recent happenings in the nation’s polity, and the continued poor attention to issues of the region by the Federal Government.
“But, more particularly, because PANDEF has, lately, been inundated with worrying complaints of arbitrary termination of valid contracts of companies, in which Niger Deltans have a principal interest, in Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) of the federal government. And mainly, in ministries where the ministers are also from the Niger Delta.
“If these complaints are true, then it is very unfortunate. We should not be working against ourselves, for whatever reasons. It is saddening that persons from the region are being used to perpetuate these insidious acts against the region. We are unaware of these occurrences in other parts of the country.
We have advised the affected persons, who have come to us, to exercise patience and not seek redress in the law courts yet; while we make efforts to ascertain the facts of the matters, and seek peaceful resolutions.
“The truth is that they do have the right to go to court if their contracts/projects were unlawfully terminated, especially in a manner that indicates vindictiveness and possible abuse of office by those concerned.
“PANDEF is quite disturbed by these circumstances; they are unhealthy and inimical to the socio-economic development of the region. As such we have decided to seek individual audiences with key political stakeholders, including ministers, members of the National Assembly, and Heads of federal MDAs from the egion, to discuss these concerns, and hopefully resolve them”, Nkanga expressed.
According to the National Chairman, thousands of youths from the region and other parts of the country must have become jobless as a result of the contracts that had been reportedly terminated unjustly.
“PANDEF had persistently called on the governors of the region to work in synergy to boost security and economic activities in the region. But there is now, more than ever, even greater need for cooperation and synergy among the governors, members of the National Assembly and ministers from the Niger Delta, and with, particularly, the elites and business class of the region.
“We need to learn to work together, irrespective of political propensities and distinctions, to change the narrative of the region for the benefit of present and future generations.
“We hope that all concerned would give conscientious contemplations to the matters herein highlighted, and act accordingly, in the overall interest of the Niger Delta region and Nigeria, our country. Posterity will not forgive us if we do otherwise,” PANDEF advised.