Jonathan May Be The Last Nigerian President

Jonathan May Be The Last Nigerian President
Dr Chris Ekiyor is the former National
President of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) and
currently the Caretaker Chairman of Patani
Local Government Council of Delta State. In
this interview, the Niger Delta activist faults
the calls for amnesty for members of the Boko
Haram sect and warns that the people of the
Niger Delta will resist any move to use the
resources from the area to fund the amnesty.
On the 2015 presidency, he says the people of
the Niger Delta are unanimous in their decision
that President Goodluck Jonathan should run
for second term asserting that any attempt to
stop him by the North will lead to the end of
Nigeria. Excerpts:
The Federal Government has announced a
committee to look into the possibilities of
granting amnesty to members of the Boko
Haram sect. As one of those who perfected
amnesty for ex-militants in the Niger
Delta, what is your view?
This is another bandwagon effect that is
tearing apart our country again. Amnesty
today is another word for quick money. I think
it is a misplaced national priority to even think
about granting amnesty to a bunch of people
who, in all their activities, have shown
criminality, have shown cold blood murder and
have no focus or issue. And it is unfortunate
to try to equate Boko Haram with the
struggles of the Niger Delta.
In the Niger Delta, a people, who were living
peacefully and having their own livelihood,
were traumatized by the Federal Government
with its activities in oil exploration. Their land
captured, their environment polluted from
1957 till date. And the people decided to say,
enough is enough, you cannot take our oil and
impoverish us. You cannot put 60 per cent of
our oil wealth in the hands of northerners and
our environment is not protected. You have to
allow us control our resources so that we can
develop our place at the pace at which we
found our resources. We are willing to pay tax
to the center as it is done every where that oil
was found'. That was what caused the Niger
Delta crisis.
The Niger Delta struggle was a purposeful and
ideology based struggle. That was the focus.
Now, between 1996 and 2003, of course, it
became an all-comers struggle. Criminals who
will go and steal on the streets will claim that
they kidnapped because of oil. Between 2003
and 2007 it went out of hand because the
military itself became a party to the process.
Dr. Chris Ekiyor
By the time the Federal Government was
offering amnesty, oil had been cut down to
700 barrels per day by the activities of the
people in the creeks. Insecurity in the region
made oil companies to foldup. Before, the
youths accepted amnesty, they sent
representatives including myself to dialogue
with the government and they were series of
meetings under the late President Yar'Adua's
administration.
Now, in accepting amnesty, the country
recovered economically to the tune of about
2.1million barrels per day and you know what
that means to the nation's coffers. So, if from
that pool, money is taken to rehabilitate
people, who so to say admitted that it is our
mother land, we will now allow government
develop the region. Taking amnesty brought
more value to the government and it is now
trying to reciprocate the gesture by training
people in the region.
'Militancy in the Niger Delta different
from Boko Haram mayhem'
But beyond the technicalities of talking about
amnesty for a group of people who are
murderers, I think that government has
misplaced its priority in terms of what it is
saying.
Dialogue with the people, yes, amnesty, no.
Amnesty is not an exit window for criminals.
These are people who have murdered over five
thousand people in cold blood. People are in
churches, they bomb the churches, killing
people who are equally victims of bad
governance like them. Again, 80 percent of
these people are not Nigerians. So, if you are
granting them amnesty, where will you take the
resources for which you are going to
reintegrate them? Is it the Niger Delta
resources, our oil money to integrate criminals
and murderers in the North? That money
should be put on infrastructures across the
country if the money is too much in the
government coffers.
'Jonathan taking bullshit'
I am particularly worried that our president,
in line with his broad nationalism, is taking too
many bullshit from too many people. He is the
most insulted president not because he has not
worked, there is no president that has done
better than Goodluck in the history of Nigeria,
but people don't seem to know because he is
not a loud speaker, he does not embarrass
people.
'Posterity will not forgive Jonathan if he
fails to develop the Niger Delta'
President Jonathan is a broad-minded
Nigerian, he is trying to balance projects in all
the regions and, in doing that, he has
undermined his own region. So the Niger Delta
people have started clamouring why should we
not have more. But again he is the President of
Nigeria not for Niger Delta. It is now left for
the Niger Delta members in the National
Assembly to ensure that there are resources
in the appropriate ministries such as the
Ministry of the Niger Delta to develop the
region. As it is today the Ministry of Niger
Delta is not being funded and that is why the
Minister is frustrated. If you check the money
they appropriated for the Niger Delta
Ministry and that of Water Resources, you will
see the difference. I want to also say that Mr
President must not feel that if he develops the
Niger Delta he will be blamed for it. Infact if
he does not develop the Niger Delta posterity
will not forgive him.
People committed themselves in developing
Abuja because they have an agenda to develop
the North. Jonathan is not weak as people are
saying, no weak person can lead Nigeria. The
problem is that this country is held by cabals
and those people don't want the development
of the Niger Delta. So it is not Jonathan but a
lot of people around him have their own
agenda.
'Jonathan must run in 2015′
We were in this country when youths were
mobilized to Abuja, 'Youth Earnestly Ask for
Abacha', during the military rule, when all the
five political parties endorsed one man. We
were in this country when Obasanjo wanted to
go for third term.
Alameseigha and others were arrested. Yes,
they may have been involved in corrupt
practices but they became victims due to their
opposition to the third term bid. People are
talking now because Jonathan is seen as a
toothless bull dog. He is seen as being weak,
but they don't know that it is in that his
weakness that he has his strength. How can you
see a president and say he should not contest
again? The choice to contest is his but if he
decides to contest, nobody can stop him
except the ballot. And if they feel he cannot
contest, then we should all be ready to pack
our luggage.
Goodluck may be the last President of Nigeria
because a lot of predictions are in line. There
is the provision in the amalgamation law which
says that, if after hundred years we cannot
co-exist, everybody can go his way. These are
signs of the end and we are happy about it
those of us from the Niger Delta.
The earlier Nigeria breaks so that we can go
and rebuild our economy and our environment
the better since Nigerians don't know that
Goodluck is a blessing and a builder. Nobody
can stop Jonathan, we have said that he must
contest and anybody who does not want to
support us, no problem. We will campaign
throughout the nook and cranny of the
country.
(Vanguard)