By Jonathan Nda-Isaiah
Failure to adopt full devolution of power and fiscal federalism henceforth would amount to a declaration of Niger Delta Republic according to a coalition of Niger Delta Agitators.
Recall that the National Assembly had in its constitutional amendment exercise last week rejected the devolution of powers to states.
In a statement signed by their different heads of the Niger Delta agitators stated they would work with similar groups in South East and South South to ensure that their objective of securing freedom would be achieved.
Those who signed the statement included General John Duku of the Niger Delta Watchdogs and convener, Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators; General Ekpo Ekpo of Niger Delta Volunteers; General Osarolor Nedam of Niger Delta Warriors and Major-Gen. Henry Okon Etete of Niger Delta Peoples Fighters.
Other were Major-Gen. Asukwo Henshaw of the Bakassi Freedom Fighters; Major-Gen. Ibinabo Horsfall of the Niger Delta Movement for Justice; Major-Gen. Duke Emmanson of Niger Delta Fighters Network; Major-Gen. Inibeghe Adams for Niger Delta Freedom Mandate and Major-Gen. Abiye Tariah of Niger Delta Development Network.
According to them, they were not being represented by Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, in any form of negotiations with the federal government.
The statement read in parts : “we have fully resolved to re-echo the following for the umpteenth time: That the authority to represent the Niger Delta Ethnic Nationalities no longer rests on the current leadership of PANDEF. The Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators (CNDA) has since withdrawn its support and reliance on the current leadership of PANDEF; as the mouth piece of the peoples of the Niger Delta.
“The Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators will rally round all other agitating groups in the Niger Delta for the actualization of the Niger Delta Republic. This will give us the freedom to develop ourselves and at our own pace.
“That the least considerable action on the part of the federal government, is the total devolution of power and fiscal federalism. Anything short of that, the people of the Niger Delta will go their separate way.
“That the Coalition will work to convince other Agitators in the Niger Delta for a Collaborative action to ensure the least acceptable demand which is total devolution of power and fiscal federalism.
“That the people of the Niger Delta will fully support the call for a referendum by other agitators in the country.
“The Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators firmly resolves to pursue its decision and actualize them by any means necessary.”
Similarly, the agitators also highlighted their reasons for pulling out of PANDEF.
“We have earlier published our position with respect to the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) leadership. We are hereby re-emphasizing our position for obvious reasons.
” PANDEF was formally put together in the month of August – October 2016 with 18 member steering committee called the Central Working Committee Co-Chaired by King Diete Spiff and Obong Victor Attah. Apart from showing itself and driving the body in two meetings, the Central Working Committee has become docile and extinct.
“After the visit of the Body to Mr. President in November 2016, and the subsequent presentation of the 16 – point agenda, every meeting held under the leadership has towed one monotorious pattern without any new ideas and spirit for liberation of the people of the Niger Delta.
“The last meeting in Bayelsa was dismal as serious issues were neither presented for deliberation nor a slot was given for serious issues to be discussed in the meeting. The meeting ended abruptly without concrete decisions, and hence shows that the leadership has become clueless.
“The leadership itself does not appear to be cohesive and united in thoughts and actions because, while a congress meeting is being called by Pa E. K. Clark in Bayelsa, the Secretary of the Central Working Committee was calling for a Constitution review meeting in Abuja the following day. We have no doubt in our mind that, there are contending interests and positions that have become overriding in the leadership of PANDEF, and we can no longer sit by and allow it to fester further.
“PANDEF leadership appears to have lost track of the political development and the trend of agitations in the country especially from the South East and South West. It is so disappointing that, the leadership is hoping on any result from the 16-point agenda. PANDEF leadership does not see that the current events after one year of their presentation have rendered their position archaic and out of tune.
“It is only the people of the Niger Delta that can religiously implement all the items in the 16-point Agenda and not the devious and oppressive federal government”, the statement added.