Deputy Governor of Delta State, Barr. (Deacon) Kingsley Burutu Otuaro, says the Delta State Advocacy Committee Against Oil Facility Vandalism which he chairs is always open to engagement with any aggrieved group for positive advancement of our state and nation.
Otuaro was reacting to threats of a militant group called New Delta Avengers who vowed to strike oil facilities far earlier than it stated in its recent ultimatum, over alleged neglect of oil communities by the state government.
Speaking to newsmen at the weekend in Warri, Otuaro advised that approach to agitation should not be counter-productive, stressing: “Destructive activities could constitute security risk to both ongoing jobs in the state and the environment for survival of our people”.
The Deputy Governor insisted that destruction of oil facilities on which revenue largely depends cannot advance the development aspiration of the people. He therefore appealed to any group truly driven by developmental concern for the oil communities to rather resort to the superior power of dialogue to which the state government is open via the Advocacy Committee.
Otuaro, who as Advocacy Committee chair had been involved in peace shuttles that halted a prolonged spate of vandalism last year and hence improved oil production output till date, and has since gone back to the drawing board on the oil facility protection issue, re-emphasised that Delta State Government remain poised to change the face of oil communities.
“The State Government was committed to oil communities and has approved projects for the areas. The results will soon be visible for commissioning”, Otuaro said.
Communique issued today at 2pm Nigerian time:
We, the leaders, former Generals and Commanders of defunct combatant camps and groups in the Niger Delta met today, Monday 18th April 2011 where we extensively deliberated on crucial national issues, especially the outcome of the presidential elections held last weekend and resolve as follows:
1. To Congratulate the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Atahiru Jega for successfully conducting what has gone down in history as the fairest and freest presidential election in the history of Nigeria. We however urge him to speedily declare the formal final result of the presidential election which is already well known to all
2. We congratulate His Excellency, President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan GCFR, for being the first sitting President of Nigeria to have conducted a transparently free, fair and credible election even while he stood the risk of losing at the polls. We note that it is the first time a sitting President has fully funded the Independent National Electoral Commission without interfering whatsoever in the commission’s affairs.
3. We also congratulate Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan for winning, most resoundingly, last Saturday’s Presidential election. We are urging those who lost at the presidential polls to accept the result which indeed is the verdict of the people of our great country they themselves aspired to govern. They must also accept the verdict of God who alone bestows leadership on who He deems fit. God Almighty has chosen Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan as Nigeria’s leader for the next four years and this fact must be respected by all.
4. We condemn in very strong terms, the post election violence being perpetrated and sponsored in parts of northern Nigeria by disgruntled politicians and crises-profiteers. We regard the outbreak of violent protests as uncalled-for, barbaric and very retrogressive. But we dare assert that this sponsored violence does not in any way mirror or reflect the inner feelings of overwhelming majority of the northern masses. The northern masses, just like their brothers and sisters in the south, particularly the Niger Delta, are victims of years of misrule under the same persons orchestrating the post-election violence across the north. Because the northern masses share similar deprivation as their southern compatriots, they thronged voting centres in their respective wards last Saturday to vote for change, to vote for a fresh and better start, they voted for Dr. Jonathan who we all know is all too poised to pave the way for a better future for our great country.
5. We call on the long suffering northern masses to resist the negative, selfish and self-serving antics of the political jobbers who are behind the political violence across the north. We urge the northern masses to challenge these crises profiteers to withdraw their sons and daughters from their expensive schools abroad to join the riots that they are instigating.
6. We urge our brothers and sisters in the south, especially Niger Deltans to see what is happening in the North as merely bait or trap to join the fray. We must resist this temptation even when we have the capacity and capability to retaliate violence in any form or shape. Instead of succumbing to this temptation, we wish to thank all Nigerians for the national mandate they have given our dear brother, Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan. We note that
because of the overwhelming support of Nigerians irrespective of region, tribe, tongue, religion, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has become the product of the freest and fairest election in Nigeria.
7. We affirm that we shall not retaliate any violence targeted at us, at least for now. We are however calling on the international community as well as all men and women of good conscience to promptly prevail on this political jobbers who are stoking the embers of war across the north to sheath swords given that the consequences of their action would most likely endanger the unity of this country. We are proud to say that since independence, the people of the Niger Delta have nurtured and nourished Nigeria with our God-given natural and human resources. And since 1960, a section of this country has consistently produced either the President or Head of State of our nation and the people of Niger Delta, the goose that
lay the golden eggs, have consistently backed the north and continued to water the seed of unity and development of the country. We are piqued that for once, an eminently qualified Niger Deltan has won the freest and fairest presidential election in Nigeria and some crises-profiteers in the north are sponsoring violent protests. It is so sad and regrettable.
8. We are solidly behind the Nigerian mandate given Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan and we shall join the teeming populace of Nigerians to defend the mandate with the last drop of our blood. On this score, we are calling all ethnic nationalities in the south of this country to temporarily return home for communal consultations as we await keenly the direction things will go in Nigeria in the next 48 hours. Similarly we have directed all our Generals and commanders to retreat to their communities and points and await further instructions in the next 48 hours.
9. We are also calling on the National Security Adviser and all security agencies to secure the lives and properties of all northerners and southerners alike in all parts of the country so as to avoid the escalation of the post-election crisis. We wish to remind them that it is their responsibility to stop those who hide under whatever guise to perpetrate criminality. Indeed we know for sure that if the ugly events playing out across the north had happened in the Niger Delta, the nation’s security agencies would have brought to bear the full weight of the law, including even the declaration of a state of emergency.
10. We commensurate with the families of the victims of the dastardly political violence in some parts of the North. We console those who have lost loved ones and heard-earned property and pray that the Good Lord who aided the emergence of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as the popularly elected President of Nigeria will replenish their loses in record time.
11. Very importantly, we want all Nigerians and the international community to understand that if a Niger Deltan cannot be accepted to legitimately govern Nigeria despite our contribution to the economic well-being of the country, we shall not allow a non-Niger Deltan to rule over our resources.
12. Thank you.
• Chief Government Ekpemupolo (a.k.a. Gen. Tompolo)
• Chief Ateke Tom
• Alhaji Asari Dokubo
• Chief Bibopre Ajube (a.k.a. Shoot At Sight)
• General Ezekiel Akpasibewei
• Farah Dagogo
• Africa Ukparasia
• Paul Ezizi (a.k.a.Comdr. Ogunbos)
• Pastor Reuben Wilson
• Joshua Macaiver
• Ferdinand Amaibi (a.k.a. Busta rymes)
• Tamunegiyeifori Proby (a.k.a. Egbele)
• Kenneth Opusinji (kula Community)
• Kile Selky Torughedi (a.k.a. Gen.Young Shall Grow)
• Bonny Gawei
• Aboy Muturu
• Hendrick Opukeme
• Paul Bebenimibo
• Chief Dennis Otuaro
• Gomoh Ekiyou
• Saibakumo A.E
• Wilson Gbaire
• Andabafa Opunamah
• Soboma Jackrich
First Republic Information Minister and an elder of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, has been in a running battle against two-time governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori and his successor whose election was recently annulled by the Court of Appeal, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan.
In a no holds barred interview with Political Editor, Emmanuel Aziken and Deputy Political Editor Clifford Ndujihe, at his Apapa, Lagos residence, Clark, a lawyer, gave reasons he is against Uduaghan’s return to office, gives breath to what he claims as Uduaghan’s contrivance against President Goodluck Jonathan’s presidential aspiration and his stand on the crisis in the Delta State chapter of the PDP among other issues.
Why is father figure like you fighting a young man like Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan? Do you have a problem with him or Chief James Ibori?
I don’t have any problem with Uduaghan or even Ibori, let’s make it very clear. Starting with Ibori, I know I am an old man before I helped them. In 1998, I had never met Ibori before or even Uduaghan.
The Delta traditional rulers and elders went to Abuja to pay solidarity visit to Late Gen. Sani Abacha after the phantom coup. While we were there, Abacha received us very well, then we left for our hotel. Then in the evening at about 7pm, two buses came to the hotel with the message that Major Al_Mustapha would like to see us at Aguda House.
We went. We did not know what was going on. We had finished with Abacha and he (Mustapha) was there with Ibori. They entertained us. Then both of them read an address requesting that we should consider Ibori as a gubernatorial candidate. Then the Oredje of Okpe who is the leader of the traditional rulers replied what Mustapha had said and I also I replied.
I said:“This is the gathering of traditional rulers and elders and you don’t ask traditional rulers to come and support one young man who wants to be governor. If Ibori wants to contest election, let him come home.
That was how Ibori came to my village in Kiagbodo and was outside for about 40 minutes before I took notice of him and he said he wanted to contest election under the Grassroots Democratic Movement (GDM). Onerkhororaye at that time also wanted to contest election under the (United Nigeria Congress Party) UNCP.
I supported Ibori and that was how I got to know him. I also asked my younger brother, Sokan Clark, who was later assassinated in Ughelli and one Ejiro Iremade to assist him. That was how I came to know Ibori.
Then what happened?
Abacha died and that time faded out. He wanted to contest election in 1999, I supported him. I made it possible for him to contest election in 1999, I supported him. Then, I was an old man, I had more resources than anyone of them.
It was during that time that he told me he wanted to buy a house at Bendel Estate, Gborikoko. He bought the house and he was staying there.
When Ibori was governor and later in 2002 or 2003, the case of ex_convict came, I decided to support him and defend it because Ibori told me that it was Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who was doing it because he had supported Atiku Abubakar instead of Obasanjo continuing for another four years.
I quickly remembered that Obasanjo’s late wife, Mrs Stella Obasanjo had phoned me during the convention to tell Ibori to leave the husband alone and to support the husband, which I did. So, I believed what Ibori told me and I took the trouble to support what Ibori told me with my money.
During that period, I wrote a letter to Justice Mohammed Uwais, when he directed Justice Gummi, the Chief Judge of Abuja High Court to investigate Ibori’s ex_convict case. I said ‘no, you can’t do that because you are the Chief Justice of Nigeria, you can’t order an extra-judicial matter. The case will come to you. Will you be having Gummi’s report in one hand and go to the Supreme Court to try Ibori on another hand?’
I did all that. I fought even the Inspector General of Police, Mr Tafa Balogun at that time. So, as far as I am concerned, I have nothing against Ibori, but when Ibori decided to impose his cousin on us to cover his misdeeds and corruption, we said ‘no.’ Uduaghan had been disqualified in Port_Harcourt by the Hassan Adamu, Wakilu of Adamawa’s committee on verification.
The same night, Uduaghan travelled throughout the night to Abuja where Ibori had prepared the grounds for him, and he was cleared. The congress was postponed and taken to Ogwashi_Uku. That same morning, Ibori invited some of the aspirants including Chief Omo Agege, Dr Ifeanyi Okowa, Pius Eweridho, Uduaghan and Amori.
He said that Amori should be the witness, that God had told him in a dream that his cousin Uduaghan should succeed him. And whether people liked it or not, he would carry out the wish of God. Ask any of these people. Then, in the evening, they went to Ogwashi-Uku for the congress. Some people like Obielum and others ran away, they did not take part for fear of victimization, violence and so on.
Even when Uduaghan was declared the winner, he did not obtain mandatory votes to make him candidate. They had to phone Okowa to withdraw, that was why he became Secretary to the State Government. These things are very annoying. I am a leader and how many people are senior to me in Delta State? Then my children will come under discredited people. That is what I am fighting for.
In January 2007, we held a meeting in Abuja in a hotel owned by Cairo Ojougboh. I can give you the list of those who attended. We decided at that meeting to fight this issue. We must not allow Uduaghan to succeed Ibori.
We went to Abuja between 5th and 11th of February, we were fighting. We saw Obasanjo twice. We saw Ribadu and we discovered that the forces against us were many. Ahmadu Ali, the National Chairman of the party had made arrangements with Ibori that his wife who did not attend congress for nomination as senatorial candidate should be nominated instead of either Ned Nwoko or Patrick Osakwe. You can see the wonders happening that Ibori could do anything.
The corruption of Ibori also affected Uduaghan. We have now seen it in a London court where the sister of Ibori who is a cousin of Uduaghan and the trial of Udoamaka where they confessed that Uduaghan was involved in the money laundering. He was indicted that 59,000 Pounds and another 79,000 pounds were transferred to Christine Ibori by Uduaghan as Secretary to the State Government under Ibori.
And a suitcase containing money was also transferred by Uduaghan to Christine. This was in the address of the QC who was prosecuting counsel and they are in the records of the trial there. How do you separate Ibori from Uduaghan?
Now that you are asking why we are opposing Uduaghan, I will now give you an answer. I don’t hate Uduaghan as a person, he is a nice young man. Why we are against him is that when Ibori said that God had told him that his brother would succeed him and we said ‘no, you are putting him there to cover your misdeeds and corruption,’ evidence of what we said has come. Ribadu, the chairman of EFCC told us on the 9th of February 2007 in his office that Ibori was the most investigated and the most corrupt governor in Nigeria.
That was how we knew that he could not visit England, that he was being wanted there. One evidence he told us was that Uduaghan was on the list of corrupt politicians that was submitted to the president but his name was removed when Obasanjo agreed that Uduaghan should become the governor. He said Ibori had used 12 companies to buy shares from Afribank worth N5billion and that the Federal Government caught him and asked him to return the money which he did.
We asked Uduaghan when he came into office: ‘what of this N5billion that Ibori returned, we learnt you have returned this money to your brother?’ Is that not an evidence? Number two evidence of Uduaghan covering up the misdeeds of Ibori was when the London police, the Nigerian police and EFCC were moving towards Ibori, he ran to the Court in Benin seeking an injunction which he obtained that Ibori should not be arrested and prosecuted, that the EFCC should be prevented from getting government records from Asaba.
If Uduaghan was a governor who is detached, will he take such an action to cover his brother? These are issues that are very clear; that this man cannot be our governor and can never be our governor again.
When the Metropolitan Police were coming to visit Nigeria and when the scandal came out, the Federal Government directed the Federal Attorney General to go and vacate that injunction. Ibori was arrested from Kwara State Liaison office in Abuja and was taken to Kaduna to face trial. Ask Uduaghan, did Ibori pay for his defence? It was Delta State Government’s money that was used to pay for Ibori.
Women were carried to Kaduna at government expense to demonstrate naked, they disrupted the court, one man died on the way, there was a special allowance for anyone that attended. Is that the man who should be ruling us whereas it has been proved in London, America, that Ibori is a criminal that everybody should be afraid of which nearly the whole clan has been convicted remaining Uduaghan?
Ibori bought 800 million shares from Oceanic Bank. There was nothing wrong in buying shares but the moment they decided to mortgage those shares for a N44billion loan from Intercontinental bank, he was guilty of a criminal offence. He sold 500 million worth of shares to service the loan.
When I asked Uduaghan, he said he was aware of it but there was nothing he could do. If a governor who had no relationship with Ibori was there, would he not follow it up? Will he not find out?
V-mobile shares, Ibori assisted by his friend who was his front man, obtained a loan of N 2billion from New Nigerian Bank which was being controlled by Ibori and Igbinedion to buy Econet shares. It was these Econet shares that he bought for the Delta State Government that made him flamboyant. They sold part of the shares to Delta State Government for N2billion. Later, Ibori sold the shares for $38 million and stole the money.
It was in the process of laundering this money in London that the three expatriates were arrested and they are today facing trial in London. And Ibori was indicted. Edevbie who was the Finance commissioner was indicted but because of Ibori’s influence at the villa at that time, David Edevbie was appointed principal secretary to Yar’Adua.
What did Uduaghan do?
We asked him again, are you aware of our $38million? Out of that amount, Ibori again borrowed $10 million for his company to pay some of his debts. Even if I am 83 years and I am still alive, will I not fight against this injustice? You want to belong to a state where one family sinks that state and nobody talks about it?
They give you a little thing and you withdraw? These are some of the reasons why we did not want Uduaghan and never wanted Uduaghan to be our governor because he has done everything to cover the misdeeds and corruption of Ibori.
Uduaghan and Ibori came to meet you in August/September 2007 in your home and during your birthday the following year, they came again. After he had pleaded with you, you told him that you were going to meet some elders to consider what he said.
That is not true. Were you there? That is one of the propaganda. Ibori did not come with Uduaghan. Uduaghan came with Orubebe, the Minister of Special Duties. Ibori and Uduaghan had opposed his appointment, we went to the Chamber (Federal Executive Council Chamber) for Orubebe to be sworn in. We were shamed and humiliated and after some time the party leader came and said that the president said we should withdraw till further notice.
I went out to the front of the villa and held a press conference condemning the attitude. Yar’Adua then said, two of them should settle. It was when that was said that both of them came to me at Kiagbodo. Ibori and Uduaghan never visited me together.
Has Uduaghan visited you?
He has been visiting me.
And after some time, you mellowed down until the election was annulled?
I have never mellowed down. Uduaghan came to me and I gave him two conditions. This issue of protecting Ibori, dissociate yourself from Ibori and let us settle. You are already governor. See that the party is one.
Two, see that there is an integrated government where all people will be involved. He agreed. But Ibori told him not to. So you cannot have a government which is being manned by a faction of the community or party.
I am not against Uduaghan as a person. Even Uduaghan sent his deputy governor to accompany me to Paris to receive an award. While we were coming back, I sat his deputy governor down and said, ‘look, it appears your man is not listening to us. I told him to dissociate himself from Ibori and let us settle so that some of our people will get … particularly when he dissolved part of his cabinet, remove some commissioners, bring some of our people, then let’s work together.’
Perhaps, that will strengthen his hand of dissociating himself from Ibori because our people will advise him. The deputy governor, Prof Atuama is there. Nothing came out of it.
I mellowed down with reasons: one, dissociate yourself from your brother and two, let’s integrate and have a unity government.
Today, the party is in pieces in Delta State. What has happened? INEC said it would not deal with any of these illegal executives were congresses were not properly held.
On the 30th of September, the National Chairman of the PDP wrote a letter to INEC listing eight states where congresses should be conducted.
What happened? Nwaoboshi ran to Abuja to obtain an injunction against INEC Chairman and the party’s National Chairman. The INEC said it would not deal with the executive in Delta unless you hold a legal congress. Which party is INEC going to deal with in Delta State? They are all joking.
I thought Nwaoboshi was with you. When the new executive was formed, Uduaghan brought Solomon Ogba as secretary and the opposition brought Nwaoboshi.
Did you investigate it? I was in my house one day in Warri when Nwaoboshi accompanied by one Doris Nwakobia, who is with us, came to me and said that he was interested in becoming the chairman of the party. I said, ‘I don’t know you.’ Even if Nwaoboshi comes here today, I cannot recognise him.
I said, ‘I don’t know you.’ He said Obielum was behind him, Mrs Ali was behind him. I said, ‘everybody that comes to me receives my blessing. There are many candidates. If a proper congress is held, I won’t go against you.’ That was all.
Then, there was no congress.
The congress that was to be held was postponed. Emmanuel Ogidi, who was the chairman at that time said that Ali’s wife and her husband had kept the congress papers in their residence in Abuja and that if such things could not be sent to him as chairman, there would be no more election. So, the ward election that was to be held that day did not hold.
I have a press release signed by Emmanuel Ogidi that the congresses were postponed. For them now to say that congresses were held is not true. So, Nwaoboshi was not my candidate.
When they made him the chairman, we sat down and said we should also form our executive and Obiogu, Mrs.Ali and other members said we should include our people into the same people they had. We did not sit to pick Nwaoboshi as chairman.
Have you counted the cost this your agitation may have on the higher agitation of your other “son”President Goodluck Jonathan? Will you sacrifice Jonathan for Uduaghan?
President Jonathan can never be sacrificed for Uduaghan, who is unpopular in Delta State. Did you hear of the rally we held in Warri? It was the mother of all rallies. I attended rallies in Uyo and Port Harcourt thereafter, none of them could compare with the rally in Warri.
We applied to the government to give us Warri Stadium, they refused. We invited Uduaghan, he did not come.
Let us come to the details. Who is Uduaghan fooling? Who is fooling who? Uduaghan is not supporting Jonathan. When Yar’ Adua was ill in Saudi Arabia, Uduaghan was part of the cabal headed by Ibori. They drank champagne when Yar’ Adua arrived from Saudi Arabia thinking that the man was now coming to take over from Jonathan.
Tell me any member of the House of Representatives from Delta State that actively supported Jonathan’s acting appointment in the House? The only senator that actively supported Smart Adeyemi and others was Prof. Adego Eferakeya. Today, they are victimising him for doing so. Amori now went to Dubai to be adopted by Ibori. Today, Amori is the government’s candidate for Delta Central Senatorial seat.
Furthermore, Uduaghan is one of the few governors working with IBB and Saraki.
I will give you an evidence (he asks one of his assistants to read a letter from Saraki to Uduaghan:
Dr Abubakar Bukola Saraki Presidential Campaign Organisation
The Executive Governor of Delta State
In furtherance of our deliberation, sequel to our meeting at Nicon Noga on 17th October 2010 and dwelt as follows: At the meeting before all the caucuses present, total analysis of the electioneering success was made and financial responsibilities were happily undertaken to make our collectively dream a reality, particularly to have president of Northern extraction come 2011.
Based on the above, you unflinchingly undertook to finance and sponsor a month salary of staff, a month media advertorial as a vehicle to mobilise core delegates of some states.
Hence, it has become urgent to raise the funds and pledges to consolidate the success already achieved bearing in mind that the INEC is almost at the verge of issuing time frame for parties to conduct their primaries.
Finally, thank you for the roles you have been playing in this project.
Find the attached budget estimates for perusal.
Thanks in appreciation of your immediate response.
Dr. Udenta Udenta.
I can mention names. Uduaghan was one of those who believed that IBB should contest the presidency and in fact, he was going to be the running mate.
So, what I am saying is that Uduaghan is not supporting President Jonathan. Without us, President Jonathan cannot win an election in Delta State. Without the support of Delta people, who believe in the Elders, Leaders and Stakeholders Forum, he cannot win. These were the people who organised a rally in Warri and Warri closed; markets closed that day.
They have been trying to put a wedge between me and Jonathan. One day, they quoted Ango Abullahi and said that I hated Jonathan that I didn’t want him to be vice president to Yar’Adua. But they did not know how Jonathan became vice president. I am not here to disclose that.
Most of them thought that they were going to use the executive; the delegates were going to be given to them. But that is gone with the INEC saying that anything submitted by Delta State executive of the PDP they would not honour it.
Secondly, the removal of Uduaghan was God’s will. God has come to judgement. Goodluck Jonathan is really God-sent. With Uduaghan on the seat, Jonathan would have lost Delta delegates at the primaries. God has removed him. He is no longer in control of the delegates.
How do you view comments that President Jonathan would lead Uduaghan’s re-run
Who told you that? Who did the President tell that he was going to lead the campaign to Delta State?
Are you saying that the President will not campaign for Uduaghan?
When the PDP fielded a candidate for the Anambra governorship election did the president go? Did Yar’Adua go to Ekiti for the re-run campaign? It was Jonathan who went. Even then, as far as we are concerned, the issue of whether Jonathan would lead the team or not has not been decided because there is no party executive in Delta State. The propaganda is that of Uduaghan.
The National Headquarters of the PDP said Uduaghan is their candidate. If your party said somebody is their candidate and you are going against it is that not anti-party activity?
That is very undemocratic. Who did they consult? Why will they remain in Abuja and say ‘Uduaghan is our candidate?’ Why didn’t they ask those of us who were against? I led the delegation to the National Secretariat on 21st July, we were received by the National Chairman. That delegation comprises two serving senators – Eferakeya and Osakwe, ministers, former ministers, etc and the National Chairman said that the PDP would not go into the election with a divided house. For him to make that statement was to gather some confidence.
If your governor, who had been ruling for three and a half years was removed seven months to the thing, you would be shocked. So, any statement made by the National Chairman is not unusual but he cannot do it without consulting us. Is he coming to vote for Uduaghan? We are the ones who are going to vote, so he should consult us.
Are you saying that Nwodo’s statement is not valid?
The statement he made, if it is carried out, is undemocratic. They should consult the people who are the party members in Delta State.
The way it is, who in your estimation should be the PDP candidate?
We have gone to court, asking the court to interpret the judgment of the Court of Appeal, which said that Uduaghan had been occupying the Government House in Asaba illegally without the mandate and authority of the people; that there were no elections held in Delta State that they were ordering for fresh elections.
They repeated it twice: ‘fresh elections.’
When you see the Uduaghan people, they say the election is a’re-run.’ So, we are now asking the court ‘what is a re-run, what is a fresh election?’
We are learning everyday. I am a lawyer. They didn’t say there should be a ‘re-run,’ they said ‘fresh election’ because there were no elections conducted in Delta State. So, we are waiting. INEC cannot be the one to say because they don’t even know. We have asked INEC in a letter: ‘what is the difference between a re-run and fresh election?’ And that fresh election is based on the fact that there were no elections in Delta State.
How do you react to comments that your statement of no election is contradictory as the House of Assembly election was held simultaneously with the governorship? How come there was House of Assembly election and no governorship election?
The majority, if not all of them, were imposed on the people. There was no place where elections were held. The election in Burutu, my own Local Government, did not hold. The Divisional Police Officer, who was the senior police officer in Burutu, told me that no presiding officer had come to him, there were no election materials.
The election in Burutu was held in Oleh and Uzere. Nobody voted. And because they are all members of Ibori and Uduaghan’s clan, nobody opposed them. And if somebody opposed them, how many cases went to the tribunal? Have you ever heard that the tribunal in Delta State decided cases in favour of people who are opposed to Uduaghan or Ibori? That was why the judgement of the Court of Appeal is ground shaking.
I asked my Senator from Warri, ‘who voted for you? Where did you campaign?’
In the case of Senator Osakwe, what was the position of his party, Accord Party? But he won. What happened? Ali, the chairman thought that by coming into an agreement with, Ibori would return his wife and the wife would become a senator. But the same Ibori asked Osakwe to go to Accord Party. And so, Ibori deceived Ali and Osakwe won. And Osakwe has moved to the PDP.
If the PDP hierarchy insists on Uduaghan as its candidate, what would you do?
They have to convince us and we would have to convince them that Uduaghan is not a fit and proper person to be fielded because all along our state has been destroyed by Uduaghan and his brother, Ibori. We are tired of the Ibori-Uduaghan dynasty. They must be ashamed of themselves. Uduaghan should be able to say, ‘enough is enough let me step down.’
Your own first cousin – Ibori’s sister has been jailed five years for money laundering and property seized. His mistress Udoamaka has been jailed for money laundering. Uduaghan is connected in all these. Thirdly, the innocent-looking wife of Ibori has been jailed and she too said Uduaghan was part of the problem.
So, we too have our case to tell Mr. President. He is not a dictator. He would listen to us. If he convinces us, we have no choice. But if we convince him, must Uduaghan rule Delta State? What did he do for Delta people? Is there any project Uduaghan started and completed? There is none. The Airport in Asaba is scandalous.The Airport in Uyo cost less than N7 billion. Gombe cost less than that.
The Delta one has cost N22 billion and they are talking about topography. What topography? Does Asaba have swampy land or hilly or what is it? Those people are corrupt. I am a senior citizen of Delta State, I will not close my eyes and allow my state to be raped by a clan.
How would you react to the allegation that you are backing the opposition, Great Ogboru?
I am not backing any opposition. We backed Great Ogboru in 2007. The meeting to back Ogboru was held at (Senator Fred) Brume’s house. And Brume wanted to contest a senatorial seat under DPP. He chickened out when they arrested him and sent him to Abuja where they put him in police custody. I went there to remove him from Police custody. They accused him that he was involved in kidnapping that he kidnaped two Indians.
Are you going to endorse Ogboru again?
No! We are going to dialogue both with Mr. President and the national chairman of the party. If we present our case and the President says let it be so, it is a different case. But if we also convince him that Uduaghan is not a fit and proper to rule Delta State, how do you say you are fighting corruption when Uduaghan is covering Ibori’s corruption and misdeeds in Delta?
But the EFCC has said it has no case against Uduaghan…
That is Uduaghan’s propaganda. The EFCC is probing IPP in Oghara. No due process was followed in awarding the Oghara IPP and N14 billion was paid. Where are the invoices, where are the documents? It is their document. Who are the other competitors? No due process was followed to award a N25 billion contract. Go to the site now, the place is bushy, the sign board is broken and fallen. Even if the machineries will take one year to arrive, what about the buildings where these things are going to be installed? Virtually all the road projects are abandoned. Things are very bad.
As a PDP elder, would you be happy if Delta State falls to the opposition?
That is not the question. I am a PDP man. In 2007, there was no election. Three and half years after, the court said this injustice must be cured. They said this kind of thing could not happen in civilised countries. Is that not an indictment on Ibori and Uduaghan?
Uduaghan’s supporters said he regards you as a father. If he comes to you for settlement, what will be your response?
We have no personal issues. All I am saying is that I cannot settle with Uduaghan at the expense of the generality of the people in Delta State. The welfare of the people of Delta is of paramount interest to me. So, settling with Uduaghan will not solve the problem.
It is not by saying, ‘I am sorry, I will not do it again.’ He has harmed people. We have the most impoverished people in this country. Our state is going down. Teachers were employed, for a whole year, none of them got paid.
He has done much damage. The street light in Asaba is being powered by generator. They said they spent N250 million on Efurun Roundabout, what is there at Efurun Roundabout? Building cinema everywhere? We are tired, enough is enough.
The long anxious waiting by Nigerians over the decision by President Goodluck Jonathan to run or not in the 2011 general elections may finally be over in September, if feelers emanating from Aso Rock and Creek Heaven are to be believed.
This indication was given further credence when confidential sources close to Governor Timipre Sylva of Bayelsa state hinted that arrangements have almost been concluded for President Goodluck Jonathan’s declaration for 2011 Presidency, expected to be made at a formal campaign rally scheduled to kick off in his home state of Bayelsa, in September 2010, after the Moslem Ramadan Festival.
The rally which will be hosted by Governor Timipre Sylva, will be organized under the auspices of Conference of Niger Delta Youths and FLASHPOINT was reliably informed that the proposed date for this epoch making event, which had earlier been fixed for August, was carried forward as result of the fact that it coincided with the Moslem Ramadan period and President Jonathan did not want to disrespect the Nigerian Moslem community by fixing his declaration on such an important religious and holy period in the Moslem calender.
Unimpeachable sources within the Rally organizers camp confirm that the September date was chosen to respect the Moslem community in Nigeria and to also ensure that the declaration did not come too early or too late.
The rally, according to sources is expected to attract all the Niger Delta State governors, who had already endorsed President Jonathan for 2011, to re-affirm their loyalty and acceptability of President Jonathan’s candidature.
Coordinator of the Niger Delta Youth Leaders Conference, Hendriks Opukeme confirmed that the rally would be a total one and that most Niger Delta youth organizations are involved because they are determined to ensure that, for the first time, a son of the South-South is in vantage position to contest the Presidency of Nigeria.
Tagged ‘Affirmation and Sensitization’ rally, Opukeme explained that the philosophy behind the event is to counter the series of threats and provocative utterances emanating from some quarters against the propriety of President Jonathan’s aspiration to lead the country beyond 2011. He described as ‘an insult to the collective intelligence of the people of the South-South the calls from some quarters, including a section of the South-South, that President Jonathan should just conduct election and go in 2011.
The coordinator, who was supported by other members of the conference, said the his group was already mobilizing toward the rally, adding “we are in support of President Jonathan for 2011 because he represents the generational change we have been clamouring for; he is not a recycled politician like others.
“It would be a monumental morale booster and a veritable instrument of regional solidarity and support for our son if the project is successfully implemented. Youths constitute 60 per cent of all the manpower and therefore the mobilization of the youths to assert ourselves and chart a purposeful direction in the events and processes leading to the emergence of Dr. Goodluck Jonathan as president beyond 2011,” he said.
“Besides, in a mono-cultural national economy, where oil and gas resources from the bowels of the Niger Delta accounts for over 80 per cent of Nigeria’s federally generated revenue for 50 years and whereas the northern geo-political entity alone has ruled for 38 years, the South-West and South-East, 12 years, there couldn’t have been an appropriate time than now for the South-South to produce the next elected president,” Opukewe stated.
It will be recalled that, following the release of a tentative schedule for next year’s elections by the new Electoral Act, and the commitment of the new INEC boss Prof. Atahiru Jega that elections will be conducted on schedule, the frenzy in the political environment has been intensified with the zoning debate taking centre stage, as regards the eligibility or otherwise of President Jonathan to contest the 2011 polls.
This rally will not only put paid to that speculation, but also send a clear signal to the North that the people of the South South and the Niger Delta are ready to match them all the way in the bid to secure the Presidency for the region, 50 years after Nigeria got independence in 1960.
President Jonathan is presently fasting with Nigerian Moslems.
Prominent Niger Delta activist and the man regarded by many as the real architect of the peace which is currently been enjoyed in the Niger Delta region, High Chief Government Ekpemupolo ahs finally broken his long silence on the amnesty and post amnesty programme of the Federal Government.
Speaking at a ground breaking event at Ogulagha community, his maternal home in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State, where he was treated to a reception by the people for his contributions to the liberation of the region, Tompolo, who was escorted by Mobile policemen opined that the only way the Federal Government would win the hearts of repentant former fighters, who are undergoing training at Obubra camp in Cross River State, and sustain the post-amnesty programme, was for it to provide jobs for skilled former militants, who had successfully completed the non-violence training.
In the comments which the Niger Delta leader made through his Media Consultant, Mr. Paul Bebenimibo. TomPolo said that, “the non- violence training on it own will not be suffcient to give confidence to the post amnesty programme. Rather, what will give confidence is provision of jobs for the skilled among the graduands. This will spur others to go for the training without doubt in their minds,” he noted.
Tompolo laso spoke on the ambitions of President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta state by saying that bothe men were free to contest the elections if they so desire.
According to him. “Nobody should prevent President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State from contesting the 2011 presidential and governorship elections respectively, if they so desired” adding that “in the case of President Jonathan, people should cease from distracting him from his programmes”.
Said he; “I want everybody to support the President to develop the whole country. People should not distract him with calls that he cannot contest the 2011 election. He needs to be focused to deliver.
We want rapid development and he should treat every region the same way so that there will be no insinuations that he is focusing on his region alone. I don’t want him to lose focus of the Niger Delta question and to remember too that he is from here. We should know that it is the electorate through their votes that can stop the President from contesting the elections. If they want him back, they will vote for him. It is not for some people to decide alone,” he added.
On Governor Uduaghan’s second term bid, he said, “if he wants to run for a second term, the constitution grants it, he is free to run, no one has the right to stop him, he is a Nigerian.”
In a related development, it appears that the ggod times are set to continue for the ex-militants undergoing a transformation stint at Obubra camp, as indications emerged that over 20,000 ex-militants might undergo fresh training at home and abroad, after their stay at the Cross Rivers state camp.
FLASHPOINT was informed by close industry sources that the Oil and Gas Industry has agreed to take up the training of 3,000 of the ex-militants. These and other facts were contained in a document, titled “Reintegration Roadmap for Transformed Ex-Militants, which was made available to our correspondents.
The document reads in part: “Trades, entrepreneurial training and education programmes have been identified to address the rehabilitation of the ex-militants.
“A total of 150 courses have been identified in various areas such as general artisanship, oil and gas technology, maritime, building and construction, environmental management, agriculture, transportation, information technology, creative arts and entertainment, and tourism.
“These courses are considered pertinent in the economic empowerment phase.
“The team has also come up with a list of about 70 small and medium scale businesses that ex-militants may wish to avail themselves of as well as identify training vendors that can build skills in small scale manufacturing/business management.
“The project team has made contact with 46 training centres within Nigeria and another 22 offshore to assess their capability and capacity to deliver the skills and support associated certification to the ex-militants. Thirty three (33) of the local training centres have scaled the initial screening exercise.
“A review of the proposals submitted by the training vendors/institutions shows that the average training duration is six months. Negotiations with the training providers should bring about a reduction in the proposed cost. However, the oil and gas industry has agreed to take up the training of 3,000 of the ex-militants.
“The strategy that will be adopted in the rehabilitation programme is that the training institutions will incorporate entrepreneurial skills for the various courses to give the ex-militants the option of self employment after the completion of their training.
“In addition, the training vendors/institutions will also be responsible for the boarding, feeding and general well being of the participants that are sent to their facilities. The training institutions will be responsible for the immigration processes for the offshore training programmes. It is also recommended that the Amnesty Programme secures the services of immigration consultants to fill gaps where the training vendors/institutions do not have the capability to deliver the requisite services.
“A training management system has been developed to assist in the scheduling to the transformation camp as well as the rehabilitation training centres. The solution provides different views for cost comparison and generates various reports.
“The visitation exercise revealed an acute shortage of standard and dedicated training facilities in Nigeria which needs to be urgently addressed if the country is to achieve the Millennium Development Goals and Vision 20-2020.