COORDINATOR of the Ijaw Monitoring Group, IMG, Comrade Joseph Evah, in this encounter speaks on the scuttled meeting of PANDEF in Port-Harcourt, blaming the action of the security agents on the face-off between Governor Nyesom Wike and former Governor Rotimi Amaechi. Excerpts:
By Chioma Gabriel, Editor Special Features
RECENTLY security agents aborted PANDEF meeting in Port Harcourt. What really happened?
It was very unfortunate, but the truth was that some top leaders of PANDEF fell into the trap of security agents. Some of them took things for granted. For example, why did they make Port Harcourt the venue? The whole world knows that Mr. Rotimi Amaechi and Governor Nyesom Wike are fighting and that fight will affect any meeting convened there.
All other reasons anybody will give you is fake. What happened to PANDEF is the bitterness in Amaechi and Wike’s political battle. The two lions wanted to show their power. One was saying I have federal might and this meeting would reduce my influence in the region, and since Wike will be the chief host, I will show them that the meeting would never happen.
But the security agents talked about insecurity
Where is the insecurity coming from? The whole world including Mr. President and all the security agents know that the insecurity in Rivers State is caused by PDP and APC. It is the supremacy battle between the two leading parties. If that meeting venue was Calabar, Uyo, Benin, Asaba or Yenagoa, security people wouldn’t have tampered with the meeting. PANDEF has held several meetings before.
The political hatred you see in Rivers State does not exist in any other state in our region especially between a former governor and his successor, and in a case where the former governor is very powerful and if you are in his shoes, you will never allow your successor to claim the glory to rubbish your political history. That was the battle that wanted to burn the roof of PANDEF. So our leaders must be careful.
Some people claimed that they decided to form a group to replace PANDEF. How authentic is this?
Anybody can form a group. There is freedom of association. President Muhammadu Buhari will laugh at any group in the North that says they formed a group to replace Arewa Consultative Forum. Sometimes, you have a group of people saying they have replaced Ndigbo or Afenifere. Such things are not new in Nigeria. The Nigerian people, the international community know groups that are led by people who have capacity to lead a region. There is a difference between a leadership that exists on the pages of newspapers and coordinated by blackmailers looking for relevance and leadership acknowledged by the ordinary people. Even during the June 12 struggle, you Journalists know better. Inconsequential people were abusing late Pa Adesanya, Chief Anthony Enaharo to replace their leadership in Afenifere and NADECO but the rubbish we saw at that time only ended on the pages of newspapers because no human being can pull down God-ordained leadership in any struggle.
Some of the opponents of Chief Clark like the new group and former president of Ijaw National Congress, Prof Kimse Okoko, were saying that Chief Clark did not use his influence to get Jonathan to develop the Niger Delta
These are childish excuses we expected from desperate people looking for relevance. Those senseless excuses cannot pull-down Chief E.K. Clark from the glorious ladder of leadership. It is just petty jealousy. That is why Chief E.K. Clark is still leading the Niger Delta. Well, everything is designed by God. No human being can change it. Some funny elements in those days tried to destroy Chief Awolowo as a Yoruba leader. They tried but they failed. Everybody knows the capacity of people who can meet Arewa leadership, Ndigbo leadership or South-West leadership or even meet American president or British prime minister and they will respect their opinions.
We are talking of the symbol of Niger Delta that any president of America or any world leader will hear his name or see him physically and Niger Delta will be respected. If Any region in Nigeria is presenting their first class personalities that can meet with world leaders, or Africa leaders, Niger Delta must be able to present her first 11. Those who are saying that Jonathan is a total failure are not normal. Let them tell us which president or head of state in Nigeria completed a new federal highway running through six or seven states. Yet Jonathan government finished the road map and part of it is now motorable.