* Formula for peace found at last
By Ignatius Chukwu
most difficult task in running any agency in the Niger Delta is how to get all the ex-agitators to see reason with one another so strategies can work.
This seems to have been cracked by Dr Samuel Ogbuku, the current managing director of the intervention agency.
The window came when arrows were pointed at him, but he is said to have turned the stones thrown at him as building stones for the ladder with which he has climbed into a new realm.
Now, both the groups of ex-agitators that supported him and those that threatened him are all saying yes and amen to one united management. This may be a lesson other groups may copy from to create a roadmap for Niger Delta development.
The group of ex-agitators in the Niger Delta that gave Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) management an ultimatum to quit or be overrun has backed out.
Instead, the group has pledged to work with all other ex-agitator groups to help the Dr Samuel Ogbuku-led management to deliver development to the oil region.
The change of stance may have come after a meeting with the aggrieved group which came after a meeting with the counter group. At the end, both groups seem to be on same page.
A document made available to this reporter indicates that the Coalition of Ex-agitators of Niger Delta (CEND) which stoked fire has unequivocally written to apologize to the managing director, and retracted their stand which gave five days ultimatum to the MD and the executive directors to vacate the Commission or face their wrath.
The retracting statement jointly signed by the national coordinator, a chief, Gershom M Gbobo, and the spokesman, Ellington Bakumor, said, the earlier statement was hasty and not intended to ridicule the hard-earned reputation of the person of managing director of Commission who they said has made a lot of sacrifices for the region from his early days till date.
In spite of all these, the statement went on, the boss, Dr Ogbuku, who they said values and holds Niger Delta youths in high esteem, graciously forgave them and gave a listening ear to their concerns and cause of earlier agitation like a true father and leader.
The statement said they found that the NDDC boss holds no ill-feelings towards the ex-agitators and as a man of his words has pledged that the Commission would sponsor the training of Niger Delta youths.
“He has also rolled out different empowerment programmes for the region, and has also promised to partner with the Amnesty Office to ensure ex-agitators are properly reintegrated to society through entrepreneurship empowerment and other programmes.
“We, the coalition of ex-agitators of Niger Delta, are hereby appealing to youths of the region to sheath their sword and give the Dr Ogbuku-led Commission their support and assistance to actualize the set targets for the development of the area and human capacity-building. This is no longer the time to pull down our own.
“We as a coalition will from henceforth support and give the necessary assistance to your administration.”
The group (CEND), had raised tension when they said late July 2023 that they had given the management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) a five-day ultimatum. They said they were enforcing President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s order for all boards to be dissolved.
CEND specifically warned that if Dr Ogbuku and his team failed to leave office after the expiration of the ultimatum, they would occupy the commission and ground the activities of the commission.
CEND’s statement was signed by its chairman, Daboikiabo Alalibo, insisting that Ogbuku and his team were occupying their offices illegally.
“Our President gave an express order dissolving all parastatals and agencies of the federal government. The NDDC was affected because it wasn’t among those constitutionally exempted by the directive.
“But we understand that some persons close to the president spearheaded the conspiracy that allowed Ogbuku and others to remain as a management team of the NDDC. It is illegal. They either vacate the commission or face their wrath.
Alalibo insisted that after studying the scenario and investigating the development, it was a misnomer and unconstitutional to allow part of a dissolved board to remain in office.
Immediately this was made public, leaders of the ex-agitators from the three phases of the Amnesty scheme, rose in defence of Ogbuku and the NDDC.
They also visited the Commission to debunk the earlier statement, saying the authors were not a serious group and could be ready to be used to destabilise the region.
The delegation of ex-agitators was led by a monarch, Henry Binidodogha Ekes, for Phase 1 ex-agitators; Gen Olotu Wanemi for Phase 2 ex-agitators and Tonye Bobo for Phase 3 ex-agitators.
Binidodogha stated that Ogbuku was fit for the position of the chief executive officer of the NDDC being a foremost Niger Delta activist in the quest for development.
Ogbuku, who was described as a man that fought in the trenches for the Niger Delta, however chose to give listening ear to all the parties and to unite them.
He was said to have agreed to a request to meet those against him. At the end of the meeting, love and peace were said to flow and all offences were said to be forgiven.
The antagonists were said to have issued an apology to the NDDC boss and pledged to mop up support wherever disagreements still existed in the creeks for the new NDDC to move together and faster.
The Naysayers have realized that they do not remove a FG appointee with force and that the same President Tinubu had power to retain any CEO.