By Okee Sydney-Obiukwu, Editor-in-Chief.
The APC Deputy Chairman in Rivers State, Prince Peter Odike (Jp) from Ogba-Egbema-Ndoni LGA, precisely from Omoku, area of the state, is not the kind of man you could miss out on the stair case, if you were tracing your way to his modest office, somewhere well known; near the officers mess along Forces Avenue, Old GRA, in Port Harcourt. He has an imposing stature, which heaven itself toned down with a very compassionate voice and a flattering genial presence.
He and I took on a number of burning national issues such as the IPOB and Nigeria Delta Militants menace, and also the issue of whether President Buhari was truly enthroning nepotism in our polity.
I could see from the tone and direction of his candid statements, that he is among the number who could still break a neck to prove President Buhari’s integrity. He also seemed to respect former President Jonathan, even if he wished he hadn’t condoned so much impunity and corruption in his administration.
And I really admire and respect Prince Odike, because unlike most Niger Delta elites ever so evasive on the issue of the rightness or otherwise; of the fearful activities of the militants. I can say faithfully that Odike spoke from his heart and exuded uncommon courage at times like this.
And more pointedly, I sought to know also, if he believed President Buhari didn’t have the disposition to hate and intimidate the peoples of Nigeria Delta and the indigenious people of Biafra(IPOB) resident in the south-east of Nigeria.
On the issue of President Buhari’s perceived suspicion and hatred of the Nigeria Delta agitators & IPOB
As you made mention. I feel that Buhari does not seek to criminalize the south-south. Remember that under former President who was our own son, not much was done to develop the South-south, yet nobody questioned him for lack of development.
“The militants are not after development of the Nigeria Delta, they are mainly after their personal pockets.”
Let us take for instance, the issue of the destruction of all the pipelines, while the surveillance of the pipes was in their hands. They blew up oil wells, because their own private interests. Yet they were responsible to oversee, what was happening within the creeks and high sea. So, oil was being siphoned by them. And they were enriching themselves without bothering about what should accru to the rest of the indigenes of the state.
Buhari having being voted into power, and hearing the cry of the south-southerners, even after their son was president for six years, decided to investigate to establish why such anomaly. In the course of that, he felt that the only way to solve the problem, is to remove the surveillance contract from the former militants.
Now the militants felt they had been short changed, and decided to make thing difficult for the FG, by blowing up the oil wells.
Why do you think Niger Delta Avengers are blowing up the oil wells, really?
That is where we have found ourselves. As far as am concerned, as a stake-holder of the Niger Delta, I can say with confidence that president Buhari meant and still means well for the Niger Delta people.
For instance Ateke Tom, has a total of 5,000 militants he pays. These militants are entitled to N 65,000 monthly but he pays them a mere N25,000. How could there be peace in such situation
Is the Amnesty programme going well?
Finally, let me give this advise as far as amnesty is concerned. Let a committee be set up to re-evaluate the gains of the amnesty. And to know whether it is worth it or not. There after, all that are involved in the amnesty program should be paid through a direct personal bank Accounts.
As I speak to you, a section of the militants are in Abuja demanding for heir stipend, so it happened last week. They were told that they will be paid, but up till now they have not been paid.
The committee meant to handle amnesty should be held responsible.
Finally, I advise the Niger Delta youths to shun violence and embrace peace and stop this destruction of oil pipelines, so that the generations unborn will see what to survive on.
Assess Buhari’s administration.
As a person, president Buhari has done better them most of our past leaders. And I pray that he should keep it up.