Trail Reporters

The executive director of the African Network For Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ), Rev David Ugolor, has replied Alhaji Mujaheed Dokubo-Asari over his claim that President Muhammadu Buhari is leading a zero government.

Ugolo, a Niger Delta environment activist, warned that no individual should ascribe to himself the struggle for better living condition, equity and fair play being canvassed by people in the oil rich Niger Delta region as it is a common agenda for all the ethnic groups.

In a mail obtained by Trail Reporters, Ugolor, based in Edo state, condemned Dokubo-Asari, who is the leader of the Niger Delta Volunteer Force (NDVF), over his attack on vice president Yemi Osinbajo, who had visited the Niger Delta several times for lasting peace in the region.

He reminded Dokubo-Asari to be mindful of the fact that elders in the region currently support the move by the current government to develop the area just as he reminded the NDVF leader that Goodluck Jonathan, who is even from the region abandoned it while he was president.

“Niger Delta struggle is a common agenda for all the ethnic groups and should not take an individual ethnic coloration. All the ethnic groups Urhobo, Ogoni, Itsekeri, Isoko and others have played their role.

“Gun is not the only option that can pave way for the realization of the peace and peoples agitation aimed at realizing their dreams and aspirations in the Niger Delta region,” he said recalling that “Ken Saro-Wiwa and Comrade Sunny Ofehe did not and are not carrying guns, Nimmo Bassey is not carrying a gun and nobody will discount their contribution to the Niger Delta struggle.”

He added: “We also need to be careful not to play into the hands of Abuja agenda. Even when Jonathan was a President he did not deal with Niger Delta question. What was responsible? He managed to take care of his wife and close relations.

“If Osinbajo’s visit will turn around things for the Niger Delta people which include the poor Ijaw; not the self-centered war entrepreneurs. We should all rise up and support him and allow new thinking to shape the future of the region.

“We cannot continue to create division and think we will succeed. The Asari Dokubo has played a useful role to draw global attention to the plight of our people but he should not invest in narratives that will split the common agenda.

“I think Asari’s interview with Vanguard will not help to build a common agenda, so, I strongly appeal to him to use his goodwill to strengthen inter-ethnic cooperation and also give chance to the Vice-President to implement the new agenda; time to try an alternative model; that will meet the needs of Niger Delta people.

“We have suffered enough and the billions that went to NDDC, Ministry of Niger Delta and Amnesty have only benefitted few people. After more than three decades of environmental degradation and injustice, I think we should begin to explore an alternative development model that will give voice to the victims which cut across all the ethnic group.

“We should not play ethnic politics in Niger Delta and violence is not the only tool for seeking social justice.

“Lessons from the Arab Spring have shown that embarking on violent struggle without concrete alternative framework normally dont end well for the people. We should support a new thinking that will put anti-corruption agenda on the table.”

Ugorlor said if the development agenda would work in the Niger Delta, its people must end the culture of impunity that currently robs the region of her wealth.

“All the major failed contracts embark upon by NNDC and ministry Of Niger Delta were carried out by prominent people from the region in collaboration with Abuja people.

“We must demand for prosecution of these 419 contractors and recover the looted assets which belong to our people. NDDC and Minsitry of Niger Delta cannot work for the benefit of the people if they continue to operate in darkness. Their procurement policy must reflect a new shared principle of transparency and accountability.

“The federal government must insist that the operators of these institutions should adopt the principles of open governance that place priority on due process and value for money. Enough is a enough.

“If Vice President Osinbajo is able to provide the template that will root out corruption in the NDDC and Ministry of Niger Delta, we have responsibility to rise up in unity to support him and move away from ethnic politics. The same traditional approach will not work.”

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