PANDEF OFFICIALS WITH NIGER DELTA GOVERNORS

The Pan Niger DeltaForum, PANDEF, a socio-political organization in the nation’s oil-rich regionof South-South has accused some federal government appointees from the regionof being used by agents outside the region to frustrate its development.

Specifically, They have accused the appointees of responsible for the terminating of important projects in the region being executed by contractors from the region for pecuniary reasons.

PANDEF also said that if nothing was done to arrest the alleged unjust termination of critical projects handled by Niger Deltans in the region, it would lead to massive unemployment which could cause youths’ restiveness.

This was contained in astatement issued on Sunday by the National Chairman of PANDEF, and formermilitary Governor of Akwa Ibom State, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (retd).Air Commodore Nkanga in the statement issued by the National PublicitySecretary, Hon. Ken Robinson on Sunday in Abuja.

Nkanga revealed thereality that thousands of youths from the region and other parts of the countrymust have become jobless as a result of the contracts that have been reportedlyterminated unjustly.

 According to the statement, such developmentwould add to the already awful unemployment situation, and likely to increasecases of youth restiveness in the Region.

 Advising the Federal political appointees in front of the region to stop bickering and witch-hunting of their brothers and sisters, PANDEF called for cooperation and synergy among them, insisting that lack of rightful cooperation among politicians from the South-South geopolitical zone was worsening the developmental disabilities of the region.

 The statement read thus, “It became necessaryto make this public appeal, partly, because of recent happenings in thenation’s polity, and the continued poor attention to issues of the region bythe Federal Government.

“But, more particularly,because PANDEF has, lately, been inundated with worrying complaints ofarbitrary termination of valid contracts of companies, in which Niger Deltanshave a principal interest, in Ministries, Departments, and Agencies (MDAs) ofthe federal government.

 This development is noticed mainly, inministries where the Ministers are also from the Niger Delta. “If these complaintsare true, then it is very unfortunate. We should not be working againstourselves, for whatever reasons.

 It is saddening that persons from the regionare being used to perpetuate these insidious acts against the region. We areunaware of these occurrences in other parts of the country.

 “We have advised the affected persons, whohave come to us, to exercise patience and not seek redress in the law courtsyet; while we make efforts to ascertain the facts of the matters and seekpeaceful resolutions.

“Because the truth isthat they do have the right to go to court if their contracts/projects wereunlawfully terminated, especially in a manner that indicates vindictiveness andpossible abuse of office by those concerned.

“PANDEF is quitedisturbed by these circumstances; they are unhealthy and inimical to thesocio-economic development of the region. As such we have decided to seekindividual audiences with key political stakeholders, including Ministers,Members of the National Assembly, and Heads of federal MDAs from the Region, todiscuss these concerns, and hopefully resolve them.”

 Continuing, it said,” The reality is that thousands of youths from the region and other parts of the country must have become jobless as a result of the contracts that have been reportedly terminated unjustly. Thereby adding to the already awful unemployment situation, and likely to increase cases of youth restiveness in the Region.

 “So, who are the actual losers in thesesituations? The region and the country, of course; and not necessarily thebusinessmen and women whose contracts/projects were terminated for whateverreason. And that’s the significant point to note!

 “PANDEF had persistently called on theGovernors of the region to work in synergy to boost security and economicactivities in the region. But there is now, more than ever, even greater needfor cooperation and synergy among the Governors, members of the NationalAssembly and Ministers from the Niger Delta, and with, particularly, the elitesand business class of the region.

 “We need to learn to work together,irrespective of political propensities and distinctions, to change thenarrative of the Region for the benefit of present and future generations.

 We cannot afford to continue “as usual”, if wedo, the consequences would be severe. “The painful consummation is that while afew persons may continue to bolster their financial nests and politicalstandings, the vast majority of the people of the Niger Delta Region wouldcontinue to wallow in deplorable economic states.

 One tree can never make a forest. “Whereasothers are maximally appropriating available opportunities to better theirregions and their people, what we have continued to witness are situationswhereby politicians from the region work at crossroads, and undercut oneanother.

This is unsavory and no longer acceptable. “We would like to implore that intrigues and subjective interests should not be allowed to undermine the collective interest of the region and its people.

 The rest of the country is ahead of us on manyfronts. “Regrettably, it is resources from our region that sustain the nationbut the developmental reality of the region remains contradictory.

 The lack of understanding amongst ourpolitical class, even amongst persons in the same political parties, is acontributory factor. “We acknowledge that these unfortunate occurrences are notnew and peculiar to the present gladiators.

 However, we cannot afford to continue in that damning trajectory. The destructive politics of slander and calumny for a political edge, and the bickering, muckraking, and “pulling down” of one another, should cease.

 “The truth is that to keep another down, youmay also have to be down. And in that context, to large extent, the entireregion remains down.” The statement further added, “While PANDEF would continueto accentuate the gross neglect of the region by the federal government, andchampion the cause for the needed attention and actions to reverse thesituation,

 we cannot continue to overlook the internal political anomalies. That is why this appeal has become pertinent. “It is important to remind sons and daughters of the Niger Delta region that the offices they occupy are held in trust for the people because democracy is about the people.

 “And therefore, we are further encouraging ourpolitical class to kindly recalibrate their approach to politics, and endeavourto use the good opportunities the Almighty God has graciously granted them forthe good of the Niger Delta Region rather than being engaged in needless contestationswith their fellow brothers and sisters.

 Nothing less is plausible! “As we seek toadvance personal goals in politics and even in business, let us all, young andold, great and mighty, small and big, from sunrise to sunset, east to west,from Akwa Ibom to Bayelsa, to Cross River, to Delta, to Edo, and to RiversState, bear in mind that we are all one.

“Let us, therefore, be fair to one another, and work in synergy, to create value, and fast track the socio-economic development of our region.” PANDEF advised that the interest of the Niger Delta region should come first in all they do as it was being practiced by politicians in other regions of the country, adding,” Let our mantra become, henceforth, Niger Delta first!

“We hope that allconcerned would give conscientious contemplations to the matters hereinhighlighted, and act accordingly, in the overall interest of the Niger Deltaregion and Nigeria, our country. “Posterity will not forgive us if we dootherwise.