Niger Delta Must Benefit Maximally from its Resources, Says Okorotie
The Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, on Tuesday said the people of the Niger Delta must benefit maximally from its resources, through a restructured Nigeria, to ensure sustainable peace and stability in the region.
National Chairman of PANDEF, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (rtd) stated this during the second national executive committee meeting and inauguration of the Bayelsa state chapter of the forum led by its
Chairman, Chief Thompson. K Okorotie, at the Traditional Rulers Council in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa state capital.
Air Commodore Nkanga (rtd) note that, the forum is aware of the myriad of challenges facing the country, hence it has joined forces with Pan Yoruba group, Afenifere, Ohaneze N’Digbo, the Middle Belt Forum and recently the Northern Elders Forum, in clamouring for the restructuring of the country, as espoused in its sixteen point agenda, which includes fiscal federalism.
He pointed out that, Nigeria cannot be a first class country with second class citizens, stressing the need for President Muhammadu Buhari to commence the process of restructuring the country, so as to accommodate all ethnic groups/nationality.
The PANDEF National Chairman charged the newly inaugurated Bayelsa State Executive Committee, led by its Chairman, Chief T. K.O. Okorotie to take the message of restructuring to the nooks and crannies of the state.
He charged them to carry out their mandate, in accordance with the objectives and the constitution of the forum.
His words: “The main issue that we have spoken about in Ibadan, Yenagoa, Akwa and Makurdi had been that Nigeria has to be restructured so that everybody would be accommodated. That there be no first class or second class citizens.
PANDEF has made giant strides. We have been able to collaborate with similar bodies in other zones of the country which is largely because we are aware that Nigeria is not standing erect.
It is the desire of the people of the Niger Delta to be properly accommodated in the Nigerian nation. You have the envious position of being the first state executives to be inaugurated”.
In an acceptance speech, Chief T. K. O. Okorotie said the federal government should take the initiative and make concerted efforts to urgently restructure the country, which must be done in a gradual process to make room for adjustments.
He described the task ahead of the State Chapter as a worthy mission, while lamenting the cap-in-hand attitude of states, who have failed or out rightly refused develop and exploit their own resources, but instead depend on the oil and gas produced in the Niger Delta.
Chief Okorotie, who acknowledged PANDEF leader, Pa Edwin Clark’s role in uniting the various ethnic tribes in the Niger Delta to have a unified voice, also emphasized the need for adequate sensitization, Mobilization, as well as the establishment of local government chapters to drive the message of restructuring of the Nigerian federation.
His words: “This is a worthy mission that every Niger Deltan must follow.
The battle must be won whether there is someone saying we cannot do it, the federal government must make efforts to restructure the
country. It must be a gradual process. We are not rushing into it, but we want the federal government to make the pronouncement now, the implementation must be now.
Every state is meant to own, develop and exploit their resources, but instead they are resting on the oil and gas produced in the Niger Delta. Until this country recognises the oil producing areas, the Niger Delta, there won’t be peace”.
Those inaugurated include; Vice Chairman – Senator Inatimi Rufus-Spiff, Secetary – Chief Douye Douglas-Naingba, Assistant Secretary – Chief Isaac A. Macaulay, Publicity Secretary – Chief Kalaiti Jephthah Obadiah, Treasurer – Lady Anne Yougha, Financial Secretary – Chief Amafini Lucky Zipador and the Organising Secretary, Chief Dikivie Okolovie Obhoo.
Others are; Assistant Organising Secretary, Abule Biriala-Ateh, Legal Adviser – Barr. Timipa Okponipere, Auditor – Hon. A. E Osomu, Woman Leade – Barr. Tariere Gita, Assistant Woman Leader – Amina Obiobele James, Youth Leader – Comrade Temple Sambo and Assistant Youth Leader – Chief Diepreye Amadein.