After careful perusal of the above titled document released by the group calling itself the Movement for New Nigeria, The Movement for the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta.(MEND) deems it appropriate and perhaps crucial for two(2) reasons, to voice our position on this document. Firstly the authors of this release purport to have co-opted the people of the Niger Delta in a scheme of which we Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) are ignorant. Additionally, the caliber of persons signatory to this document, presents a source of concern. Our simple understanding of the beliefs and intentions of this organization and our response accordingly, is as follows;
Movement for new Nigeria: Nigeria is an amalgam of several ethnically dissimilar nationalities coaxed and coerced into co-existing in a federation by our colonial conquerors. The amalgamation of the northern and southern protectorates in 1914 and later unification of all ethnic nationalities by Nigeria’s colonial conquerors was a grave error, the effects of which are still being felt in Nigeria.
Movement for the emancipation of the Niger Delta: Regarding the forced unification of tribes in Nigeria, that is a truism not peculiar to Nigeria but all nations occupied at some point by colonial power. Historically, borders of most nations were shaped by conflict coercion and providence. Nearly all nations of the world are a product of these processes. Israel finds itself stuck with an Arab Muslim population, the United States with a growing Muslim and immigrant population and many European countries with the Romany whose origins are traceable to as far as Asia.
What the movement for new Nigeria blames on colonial conquerors that physically departed our shores more than half a century ago, we The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) attribute to providence.
By providence, Nigerians like people of other nations find ourselves inseparable from our compatriots with dissimilar beliefs and cultures. The development of the new nation upon independence and the ultimate survival of Nigeria as a nation depended heavily on the respect of the conciliatory agreement which brought together divers ethnic nationalities in the creation of Nigeria. This agreement was represented by the independence constitution. Like all agreement, this constitution upon creation was subject to continuous generally acceptable revisions. All ethnic nationalities that make up Nigeria must be bound by these facts.
Movement for New Nigeria: On independence from Britain, Nigeria was “inherited” by the natives of the former Northern protectorate, in particular the Hausa-Fulani.
Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta: The assertion that Northern Nigeria “inherited” the new nation of Nigeria upon its independence from its colonial conquerors is a gross misconception. After the discovery of oil in the Niger Delta, the British reluctantly granted independence to Nigerians but only from direct British rule.
The largely uneducated and unexposed Northern Nigerians were considered most pliable by the departing colonial masters and therefore susceptible to manipulation and control from far away England. Every ruler in Nigeria from independence to date has faithfully and gladly consented to servitude in their relationship with Britain and the rest of the western world ruling Nigeria by proxy, in total disregard of the interests and well-being of the Nigerian populace.
Colonial rule by proxy accounts for the maladministration of most African countries and the plight of millions of Africans from potentially rich countries such as Ivory Coast where Alassane Ouattara is now a ruling servant of France which will force him before the ICC for atrocities committed by his troops in his quest for power, should he ever dare to step out of line with his masters. Mobutu a ruthless despot, who enslaved his people and “bled” his nation, did so at the behest of the United States.
The argument that the North is holding on to power for the sake of the betterment of the people of the North, is disingenuous considering that Northern Nigeria with the exception of Abuja which lies within the middle belt, remains noticeably infrastructural disadvantaged.
Nigeria before independence was ruled by our colonial conquerors and after independence by stooges elevated to power by our former colonial masters and other western nations. With exception of General Yakubu Gowon, every Nigerian leader has besides serving western nations, catered solely for family and friends.
Movement for New Nigeria: The refusal of certain northerners to accept the result of the recently concluded presidential elections in Nigeria is directly related to Northern abhorrence of Goodluck Jonathan who like all southerners is looked upon as a “slave boy” in line with Ahmadu Bello`s admonition to descendants of Uthman danfodio which promotes an idea of perpetual Northern rule of Nigeria and servitude of the south and minority tribes in the North.
Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta: The recently concluded presidential election is accepted by most Nigerians to have been a farce. How then can legitimate and peaceful objection to this dubious selection of a president be construed as discrimination?
Objection to election results is common in many parts of the world especially Africa and is indeed, a part of the democratic process which is why such objections are permitted by every democracy. The allusion to Goodluck Jonathan being a “slave boy” is a statement of an obvious fact.
Jonathan is a SLAVE BOY. Goodluck Jonathan is a slave to the western world, oil companies, Northern elements and Obasanjo and anyone who can assure his stay in power.
President Jonathan has occupied the highest office in the land for close to two(2) years now and has nothing to show for his time in office except for the billions of us dollars he has looted from the national treasury in order to fraudulently remain in office.
In Bayelsa state, Jonathan and his wife Patience emptied the state coffers stealing billions of Naira. He was the most ineffectual and corrupt leader in the history of his state.
This theft of state funds by Dr & Mrs. Jonathan is the fuel for Jonathan’s passion to retain Timipre Sylva as governor of Bayelsa state. This, Jonathan intends to achieve through rigging the forthcoming elections in that state to the consternation of more than 99% of the indigenes of Bayelsa state who can not wait another day to see the back of Sylva.
Sylva’s use to Jonathan which is now serving as a tool of blackmail is the continued cover-up of the theft of Bayelsa state funds by Goodluck Jonathan and his wife in his brief tenure as governor of that State.
As first lady of Bayelsa state, Patience was noted for her greed and implicated in laundering millions of pounds to England, the same offence for which James Ibori is facing trial in England. Has the government of England forgotten about Patience Jonathan so soon?
Contrary to urban myth, the arrest of D.S.P. Alamieseigha by the British government was the catalyst for the 2005 insurrection as Alamieseigha at that time was very voluble on the subject of resource control by the people of the Niger Delta. Asari, by chance found himself in the same boat as Alamieseigha. The Movement for the Emancipation for the Niger Delta (MEND) has never had any working relationship with Asari or the group he once led. Both groups differ in ideology as night is to day.
Regarding the arrest of Alamieseigha, the British governments realized too late what their actions would result in, releasing him and pretending he escaped from custody. Most Nigerian leaders have stashed away in England, billions of pounds and the British government will be well advised to prosecute all these rulers, Obasanjo inclusive, and return their loot to Nigeria or else the British government will be forced again to spew those they choose to hold for political benefits. The government of Britain like South Africa allows itself to be used as thugs in order to consolidate the position of its selected stooge as president of Nigeria.
Two (2) years in power is sufficient time to have put Obasanjo and his band of thieves in prison where they belong, provide basic necessities such as electricity; generally improve the daily lives of Nigerians. Setting aside ethnic and religious sentiments, Jonathan’s administration of Nigeria is desultory and his presence at the helm of affairs is nugatory to the Niger Delta in particular and Nigeria in general. His presidency can only be explained as the fulfillment of a curse upon the people of Nigeria. The ignorant, unguided and thoughtless utterances of the likes of Ahmadu Bello, have no place in a new Nigeria.
It should be remembered as well that equally provoking statements emerged from the Niger Delta from where powerless miscreants threatened the disintegration of Nigeria if Jonathan was not returned to office by any means. For as long as the negative ideology of Ahmadu Bello is absent in any form from the Nigerian constitution, and non-Muslim, non northern Nigerians have held the reins of the most powerful office in the nation, the admonition of Ahmadu Bello should be taken for what it is; the ranting of a small and sick mind. All such asinine comments would best be relegated to the annals of Nigerian history. Its mention decades later by the authors of document are a crafty and despicable attempt to whip-up anti- North sentiments.
4. Movement for New Nigeria: Our forebears acquiesced in the brand of federal system of government that succeeded colonial direct rule and with the exception of northern Nigeria; all are suffering the effect of the cowardice of our ancestors.
Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta: This assertion is entirely untrue as Nigerians have since the first military coup, being robbed of the rights to which our forebears appended their signatures. This conciliatory agreement which was the independence constitution would have sufficed if respected and strictly adhered to by all parties. The former colonial masters intervened time and again through the military in order to secure control of the resources of all ethnic nationalities especially the people of the Niger Delta mutilating the independence constitution.
5. Movement for New Nigeria: The Oligarchy which “inherited” Nigeria from Britain refuses to negotiate the issue of the mutilated independence constitution and subsequent injustice which has granted the North a majority of states and local governments. This also led to the usurpation of land, sovereignties, water ways and theft of resources by the central government. The 1999 constitution was foist on all Nigerians in breach of our sovereignties in a Nigeria presently run of the basis of a master – servant relationship. This argument by implication further negates all laws binding the different ethnic nationalities rendering these laws unenforceable and granting authority to all parties to Nigeria to secede at will. The proffered solution under these dire circumstances, is the division of Nigeria into four countries with the people of the NIGER DELTA apportioned to one of these units now referred to as the lower Niger Federation.
Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta: The movement for New Nigeria has failed to appreciate that the mutilation of the Nigerian constitution by its military leaders of Northern origin was only possible with the collaboration of numerous southerners who benefited immensely from these illegitimate military governments. These southerners at that time like southern legislators of today were presented as representing the interest of other ethnic nationalities. Nigerians have forgotten how Ernest Shonekan assisted Northern military elements in hijacking the most successful election in Nigeria.
Prof. Tam David-West in an interview with Yinka Fabowale, stated “Stupid. He should look at the law, the oil belongs to Nigeria”. This supposedly learned indigene of the Niger Delta supports the parasitic existence of many state in Nigeria on the resources of the Niger Delta. He claimed people will die if the revenue accrued from petroleum sales is not shared amongst the states of the federation encouraging states with potentially viable resources and economies to sit back and enjoy the oil revenue until the wells run dry.
He later in this interview proceeds to extol the virtues of Isaac Boro. This is a strange contradiction as Isaac Boro in all likelihood would have had the professor shot for his utterances which effectively concedes the lands of the people of the Niger Delta to the central government.
Prof. David-West was a collaborator in an illegitimate government headed by General Buhari and he shamelessly states in the same interview that pleaded with this illegitimate ruler to execute all indigenes of the Niger Delta who “stole oil”. If David-west had his way, “bunkering” would have been punishable by death. David-west takes a further step into madness by claiming without substantiating that all militia leaders in today’s Niger Delta are involved in self-enriching criminal ventures.
All self proclaimed elders of Niger Delta origin, from chief E.K. Clark to the lowest, never contributed one kobo to the fight for justice and do not have a clue as to how weapons, equipment and finances are being sourced to sustain our quest for justice. The revered mentor of every militant group in the delta, MEND inclusive, Isaac Boro like Ken Saro-wiwa was a prophet on whose words and actions we have all drawn inspiration to challenge the might of the Nigerian government. Isaac Boro’s prowess as a soldier and strategist were untested but Boro served his purpose as a prophet bringing to the people of the delta a message of hope.
Prof. David-West and others from the delta should weigh their utterances and show respect for the thousands, from Ken Saro-wiwa to the young men who have paid the ultimate price fighting to actualize the dreams and visions of Isaac Boro. A critical examination of the 1999 constitution and earlier mutilations will no doubt expose the collaboration of southerners in the conspiracy to rob all Nigerians of their land and resources.
In an attempt to further distort the Nigerian constitution and grant him a third term in office, Obasanjo, a Christian southerner, stole and spent billions of us dollars bribing legislators to amend the Nigerian constitution to suit his selfish purpose. How much effort and money Obasanjo in his eight (8) years in office put towards addressing the injustices contained in the 1999 constitution? Another example of southern collaboration with the north on unjust and contentious issues was the acrimonious competition between Timi Sylva and Aliabe in the fraudulent disarmament process. The price offered to who would disarm more militans by the late president Yar Adua was the governorship of Bayelsa state. This led both sides to purchase weapons to bolster their numbers. Neither of these morons (Sylva nor Alaibe) was interested in the just resolution of the Niger delta issue which has plagued Nigeria for decades. They were satisfied in collaborating with what was a futile attempt at emasculating the people of the Niger delta, for selfish reasons.
6. Movement for New Nigeria: The failure of General Gowon to abide by agreements which would have resulted in the secession of the Biafran republic was resultant upon the norths disdain for colonel Ojukwu who like Goodluck Jonathan, they regarded as a slave boy.
Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger delta: This argument is unstable and untenable for several reasons. Ojukwu is a very intelligent, articulate and self confident man who unlike Jonathan can not be described by anyone as possessing slave-like qualities. Prior to the Nigerian civil war, the minority tribes of the eastern region were disgruntled by the discriminatory treatment meted out to them by the majority Igbo tribe.
The minority tribes of the eastern region were not adequately and respectfully consulted before Ojukwu embarked on his journey to secession. At the inception of war, Ojukwu could best be described as young, arrogant, egotistic and tribalistic. Impeccable qualities for a potential dictator.
Realizing that life in the new Biafran republic would have been dictated by a master-servant relationship, the minority tribes of the eastern region sided with the federal government to resist the break- away. The movement for new Nigeria is attempting to repeat history by claiming plenipotentiary powers without extensively consulting with all who may be required to sacrifice their lives in the event of war. They have renamed the republic of Biafra, the lower Niger without asking themselves the all-important question; will the people of the Niger delta accept to form a new federation with eastern Nigerians without extensive consultation and sober reflection? The answer to this question is a resounding NO!!! We will not be accused by posterity of acquiescing in the participation of a new union just as our progenitors now stand accused by The Movement of a new Nigeria.
General Gowon’s meetings and agreements with colonel Ojukwu were a time wasting and tactically sound judgment based upon Gowon’s realization that Ojukwu lacked the support of all minority tribes and was therefore not in full control of Biafra. This had nothing to do with a disdain for Ojukwu who is deserving of nothing but respect for his courage and determination. If we must return to a pre-colonial dispensation as this document proposes, Nigeria must fragment into ethnically harmonious units which can at free-will forge alliances. This suggestion is a recipe for anarchy as is witnessed in Somalia.
7. Movement for New Nigeria: Islamic northerners have the right impose sharia law within the confines of their homelands provided such laws are not extended to Christian communities’ habituating within close proximity of these Islamic northern homelands and after all said. The Movement for New Nigeria expresses its willingness to abide by any internationally sanctioned apportioning of land and sovereignties of present day Nigeria.
Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger delta: The right to freedom of worship and expression must be enshrined in any constitution and remain non-negotiable. Religion is a personal relationship between man and his creator and should be restricted to places of worship, homes and our hearts.
God requires voluntary worship and respect for his commandments and as such, Muslims in the south should not be compelled to abandon their faith just as well as Christian in the north must not face persecution on account of their faith, neither should any faithful be bullied into conforming with practices of contrary to ones beliefs.
It is insane for any society live by both sharia and secular laws which are diametrically opposed. Two Muslims preferring to go before a sharia motivated adjudicator should be free to do just as Christian take disputes before church elders. Whatever decisions reached by such arbitration can then be registered in a court of law, rendering it binding upon parties involved.
The “almajari’s” of the north and masses of the south are sick and tired of maladministration and corruption in government. The upsurge in radicalism nationwide is directly related to corruption and theft of public funds with impunity, diminishing the quality of life of the people of Nigeria in general. Leaders in the north do not lead sharia compliant lives and if they were to be judged by the laws they preach and publicly advocate would all be limbless.
Juxtaposing Nigerian leaders with their counterparts in developed countries helps in creating a clearer picture of how deep in trouble Nigeria is. From the local government chairman to his governor, on to the legislators through to the president, Nigeria is administered by common criminals. Even if present day Nigeria is divided into ten (10) new nations, each country will go with its fair share of criminals who will continue with plundering, tribalism, nepotism and all social ills afflicting our society.
The USA has a greater population than Nigeria and if Americans are to be classified by tribe, the USA would certainly have more tribes than exist in Nigeria yet Americans live in relative harmony and when compared with situation in Nigeria, bliss!
The Movement for New Nigeria appears to be under the illusion that the international community cares for the oppressed and will faithfully work towards an equitable and generally acceptable division of Nigeria. In this dog eat dog world, it is every nation for itself. Alliances are cosmetics and founded mostly on selfish interests. President Obama is responsible only to the people of the United States and will cease to be president the moment he places the interests of the Niger delta or Nigeria before that of the United States. To Obama, it is okay for the despoiling of the Niger delta to continue as long as western oil companies conduct this plunder in a “civilized” and discrete manner. The United states claims to be championing the rights of the oppressed worldwide yet they have killed more Afghan civilians than the Taliban and more Iraqi civilians than Sadam Hussen.
Israel in one episode murdered more Lebanese civilian than all the Jews killed by right wing Islamic terrorist groups since the existence of Israel yet no one from any of these countries has appeared before the ICC on war crimes charges. The French intervention in Ivory Coast was solely to safeguard its interests and land-locked Burkina Faso.
Whether the governments of Iran and Syria realize this or not, it is in their interest to support the Libyan government, Taliban, IRA, and insurgent groups in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Iraq and worldwide where western forces are present as if they (western nations) get rest from the wars in Afghanistan, Iraq and Libya, they will turn their attention to bombing and occupying Iran and Syria.
The bane of Nigeria is bad leadership in all spheres of governance. Nigeria must be “destroyed from foundation level” by Nigerians and re-built. Just as the people of Tunisia and Egypt took their destinies into their hands, the people of Nigeria must rise up and rid our land of the scum who have held millions to ransom since the physical departure of our colonial masters.
All Nigerian leaders before and after General Yakubu Gowon have vulgarized the highest office in the land thus encouraging thieves and thugs to aspire to the office of president of Nigeria.
Nigeria is in dire need, not of division but quality leaders. Men and women of integrity armed with courage to resign when the burden of responsible leadership proves too much to bear. Nigeria is in need of and ripe for a revolution which will cleanse these criminal leaders from society.
When we have responsible leaders who care about those they are supposed to serve, providing good infrastructure, jobs, housing, security, electricity, and portable water, equitable distribution of wealth and opportunities, then radicalism will fade into oblivion and no one will care for who is king in Abuja. Leaders who realize that they are servants of the people and not masters. If such leadership can be produced by a southerner, he will be embraced by the North and vice versa.
Inept, corrupt and power hungry leaders from both sides of the divide have contributed to the failure of Nigeria. These people continue to blind Nigerians to their inadequacies over plying the tribal and religious cards to divide and rule.
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) will continue to pursue vigorously the emancipation of the people of the Niger Delta from corrupt leadership and the grip of western oil companies. Where possible, we will assist and collaborate with groups and individuals in Nigeria willing to uproot the corrupt leaderships of states and federal government. We will do this only towards the realization of ONE NIGERIA where there will be justice, respect for rule of law and independence of the judiciary, intolerance of religious bigotry and nepotism. ONE NIGERIA where fairness to all citizens regardless of tribe, gender or religion will reign supreme!
The sole motive of this utterly abhorrent diatribe on the failure of Nigeria as a state by the Movement for new Nigeria is the actualization of the impossible dream of a state of Biafra under any guise. The people of the Niger Delta and indeed all Nigerians must resist this selfish plot by any means necessary.
Nigeria is not a failed nation; Nigeria’s leaders have failed the nation.