Self-acclaimed ex-militant generals Wednesday gathered in Yenagoa to decry the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta Region's (MEND) endorsement of the APC standard-bearer, Muhammadu Buhari.
While the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) through its spokesperson, Eric Omare, described the adoption of Buhari by the "ghost" MEND as inconsequential and of no electoral value, they also reminded supporters that elections are won by votes cast by "physical" and "verifiable" human beings.
Self-described ex-militant leader, Eris Paul, known as General Ogunbos, said the purported endorsement of Buhari by the defunct MEND is laughable and a clear call to the Niger Delta people to ready for war against invading political elements sponsored by the leaders of the All Progressive Congress (APC).
In his reaction, Paul, whose reputation has reportedly earned him a ban from his community of Peremabiri in Bayelsa State, accused those purported to be MEND members of being sponsored and paid the sum of five-hundred thousand by a former governor of Bayelsa and a serving governor of a South-South state to embark on the allegedly fake endorsement plan and orchestrate an orgy of violence in the region.
Paul, who led others from the region, said though the people of the Niger Delta do not subscribe to violence, they will attack states controlled by the opposition party if their region comes under attack. "We will react violently to any calculated plan by the opposition political leaders to sponsor some few disgruntled elements in the Niger Delta to perpetuate violence. If there is any attack in the Niger Delta, it will be met by multiple attack in the states under their control," he threatened.
"In a situation where the people of the Niger Delta have decided to adopt a non-violence posture due to the President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, it should not mean that we are cowards. We want the members of the pseudo MEND and their sponsors to know that if they buy arms to carry out their evil intentions, we will produced guns to counter them. If they buy bombs, we will produce bombs."
Paul said the founders of MEND and other former freedom fighters in the region are solidly behind President Goodluck Jonathan. "We want to clearly dissociate ourselves from the purported statement by MEND. We are aware that those disgruntled elements were paid money to issue a statement of lies and deceit."
In a statement, Omare said the IYC was not surprised by the adoption of Buhari by the purported group labelled as MEND. "MEND of today is no more the original MEND that was formed by ex-agitators in the Niger-Delta region to fight for the emancipation of the region. We strongly believe that with this adoption, the stage is now set for the bloodthirsty insurgent group, Boko Haram, that has killed thousands of innocent Nigerians in the northern part of the country to adopt Buhari as its presidential candidate."
"This has confirmed the long held belief of many Nigerians that General Buhari has sympathy for bloodthirsty insurgent groups such as Boko Haram and the present MEND. The injustice against the people of the Niger-Delta which led to the agitation was foisted on them through the successive administration of people from the 'born-to-rule' clan of General Buhari. Hence, it is a contradiction for the so-called MEND which claimed to be fighting for the Niger-Delta region to adopt the continuation of the injustice against the Niger-Delta region."
"We are in support of President Jonathan’s second term ambition as demonstrated in the massive rally at Uyo, Akwa-Ibom State in November 2014 under the leadership of Alhaji Asari Dokubo, Pastor Reuben, and others. Furthermore, the Niger-Delta people are solidly behind President Jonathan’s re-election bid as we believe that he has performed creditably during his first term and deserves a second term in office."