Quasi-News and Commentary
In what may be a first for any militant group in Nigeria, the “Sole Spokesperson” of the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force & the Niger Delta People’s Salvation Front (NDPVF), in a “LETTER TO THE RIVERS PEOPLE: THE CURRENT STATE OF OUR HOME STATE – A CALL FOR A WHITE REVOLUTION,” accused the Rivers State governor, Peter Odili of incompetence and corruption.
The letter, emailed to international journalists, from the spokesperson who calls himself “ARGAMEMNON,” called on all people of the state to take part in what has been characterized as a “struggle for life.”
It stated Odili cared more about the president and his family than the Rivers man and his family. He accuses the governor who is a candidate for the presidency, of spending money on a university in the northern part of Nigeria, while the Rivers State University of Science and Technology suffered in squalor.
A major charge put forth by the NDPVF spokesperson is that of waste on a state power plant that has been mismanaged from the beginning:
For the past eight years, more than N60 billion from the coffers of Rivers
people has been wasted on the most expensive and non-value adding project
in the history of the Niger Delta, the Rivers State Gas turbine project.
While the Omoku Gas Turbine has already been commissioned by Retired
General Olusegun Obasanjo, the people of Rivers State still groan under
the weight of abject power outage. It is inconceivable that the President
retired General Olusegun Obasanjo would be associated with such a
dubiously founded project. If N60 billion of our people’s money was spent
on a vain project, whoever was responsible for this flagrant abuse of
badly needed funds must be made to account for it.
We would like to inform the good people of Rivers State about the following;
1. Rockson Engineering Company was incorporated in Nigeria in the year
2000 and awarded the gas turbine project contract almost immediately.
2. Rockson Engineering Company has never had previous gas turbine
3. Is it not foolish to award a N60 billion contract to a company that has
had no previous experience of this sort before????
4. THIS PROJECT & AWARD IS A CLEAR DESCRIPTION OF ‘A TOTAL BREACH OF DUE
The letter went on to praise the government of neighboring Cross River State. Governor Duke, another presidential hopeful from Odili’s own party, the People’s Democratic Party, for the way it put together its gas turbine project under the Niger Delta Power Holding Company. Unlike Rivers State’s project, Cross River State awarded its contracts to well known international companies with years of experience building power plants. Those companies include General Electric, Cummins and Matsushita. No croneyism here.
Odili was accused of spending billions of naira to procure air ambulances for billions of naira when rural health care centers lack even good drinking water, beds, drugs and health practitioners. “We have seen air ambulances purchased by the Rivers State government when rural health care centers have been rendered inhabitable by mosquitoes and other insects. Any attempt to foist such evil continuity will be resisted with the last drop of our blood,” wrote Argamemnon, “Today, these so-called air ambulances have become vehicles used by Governor Peter Odili to drive his visionless presidential campaign.”
The letter also talked of the fact that while Rivers State receives one of the biggest allocations of funds from the fedeal government, “yet we have the worst collections of roads (death traps), drainages, schools and health centers.”
The appeal to the people of Rivers State becomes more impassioned:
The truth and fact of the matter isâ€¦a certain cabal is exploiting the
Governor of Rivers state by encouraging him to run for the presidency of
the Federal Republic of Nigeria. This cabal has assured Governor Peter
Odili that they will lend him as much northern support as possible. In
return, Governor Odili will fund the political aspirations of some members
of this cabal in their various states. For instance, Aminu Bello Masari is
the speaker of the House of Representatives. He seeks to run for the
governorship of his state (Katsina) against the interest of the incumbent
governor of Katsina State. He has formed an alliance with Peter Odili to
enable him feed off the limitless resources at Odili’s disposal. This
resources, he believes will enable him gain better political ground for
his gubernatorial campaign.
Not too long ago, about N240 million was used to mobilize northern youth
groups in Kaduna to campaign for a South South presidency as well as
endorse Governor Peter Odili for the position.
This dance of shame was hatched and concocted by the then Minister of
Transport Abiye Sekibo and a former minister of state of the same ministry
who is a northerner.
Now fellow Rivers people, imagine what that amount of money could have
done for the Rivers man, woman and child. Imagine how many textbooks it
could have been able to buy for our improved public schools. Imagine how
many desks could have been added to our classrooms. Imagine how many
laboratories could have become well stocked with that amount of money.
Imagine how much that amount would have gone if it was used to provide and
boost venture capital that will enable high risk groups in our state to
pursue self owned businesses.
In touching and almost poetic rhetoric, the spokesperson says “…we are dying slowly. The worst kind of death is the death of the mind and spirit. Our young men cannot dream dreams and our young women are losing focus. Prostitution has become a norm. All this is happening because we have a government that cannot think deeply. All this is happening because we have a government that lacks the wherewithal
to think out of the box and create real welfarist solutions for the greater good of the Rivers man, woman and child.”
Calling Odili and his cronies “agents of the Anti-Christ,” the letter charges that “any government that cannot invest in the education of its people is cursed and doomed to fail.
Odili was berated for declaring Rotimi Amaechi as “the flag bearer of the People’s Democratic Party in Rivers state. We believe that this was done to ensure fraudulent continuity in government to enable them hide the crimes they have committed against the Rivers man, woman and child for the past eight years.
Final points made in this passionate letter:
- We call on all Rivers people to stand up and resist any attempt to foist on us any visionless and incompetent leadership.
- We call on all Rivers people to come out in total civil disobedience as we roll out the ‘WhiteRevolution’ against any attempt to undermine not only the VOICE of our people, but also the VOTES of our people.
- We call on all Rivers people to come out and join us as we proclaim that we shall make Rivers state ungovernable in days to come.
- We call on our brothers in the creeks to take the battle to those who seek to disenfranchise our people and take away their right to vote for a competent, tested and capable leader. This revolution must stand.
- We must resist any attempt by any oligarchy to continue to impoverish our people. For eight years, Rotimi Amaechi led the most ineffective, corruptand character lacking house of assemblies in Nigeria.
- We must resist any attempt by these people or their associates to foistany incompetent or untested political stooge, clumsy rubberstamp and ill-educated fellow on our people. We will resist this with all of our being.
and it finally ended with “Join the White Revolution today. The struggle is our life!”
The NDPVF is not the first militant group to oppose presidential candidates from the south-south and Niger Delta. Over the weekend, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), released a statement saying it will work against any presidential candidate from the south. Peter Odili was mentioned by name. The group went on to say it will support candidate from the north. It seems like a strange move for the Niger Delta militant groups to oppose poliians from the region but it may be that these groups want to distance themselves from the corruption these men are contaminated with.
With the presidnetial and gubernatorial campaigns in full swing around the country, it goes without saying that miltant groups like MEND and the NDPVF will make sure their voices are heard.
Wordworks2001 is a retired US Army master sergeant. He lives inIndiana and works in Nigeria. He blogs at http://wordworks2001.blogspot.com