By Daniel Dafe
The Urhobo Progress Union (UPU), has challenged the presidential candidates of the All Progressives Congress, APC, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and other political parties to “bring the intractable issues of underdevelopment, misery and age-long neglect of the Niger Delta people to the front burner of their campaigns.”
In a press release signed by Martins Ahweyewu Mukoro Esq., National Secretary and Engr. Chief Joseph Orode Omene, President-General, the socio-cultural body added that the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), “has failed to effectively meet its interventionist objective in the Niger Delta region.”
The group said that NDDC has been more concerned in serving the interests of the political class rather than the larger interest of the people of the region.
While congratulating the duo of President Muhammadu Buhari, and former Vice President Atiku Abubakar, for emerging as the presidential candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) respectively, UPU opined that in due time they would decide among the political parties, which of these will be supported by Urhobo nation during the presidential and gubernatorial elections.
This, they said would be based on which of them is “favourably disposed and committed to addressing the socio-political and economic yearnings and aspiration of the Urhobo nation and its people.”
The statement also said: “The two main political parties must however not miss the providential significance of the coincidence of both political parties holding their conventions on the same date. The UPU, on a nationalistic note, would wish and indeed demand that the nation’s electoral umpire, INEC, emulate the same sense of commitment to duty the two political parties employed in conducting their primaries.
“If there is anything, the successful conduct of the conventions, goes to show that Nigerians can conduct free, fair, credible and transparent elections if they set their minds and hearts to it. It is against this background, we wish to call on INEC to be impartial in the discharge of it duties. The organization should ensure to adhere strictly to the provisions of the Electoral Act and its guidelines.”
They called on INEC to “resist intimidation and cheap blackmail from detractors and paid sycophants during this period.”