…Appeals To President Buhari To Appoint Urhobo Indigene As Coordinator Of The Programme
By Daniel Dafe
The President, Urhobo Progress Union (UPU), Youthwing, Comrade Efemena Kelly Umukoro, has called on Ijaw leaders to caution Asari Dokubo, over his unguided statement that described the Presidential Amnesty programme as an agenda for Ijaw Nation only.
He spoke to journalists during a media chat recently in Abraka.
He added: “For Asari to say that the Amnesty programme of the Niger Delta belongs to only the Ijaw nation is an abuse and insult to other ethnic groups in the Niger Delta Region.
“Let me ask him, who is Rex Anigboro to him? Is he an Urhobo or Ijaw man? Do I need to remind Dokubo that though Rex Ekiugbo Anighoro joined the struggle as an individual, it does not take it from him that he is an Urhobo man who hails from Ekiugbo, Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State. Anigboro was his spokesman.
“Urhobo and Isoko youths were very involved in the struggle. The Ijaw had the opportunity of having the president then and provided 45 percent of the armoury in that battle. We fought together collectively and when it was time for benefits, with the influence of the president they edged out other ethnic groups.
“Every Ethnic group has its own pattern of fighting for the progress of the region. when you talk about Resource Control of the Niger Delta region it was an Urhobo man in the person of Chief James Onanefe Ibori who championed it and fought for the current 13% Percent Derivation we are enjoying today. Why did Mr Asari Dokubo not fight to gain 50% Derivation so that we know he is a war Lord? When it is time to fight, they call everybody; when its time to benefit, they personalise the struggle .
“Did Asari Dokubo fight for the Niger Delta people or he made wealth for himself? He claimed he fought for us yet he couldn’t build his University in our region, took money he gained from the struggle to build his university in a foreign Land. How selfish is Asari?
“If Nigeria must remain united, we must respect the opinion of other ethnic groups. When it is time for struggle, agitation and fighting, they will come up with the name ‘ Niger Delta’. I have gone for several meetings as a youth leader and they called it Niger Delta stakeholders. But now because of selfishness and greed, one man sits down in his parlour and he is dishing out threats.”
He continued: “Asari is not a fighter. Have you seen Tompolo on Facebook making videos and ranting? Empty drums truly make the loudest noise. Militant leaders with content will not go on social media and rant. They have a medium of communication. Asari Dokubo shouldn’t truncate the present Peace and Harmony we are enjoying in the region .
“It is so sad that after using our youths, Asari has the guts to abandon them and he is saying the benefit belongs to only the Ijaw Nation when he knows in his heart that the Urhobo youths were more in the struggle.”
According to him, Asari does this ranting regularly anytime there is a change of leadership in the Amnesty Board so that when the new coordinator of the programme comes in, he will be loyal to him (Asari).
He appealed to the President and Commander in chief of the Armed Forces to kindly appoint an Urhobo indigene as Coordinator of the programme for fairness and justice, adding that it is not only the Ijaw Nation that makes up the Niger Delta region.
He said: “From time immemorial, it has been an Ijaw man that has occupied the position of the coordinator of the Amnesty programme. We are the 5th largest ethnic group in Nigeria and second largest in Niger Delta. By virtue of our large landscape, population and inputs to national discourse, we have the right to produce the Special Adviser to Mr. President on Amnesty and Coordinator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme. Hon. Henry Baro, Hon Benjamin Sharta and Jaro Egbo Emuobo Jarofied Egbo are worthy to occupy that position though we are still trying to come up with our position on this.
“Those that have occupied the PAP office went there to enrich themselves and not for the betterment of the Niger Delta people. The Urhobos have large quantity of oil and gas. The fact that our Urhobo youths are good in listening to their leaders does not make them cowards. Asari is daring Urhobo youths to start militancy again which as an Urhobo youth leader I have continuously engaged the youths on the need to sustain the Nigeria project.”
“The likes of Asari joined militancy not for the liberation or the emancipation of the Niger Delta people, but for their personal selfish aggrandizement. I am one of those that were frontliners in the struggle. Asari Dokubo joined the struggle for economical gains,” he averred.
Speaking further, he said: “Ijaw Leaders should understand that the words of Asari are capable of bringing up hostilities in the region again. Ijaw leaders must caution Asari to be mindful of the words he uses in times like this.”
He called on Asari to retract his statement and apologise to the Niger Delta region.
“Ijaws are not known for selfishness. Asari is an individual and we will relate with him as an individual. He should not cause problem in the Niger Delta because of his selfishness. His university is not on Ijaw soil and so he does not have the right to speak when others are talking about issues of the Niger Delta,” he stated.
He called on Urhobo youths to remain calm, stressing that Urhobo youths must say no to militancy, no to destruction of lives and properties and no to Asari Dokubo’s unguided statements.