Posted by News Express | 17 January 2013 | 3,081 times
For how much longer will President Goodluck Jonathan continue to suffer for his misguided loyalty to people he feels obligated to at the detriment of public interest? This is the question now agitating the minds of many following demands by some of his staunchest backers for him to wield the axe on the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe, and his Petroleum Resources counterpart, Mrs. Diezani Allison-Madueke, both of whom stand accused of corruption and incompetence.
Less than a month after former Niger Delta rebel leader, Alhaji Mujaheed Dokubo Asari, lambasted Jonathan for retaining Orubebe in his cabinet, two other major ex-militants, Chief Ateke Tom and Ebikabowei Victor Ben, (aka Boyloaf), yesterday threatened to withdraw their support for Jonathan’s administration unless he sacks Orubebe and Allison-Madueke.
In a three-page statement jointly signed by Ateke Tom and Boyloaf, the duo pointedly accused Orubebe and Allison-Madueke of presiding over corrupt ministries and of failing to deliver the dividends of democracy to Nigerians. They also warned of dire consequences if Jonathan should fail to sack the discredited ministers.
The two ex-militant leaders in the statement entitled “State of the Nation as it affects the Niger Delta” warned President Jonathan that “he might be headed for a dooms day” if he does not do the right thing now.
The statement reads in part: “With the recent happenings, we have come to the conclusion that the ministry that was set up to look into the issues of infrastructural development of the region has turned to a total, catastrophic failure and embarrassment to the government and people it was set up to look into their affairs.
“So far, in summary, we believe that the government of President Jonathan has not done its best in reaching the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians who overwhelmingly voted for him, even we his own people are seriously dissatisfied with the way things are going and may be left with no option than to withdraw our support for his government if things don’t change in the best interest of Nigerians,” Ateke Tom and Boyloaf said.
Going down to specifics, they said about the Niger Delta Ministry: “When the ministry was set up, we saw some level of seriousness on the part of government to address issues of our region, and we accepted and supported a native of the region. Little did we know that we were endangering our future and that of our next generation in the hands of an incompetent man.
“Those we supported are now leading the destruction of the region and are busy amassing wealth for their personal gains. There is evidence everywhere in the East-West road contract, shoreline protection contracts, empowerment and skill acquisition, design and development of coastal roads.
“Issues have been raised in many quarters and yet everybody folds their arms and watch for things to take the worst turn. Just a week ago, another petrol tanker fell because of the deep potholes and it roasted Nigerians to death. From statistics, the people that have died along the East west road are now ten times those that died during the Niger Delta struggle.”
“From statistics available, the amount of Nigerians that have died along the East-West Road because of its deplorable state is 10 times the number of people that died during the entire Niger Delta struggle.
“We risked our lives in the creeks for years to fight and agitate for our region to be recognised and given attention by the Federal Government, only for it to come and we sit and watch a few people destroy it, we are now saying enough is enough. If nothing is urgently done we fear for the future and we cannot be held responsible.
“President Jonathan must now take the issues raised by various stakeholders seriously and address the yearnings and cry of Nigerians.”
Indicting Allison-Madueke, Ateke Tom and Boyloaf said: “The Ministry of Petroleum is in charge of overseeing the affairs of the Nigerian oil and gas sector is now a theatre of monumental fraud where all manner of shady deals are orchestrated. It is no longer news that things have gone so bad also thereby bringing serious embarrassment and shame to the government of President Jonathan.
“We are now being called a region of incompetent leaders, and the same ministry is headed by a Niger Delta person, Diezani Alison Madueke. We are calling in strong terms that action be taken now to save our people this shame.”
Ateke Tom and Boyloaf however disagreed with Dokubo on his dismissal of the amnesty programme as “419 and total failure.” The two men, however, admitted: “Of recent times, we have observed that the programme has been politicised and sectionalised by the leadership of the Amnesty programme and we strongly feel it should not be in the best interest of the entire programme.”
News Express reports that Dokubo had in a Dec. 23 newspaper interview heavily criticised Jonathan – the first man from the oil-rich Niger Delta to rule Nigeria – asking him to retrace his steps before it is too late. Rather than address the issues raised by Dokubo, The Presidency chose to dismiss him as a frustrated man. It remains to be seen how it will respond now that Ateke Tom and Boyloaf have essentially echoed Dokubo’s outbursts.
•Photo: Under-fire President Jonathan.
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