An elder statesman in Rivers State, Rev. Dr. Sokari Soberekon, has advised all political parties in the Niger Delta to vacate the region.
Speaking during a chat with journalists in Port Harcourt at the weekend, Sokari, who is the Senior Advocate of Niger Delta (SAND), lamented that the political parties, rather than promote harmony and brotherly love in the Niger Delta, contributed to the hatred among the people by bringing politicians who sometimes play politics of bitterness, rancor and acrimony.
He said though the PDP, of all the political parties, has favoured the Niger Delta more by giving the region its first President (Dr. Goodluck Jonathan) as well as some development-minded governors such as the Rivers State Governor, Chief Barr. Nyesom Wike, some past leaders of the party had not carried the region along in their policies, programmes and projects.
He recalled that former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, destroyed Odi Community in Bayelsa state and later tore his PDP membership card during the time of Jonathan. The activist-turned clergyman called on the APC and the Buahri-led government to grant the Niger Delta independence if they have anything to offer or leave the region alone.
“If APC has anything to offer, Buhari should grant the Niger Delta independence. APC has nothing good to offer the people; APC and PDP should leave the Niger Delta and go back to Abuja where they come from, with their Abuja-based politicians who don’t care about the people.
“Professional, industrial; commercial politicians, haters of the people, should go back to Abuja where their parties are registered, and leave the oil-producing Niger Delta people alone.
“They should leave us alone. We want independence now. Give us independence, we want to be free. We can no longer wait for Buhari to recover all the loot”, he said.
Sokari, who said he is one of the founding fathers of old Rivers State, noted that apart from Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Gen. Yakubu Gowon and Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, no other president has done anything good for the Niger Delta. He, however called on Niger Delta Youths to shun violence.
“Buhari is the Chief Security and Welfare Officer of the country. Violence by the youths will take away the welfare we want from the president and bring us warfare.
“As the Chief Security Officer of the nation, Buhari will not fold his hands and watch militants carry out their activities. No militant, small or big, has dared the Federal Government and succeed.
“Even the late Col. Odumegwu Ojukwu of former Biafra could not stand the Federal Government now led by President Buhari. Gowon only announced “no victor no vanquished” as a peace maker and liberator but Philip Effiong of the Biafran Army surrendered to Gowon. So, I’m asking for independence peacefully and prayerfully for the Niger Delta and everybody in this region should join me in this”, Sokari said.
He prayed God to cause Buhari to grant the Niger Delta independence just as He (God) caused Pharaoh to grant Moses’ request for Israel’s freedom and also caused the British Government to grant the request of Nnamdi Azikiwe, Obafemi Awolowo, Tafawa Balewa, Dappa Biriye, Anthony Enahoro and others when they asked for Nigeria’s independence.
“I believe President Buhari may be the last president of Nigeria as Sir James Robertson was the last Governor General of Nigeria. I was among the youths that saw him off at Apapa Wharf”, he said, adding that Nelson Mandela and the South Africans prayed, not with violence, and God helped them to get their independence from the apartheid government.
“We should be prayerful so that God will touch Buhari to give us independence and save us from the haters of the people. Let us keep praying because prayers make things right. God will save our Niger Delta Governors from the haters who usually promise them presidential or vice presidential seats and use it to deceive them and carry our money, as they did to two of our past governors. We’re praying for Governor Wike not to fall into that same trap,” he said. ###