By Okanga Agila
Dear Chief Edwin Kiagbodo Clark,
Call your children to order.
Permit me to again write you another letter in the space of three weeks since my last open letter to you. I would have exercised some patience and see how well the issues I raised in the previous communication are being treated. However, the bruise I called your attention to has festered into an open wound that could become gangrenous if we continue to treat it as a mere sore.
In my earlier letter, I asked you and other elders in the Niger Delta to stop kicking against military deployment to stop the destruction of oil and gas installations in the area, which you are opposed to based on self-interest and greed. The appeal was for the elders of the area to allow the military to deploy to the Niger Delta since there is still time to clean up the mess that you and other elders created.
Your response to that letter, in which you accused me of being vicious, wicked and not a patriotic Nigerian for stating the truth, failed to articulate any possible suggestion that would contain the activities of these misguided children of yours but rather elected to focus on the anticorruption crusade of the current administration.
Even as you continue playing the ostrich over your role in the crisis threatening the stability of the country, things have turned uglier in the space of these three weeks. Your children continue to destroy vital economic infrastructure even as the few that have seen the light openly named you and other leaders in the south as being sponsors of the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA). They did not only mention your name but prominently so.
Given the venom you spewed pre-2015 General Elections about how the country would burn if your godson, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, was not re-elected; your denial of any links with the NDA is laughable. The most positive reaction it drew from Nigerians was to feel vindicated that they have been proven right. It turned out you shouldn’t have bothered distancing yourself from the NDA or denying what the Reformed NDA (RNDA) said about you and other ingrates from the region.
The RNDA specifically narrated how the present destabilization plan was hatched, put on hold when Dr Jonathan conceded defeat and again reactivated when corruption investigations and trials were brought against members of that administration of which you were the one that called the shots.
Despite your denial and half-hearted assurances to call your rampaging children to order, they continue to bomb economic infrastructure and have taken implementation of your agreed plan to the its next phase with a threat to declare secession from the Federal Republic of Nigeria by October 1st. This shows it is you who is unpatriotic.
You of all people know the significant of October 1st and we are not talking about Nigeria’s Independence Anniversary. Rather it was the day your godson, Dr Goodluck Jonathan became a spokesperson for terrorists on October 1, 2010 when he stridently refuted responsibility for a bomb attack they carried out in Abuja. His complicity in issues of insecurity is well a known fact. It must also be on record that it was that infamous blast that opened the floodgate of bombing in Nigeria.
Also recall that when a former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo had to hold a meeting with Dr Jonathan in the presence of Pastor Enoch Adeboye and Bishop David Oyedepo to resolve his numerous letters that went unacknowledged by your godson. Chief Obasanjo accused Dr Jonathan based on security report that the then President was training and arming the youths through NIMASA, then headed by Akpobolokemi.
What did you ever do about that ugly episode? Nigerians expect that you will use your influence among persons identified as sponsors of NDA to ask Jonathan or either of these highly respected clergymen to tell the world what Jonathan’s answer to Obasanjo was.
You did nothing about the revelation that your youths were being armed and it will be redundant to now urge you to call your children to order in this instance that they want to declare a problem republic because even a brain damaged youth without the benefit of education should know what treason is and its attendant consequences.
If the threat of secession is being bolstered by the pre-election cache of weapons, militants that trained as commandos under the pretext of amnesty rehabilitation, and worthless assurances from some foreign powers, then it means yourself, elders and militants of the Niger Delta failed to read up the relevant portions of international laws and conventions that allow nations to defend their territorial integrity when the need arises. So I nonetheless urge you to call your children to order and that is assuming they can still listen to you.
As you would have noticed, the Nigeria Police Force has issued a warning that your boys must not dare the Federal Government by going ahead with the provocative plan. This must tell you that the beat has changed: while there were appeals to allow the military deploy to the Niger Delta to arrest the sabotage of oil and gas installations there would be no need for such protocols should your children proceed with the manic plan. It is one thing to be detonating explosives that security operatives have now confirmed to have been planted in preparations for blowing up the country over Dr Jonathan’s election loss, it is another thing completely to contemplate treason.
A republic must necessarily have a capital and government with officials so there will be no doubt as to who to arrest for treason and where to get them. This is what makes what your children are contemplating seriously different from the cowardly hide and seek of blowing up pipelines. It is also what should give you concerns that once they expose themselves for arrest a next logical step is that the connection of the elders to them would be exposed.
You must advise your colleagues not to risk using a few riffraff as place holders for the declaration of secession so that security agents won’t be able to make connections with the real sponsors of the plan. History will not be kind to the elders if they repeat the folly that gave rise to militancy and militant warlords. Their latest plan risks creating the emergence of a new power bloc peopled by thugs whom you falsely think you are arming to harass the Federal Government. These same weapons being placed in the hands of the youths will soon turn against those that supplied them.
Yourself and fellow Niger Delta elders must now begin to contemplate how to eat that humble pie when October 1st arrives and there is no republic to present to the masses that you brainwashed into being used as tools. You must also worry that the dawning culture of accountability will force the hundreds of thousands of your impoverished people to start asking why they live in squalor and your children and grandchildren live in gilded opulence.
This is the real revolution that will occur as opposed to your expectations that the poor will again offer themselves as cannon fodder – sacrificial animals – to preserve the life of entitlement that Niger Delta elders and militant leaders live.
If you find time to call a press conference to address the issues raised in this letter, kindly do well to objectively digest the issues so that your reply does not shot off at a wrong tangent. What is needed from you is to call your children to order. They must stop all attacks, disband all illegal group they have formed and stop thrash talking the rest of the nation. These must happen without anyone expecting goodie bags as happened under the watch of your godson, it distorts the economy and rewards criminals.
In case you have not noticed, fiscal federalism is something that all constituent ethnic nationalities in Nigeria are clamouring for and many of them are doing it without resort to violence. If we allow you get away with what you are asking for then we will be confirming our ethnic nationalities as inferior to yours simply because we do not have oil wealth. We are not.
Okanga, a traditional minister in Agilaland contributed this piece from Benue State.
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