What is your take on the attacks on President Goodluck Jonathan over his perceived 2015 second term presidential interest?
Recently, the Special Adviser to the President on Niger Delta, Mr. Kingsely Kuku, made a statement in the United States, when he addressed officials of the U.S. Department of State in Washington that the peace being enjoyed in the Niger Delta will not be guaranteed if President Goodluck Jonathan is not returned as President of Nigeria in 2015. This statement has been supported by several groups from the region. Also, the statement has been attacked from several quarters, expectedly from the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) and others. I want to go on to say that there will be no peace, not only in the Niger Delta, but everywhere, if Goodluck Jonathan is not President by 2015, except God takes his life, which we don’t pray for. Jonathan has uninterrupted eight years of two terms to be president, according to the Nigerian Constitution. We must have our uninterrupted eight years of two tenure, I am not in support of any amendment of the Constitution that will reduce the eight years of two tenure that Goodluck Jonathan is expected to be President of Nigeria.
For a very long time, our resources from the Niger Delta had been used to feed and fund Nigeria, and some people are still feeling that Nigeria is their personal property, and they can manage it the way they like, but those days are gone forever, they can never come back again. The days when we would elect a president and some people would annul our mandate, and placed the winner of that mandate in their dungeon and murder him, such days are over and they will never come again.
They threatened to make the polity ungovernable, but we thank Almighty Allah, that he who rides on the back of the tiger, might end up in the belly of the tiger. And what is happening in the North is a clear testimony that you cannot turn the hands of the clock. When change comes, nobody can stop it, it is like a moving train.
Do you think Jonathan has done well as a President to deserve a second term?
A lot of people will say; has Goodluck performed as President? We from the Niger Delta have been fair. We criticize our own, but that does not change what I have always said that “monkey no fine, but him mama like am”. We will continue to support and stand by Goodluck. Our colonial operators left functional railway system and roads that were motorable, education and energy sector that worked. But from Yakubu Gowon, to Murtala Mohammed, Olusegun Obasanjo, Shehu Shagari, Muhammadu Buhari, Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, Sani Abacha, Abdulsalami Abubakar, to Olusegun Obasanjo again, these infrastructures built by the colonial operators were totally destroyed, we are all aware of it and nobody can deceive us. But today, the story has changed. I made five hours from Benin to Lagos by road. Electricity supply is relatively constant now than what it was before Jonathan came in as President. The Abuja-Lokoja road that was neglected is almost completed and several other roads across the country. People have started using the rail system again. The airports are being rebuilt to meet the current trend across the world. Before now, we have had university lecturers striking for over six months, people go to universities to study courses of four or five years, but they ended up staying five to six years because the lecturers were always going on strike, but that is not the case as at today, the government is handling the issue. Even at that, this is the most maligned government because some people think, and they have been made to believe, that they are born to rule, and so many people who are very timid to challenge them have accepted it.
Do you think Major-General Muhammadu Buhari can be President in 2015?
They talk about Buhari, and I ask them, what does Buhari has to show in all the years he was in government? He was a governor in the North, later he became federal Commissioner for Petroleum. He was Head of State, and he also headed the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF). In all of these positions he held, what are his achievements? When we go to Dubai and other former third world countries, we see the achievements of their leaders. If Buhari is so good, let him show us one thing that he achieved when he was in the positions he held before. Let him show us one monument in the former North- Eastern State that can be attributed to him when he was governor there. He has nothing to show. They’re saying he is not corrupt, and we were told how $2.8 billion got missing. Group Captain Usman Jibrin, a Muslim and former governor in the North, accused Buhari of corruption, that his cronies were given contracts in the Afri Project. Buhari’s cronies controlled PTF, we all saw it. But because some people love slavery, they will say the master is coming with koboko, he will flog me if I don’t fall in line. President Jonathan is not using the hammer that IBB and Buhari used when they were in power. Jonathan is not using the retroactive laws that Buhari used to murder people, that is why they see him as clueless. They want him to start behaving like IBB, Buhari and Obasanjo. But you don’t dare a leader who tries to be civil and humane. They want him to become ” my father used to flog you with cane, I’m going to chastise you with cutlass”. When it gets to that state, a lot of them will not be able to cry. What else can anybody say about Buhari than what this same Nasir el-Rufai, who is now running his mouth, said about him when he was FCT Minister under Olusegun Obasanjo? The same el-Rufai said that Buhari is perpetually unelectable because his record as military head of state, and afterwards, is a warning that many Nigerians have wisely heeded. The same el-Rufai said that Buhari’s insensitivity to Nigeria’s diversity and his parochial focus are already well-known.
The same el-Rufai repeated a known fact that in 1984, Buhari allowed 53 suitcases belonging to his ADC’s father to enter Nigeria unchecked at a time the country was exchanging old currency for new. The same el-Rufai told us that against all canons of legal decency, Buhari used retroactive laws to execute three young men for drug peddling after they were convicted by a military tribunal and not regular courts of law. The same el-Rufai said that Buhari was so high handed that he gave himself and his officials immunity, even from truthful reporting. This same el-Rufai, a habitual betrayal, who is now running his mouth, said all these about Buhari when he was FCT Minister under Obasanjo, why would anybody take him serious?
I am an Ijaw man, call me an ethnic bigot, I don’t care, I have no apology to give to anybody. I am an Ijaw man, if you touch an Ijaw man, you touch me. So, there is nothing about it that I am going to be ashamed of.
What is your take on the attack on Baga community in Borno State?
A lot of Nigerians don’t know, I once lived in Borno State, and I studied Arabic and Islamic Studies among several leading Islamic scholars in Borno State. Because I’ve lived in Borno, I know a lot about Borno and her communities. I wonder the claims that 2,000 houses were burnt down in Baga, and I ask: where were the houses, what kind of houses? Houses in Baga community in Borno are thatched houses, the houses there are predominantly thatched houses. In any case, they killed soldiers in Baga, and the people there waited for the soldiers to come for retaliation? We know that Borno State has become a ghost town before the Baga saga. Now, let us ask the question that; soldiers are fighting combatants who want to establish the hegemony on others, and everybody knows that the soldiers are fighting these people, and the same people are in the community and they attacked and killed soldiers in the community, what were they expecting the soldiers to do? To come and clap for them for killing one of their own? When Odi and Odioma in Bayelsa State were destroyed by soldiers and police, where were the Nasir el-Rufais who are now running their mouths? Jobless people like el-Rufia contribute nothing to keep Nigeria, they can only survive with government. el-Rufai ran out of Nigeria under his brother Yar’Adua. When his brother died, he came back, he wanted appointment in Goodluck’s government, and when Goodluck didn’t give him appointment, he suddenly turned a northern crusader.
Do you think the face-off between Jonathan and Amaechi is healthy?
There is this war that is going on, instigated by Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi. Nigeria Governors’ Forum as an association is not known to the Nigerian Constitution, and as a body that is unknown to the law, it has no legal power. Where Governors’ Forum wants to usurp the constitutional powers of the President elected by the people, it is something that will not be acceptable to anybody. They didn’t do it under Babangida, they also didn’t do it under Obasanjo, they didn’t do it under Yar’Adua, for Chibuike to arrogate this power to himself, he has been looking for trouble, now he is saying that failure to provide security is an impeachable offence, that is what Chibuike is telling a President. Chibuike has been making statements disparaging the person of President Goodluck Jonathan. He went to Kano State and declared there that he would contest the 2015 presidential election as a running mate to a Northern aspirant, he is free to do so, but the South-South region will not allow traitors among us. And if Rotimi Amaechi has singled himself out as a traitor, he will be treated as a traitor, there is nothing anybody can do about it. Now that we have come out of slavery, nobody can take us back into slavery, it is not possible. Rotimi Amaechi, with his background, enjoys slavery. He knows his background and everybody knows him. If God has given him a lease of life to be with people who has freedom, he should appreciate what God has given him, but to think he will take us back to slavery, we will not let him do so.
Some people have attributed the problem in Nigeria to the demographic deficiency. Is that true?
Because of the 419 population in Nigeria, people are afraid of talking to them. Me, I am not afraid of anyone. Is there anywhere in the world that there are more people in a desert part of the country than in a fertile part? In the whole world, it is only in Nigeria that we are told that there are more people living in the desert than in the fertile land. I’ve travelled around the world and I know that the said population of Nigeria and over population of Northern Nigeria is 419. I have wondered why Niger Republic and Chad, which are in the same desert like the North, are not as populated as Northern Nigeria. What is there in Kano State to sustain two million population? Can someone tell me? Is it the industry or what? There is nothing in Kano that can sustain two million population. Enough of the handshake across the Niger. Is it only we that will always stretch out hands for a handshake across the Niger? Let the man on the bank of the Niger stretch his own hand to us. Don’t they shake hands? Why must it be us that will be doing handshake every time? We have fought, we have seen the light, total freedom is coming and we will never allow any traitor among us.
Do you support amnesty to Boko Haram members?
As far as I am concerned, the first amnesty was a mistake and a bribe. So, since you have given amnesty to one group of people, you must continue to give amnesty to others. Very soon, kidnappers will come asking for amnesty, you will give them because you gave others. Very soon, pipeline vandals will also come, you will give them amnesty. Very soon, looters of treasuries, like the man who stole the pension fund, will come, you will give them. You give amnesty because you want to buy peace. You can’t buy peace because the peace you bought will never last. If there are signs that Niger Delta will boil again, it is because you bought the peace there, since you failed to do the right thing and decides to you peace, you will continue to buy peace. In the Niger Delta, it is not because of amnesty that there is peace, it is because Goodluck is President, that is why there is peace. Immediately Goodluck ceases to be president, all of us who are on sabbatical will come back. People like us never took amnesty, and we will never take it, because we committed no crime. Nobody will come to my land and take what belongs to me. Look at the way they awarded oil wells to themselves. These people are very wicked, they allocated the oil fields to themselves, this is the worst type of apartheid, Zionism, disregard and discrimination of the highest order. The same people are still talking that the people who own the land will not be entitled to it. This is the kind of thing they want to bring back, and we are saying it is not possible. If they like, let them campaign, if they like, let them form merger and association, but all we know is that by 2015, Goodluck will be President whether they like it or not. If they say its empty threat, let them wait and see.