United Ijaw * Welcome to United Ijaw on the web. Our preference is national self determination, the independence of Ijawnation as a Sovereign State. A state that promotes sustainable economic and social development, democratic principles, liberty, free enterprise, equal rights and justice. This is our story, this is our struggle. **** On Kaiama Declaration We Stand **** United Nations Under Secretary-General, Dr. Antonio Maria Costa, in Abuja condemned the theft of Nigeria's assets by past corrupt leaders. He said that kleptomaniac leaders stole more than 400 billion dollars from the Nigerian treasury between 1960 and 1999. **** IJAWNATION THINK! THINK. **** Almost $170 billion of the country’s wealth disappeared and ended in the private accounts of individuals between 1999 and 2003 alone... Priye Torulagha ****Nigeria has failed Niger Delta – Nnamani **** Resource Control: Niger-Delta governors are traitors – Evah **** Only the fear of a volcanic social eruption from below can stop barbaric behaviour by holders of political power – Gani Fawehinmi ***** “ if the Confab and Nigerians are not willing to heed to Resource Control, they will take it by force” - Oronto Douglas We Dare To Be Different.
Population: 14,833,421


DUBIOUS! INC President says FG/Asari-Dokubo parley was suspect
Culled from Sun News Online Saturday, November 20, 2004

Professor Kimse Okoko started fighting against injustice as a student. Now the President of Ijaw National Congress, INC, he still challenges wrongs against Ijaw nation. His bluntness has earned him a tag of a “radical”. But the political scientist told Saturday Sun that he is not perturbed. “I am a fighter for justice.

So if that is radicalism, so be it. If it is radicalism that gives me the platform to fight for justice, so be it. I don’t have apology for anybody”.

Okoko argued convincingly that Alhaji Asari-Dolubo / Tom Ateke-led Ijaw military groups were creations of politicians. And he prophesied that the groups would rise again ahead of the 2007 elections.

He described as “dubious’’ the purported negotiation between the Presidency and the militia groups, insisting that issues pertinent to the survival of the Ijaw nation remain unresolved.
He knocked the federal government over some of its policies and re-echoed Prof. Chinue Achebe’s views that under the Obasanjo leadership, “Nigeria is sick’’.

2007 and Ijaw militia force
The fact that INC could not resolve the Asari-Dokubo/Tom Ateke crisis while it lasted reinforced the argument that the crisis was largely political. This problem, we maintain, is political. People were trying to draw in chieftaincy tussle but those were remote courses. The main thing was political. These were people used by politicians. They created countervailing forces to checkmate another one. And worst still those politicians are waxing strong towards 2007 and they still need this militia groups to boost their ambition towards 2007.

And let me tell you, they would still need them. They will resurrect them one way or another for the 2007 warfare. Nigeria is one of the few places in the world, where AK47, dynamites are used to conduct elections.
Even now, we are working behind the scenes, knowing fully well the kind of pretensions, settlements, activities going on. We are fully aware and we have seen the handwriting on the wall. But we shall stop this madness.

Dubious negotiation
He said the INC was not invited to the Abuja negotiation and they were only briefed by Asari, later. “The negotiation has not tackled Niger Delta problems. The funding of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, is still poor and epileptic. In the 2005 budget, he only provided N17 billion for NDDC. How can that solve the problems of Niger Delta?”

Okoko said he knew Obasanjo would never negotiate on the key issues affecting Niger Delta with Asari and co. “Is he going to negotiate a date for a Sovereign National Conference, where the issues resource control would be discussed? Is he going to negotiate the upward review of the 13% derivation? Is he going to negotiate the abrogation of all obnoxious laws governing the oil industry, including the Land Use Decree Act? We never considered those negotiations to be anything serious. The only thing that was meaningful was that it allowed Asari/Ateke to reconcile each other.

Game of deciet
He said Obasanjo discussed with Asari because of oil. “The international pressure was enormous because oil price rose and obviously affected American and British economy. He would never have done that if international pressure were not put on him. It is not in his character. We know Obasanjo does not care a dime about the Niger Delta. But for him to get involve to the extent that he broker peace between Asari and Ateke speaks volume that the situation was beyond his control.

The world is a global village and when the economic interests of the West are threatened they would react. He was under tremendous pressure and having got that temporary peace he satisfied the West and he shunned other subsequent meetings, leaving it for his aides to handle. To Okoko, the Niger Delta yeouths are the real losers. “We are oppressed, denied our resources; our people are dying because of environmental degradation, as a result of oil exploration and exploitation. Successive governments in this country have excluded Niger Delta from the mainstream of economic activities.

Asari-Dokubo and Ijaw struggle
Okoko said Asari-Dokubu started out fighting Governor Peter Odili of Rivers, then later took on the dynamics of Ijaw struggle - resource control, self-determination, SNC. “He has now metamorphosed into the main struggle, and I see nothing wrong with that. He has really discovered himself. Struggle is always a zigzag movement, the end point is there and between the beginning and the end, all sort of things happen, of course without losing the ultimate objective.

Oil dichotomy
I maintain that the initial problem was the request made by Mr. President to the Supreme Court to interpret the dichotomy. It was a big mistake but deliberate too. Now he was boxed to the corner after the consequences of the interpretation became clear. The issue was innocuous in the 1999 constitution. The constitution did not talk about dichotomy.

He wanted a judiciary interpretation, he got it but it was too hot for him to handle. He now resorted to the usual thing – political solution. The man sent another bill to the National Assembly to create two continental shelves within the territorial waters of one nation. There is no way we can have two continental shelves. There is the 200metres approved internationally, he creates another 200metres depth.

The bill was passed; now 19 governors from the North and three South-West governors are challenging it. I tell you after another judgment they would again look for political solution. Everything criminal is solve through political solution. This is a sick country. We are whimsical in policy application; principles do not matter. Nigeria has lost the path to development. He (Obasanjo) says he is looking for unity and yet he comes up with policies that would divide the country.

Force will fail
Any true patriot would be concerned at the rate of destruction of communities in Nigeria during crises. When Zaki- Biam in Benue was destroyed, nobody was happy. No true Nigerian would be happy to see communities being destroyed as if the Federal government is at war with communities. And this is a wrong policy and it would boomerang. They destroyed Odi but were unable to kill the resilience of the Ijaw nation. The president would fail in his attempts to use force to subdue the people.

Nation without honour
If this government gives me an award, I would reject it, instantly. I don’t want to receive any award from this administration. You have to be proud of what you are receiving. What is CFR or OON in a rotten system we are operating. I would be ashamed to put OON on my name from this administration as long as they continue in this path.

I am glad that we still have noble Nigerians like Chinua Achebe that can still stand up to power. No serious person should take any award from this administration. Achebe is an internationally recognized writer, so what is CFR to him? What is the quality of an award from the third most corrupt country in the world? Can any one be proud of that award?

The Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force



Press Statement of the Arrest of The Supreme Leader of the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force, Alhaji Mujahid Abubakr Dokubo-Asari


Around Mid-hours today, September 20, 2005, the Supreme Leader of the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force and the Chairman of the Niger Delta People’s Salvation Front, Alhaji Mujahid Abubakr Dokubo-Asari, was arrested and flown to Abuja in the company of the Rivers State Commissioner of Police.


The Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force & The Niger Delta People’s Salvation Front rejects the nature in which this arrest was orchestrated as it is a clear affront on the NDPVF & the NDPSF. The arrest was a clear breach of Due Process, constitutional processes and put a HUGE question mark on the integrity of the human rights credentials of the Nigerian State.


In line with this development, the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force, the Niger Delta People’s Salvation Front and her alliance groups, herein categorically states that if we do have an affirmation of the state, wellbeing and condition of our leader, we will not be able to guarantee the security, safety and wellbeing of lives and properties in the Niger Delta.


Over time, it has been made very clear that our leader cannot be a party of any orchestrator of corrupt practices, and will never in any circumstances, support corruption. It is therefore foolhardy to think or assume that our Supreme Leader will be party to any attempt to cause a breach of the peace because of the arrest of any person considered to be a partaker in corruption.


The Government of the Nigerian State must not that the youth and people of the Niger Delta have been forsaken for so long and can be very prone to acts of violence and facility sabotage when an issue such as a THREAT TO ARREST or an ARREST of the flag bearer of the Niger Delta Struggle.


At the moment, tempers are at an all-time high and the count down has begun.


If word is heard about the safety and current wellbeing of the Supreme Leader of the Niger Delta Volunteer Force (NDPVF) in the next 24 hours, there is the possibility of the occurrence of the most unprecedented level of a breach of the peace and grave mayhem in the Niger Delta. Security forces, agents of governments, oil companies and facilities so owned by these might likely be the object and focus of this sabotage.


It has become necessary to state this as overtime the government of the Nigerian state and her cohorts have continued to undermine the ability and capability of the Niger Delta struggle.




A word has always been enough for the wise. The Countdown has begun.


Cynthia Whyte


Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force & The Niger Delta People’s Salvation Front

September 20, 2005

Culled from Daily Independent : Updated: Friday, November 5th, 2004

Dokubo gives FG conditions for final ceasefire

• Seeks constitutional amendment on Niger Delta

By Psaro Yornamu Senior Correspondent, P/H

Leader of the Niger Delta People Volunteer Force (NDPVF) Mujahid Dokubo-Asari says the struggle on which he signed a cease fire agreement with the Federal Government is unstoppable until Abuja abrogates parts of the Constitution and 14 other “obnoxious laws” designed to “perpetually enslave the people” in the region.

He said with the amendment, ownership of lands and waterways in the Niger Delta would return to the people.

Dokubo spoke at a dinner party he organised for newsmen at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Port Harcourt on Wednesday night, where he insisted that the 10-point demand by the NDPVF was handed to the government before an agreement was reached to ceasefire, and hoped that the authorities would implement all the demands.

The “obnoxious laws”, according to him, are the Land Use Act cap 202, Revenue Allocation Act Cap 16, Exclusive Economic Zones Act Cap 116, Oil in Navigable Waters Act Cap 337, Oil Terminal Dues Act cap 339, Petroleum Control Act cap 351 and Petroleum Production and Distribution (Anti sabotage Act Cap 353).

Others include the Petroleum Profit Tax Act Cap 354, Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission Act Cap 392, Territorial Waters Act Cap 428, Oil Pipeline Act Cap 338, Associated Gas Re-injection Act Cap 26 and the National Inland Water ways Authority Act.

Dokubo urged the government to ensure that all the communities destroyed in the Niger Delta crisis are rebuilt and members of cult groups reintegrated into the mainstream of society.

He, however, warned the multinational oil companies operating in the region not to discriminate in their employment policies while the Nigerian state should constitutionally guarantee the survival and sustenance of the languages of all ethnic nationalities.

He demanded a Sovereign National Conference (SNC), saying it is only at such a gathering that fundamental issues could be discussed, and urged oil firms to end practices that degrade the Niger Delta environment as well as destroy traditional means of livelihood.

Besides, “the government should immediately withdraw all military formations in all parts of the Niger Delta”, he stressed.

On the development of the region, Dokubo berated four agencies set up for the purpose, as they were “imposed on the people of the region who yearn for the control of their resources and destiny”.

He listed them to include the Niger Delta Development Board (NDDB) in 1962, Niger Delta Basin Development Authority (NDBDA) 1976, Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC) 1992 and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) 1999.

“These agencies have consistently failed to achieve the desired development of Niger Delta as they were not only starved of funds, they were actually designed to fail”.


Ex-military gov urges British Govt to advise Shell

Culled from Vanguard

By Emma Amaize
Monday, November 01, 2004

WARRI — FORMER military governor of Niger state, Brig-Gen Cletus Emein (rtd) and some other Ijaw leaders have asked   the British government to advise the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) to stop taking undue advantage of the   people of the Niger–Delta if the company wants to operate without trouble in the region.

Speaking at Kiagbodo, the country home of Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark when a delegation from the British government led   by the head of the Africa Department (Equitorial), Foreign and Commonwealth Office, Mr. Tim Hitchens visited, last weekend,   to explore ways for peace in the Niger–Delta, Emein said the British government had a major stake in its operations and should   do something.

“If you go to the environment in Warri and you feel the pulse of the people, they are very edgy, this time, not among themselves   but about Shell. Some contractors have been owed six months, one year and SPDC is doing business even at the peak of the   crisis. So there is absolutely no reason for them not to pay the contractors”, he said.

The former governor also asserted that “the more you keep these youths and adults out of job, then, the more edgy they become   and they tend to look for other means of survival”, adding that “there are so many talented people in the Niger Delta, especially   the Warri area but we are aware that a lot of the quota that they give to the expatriates is creating jobs for people from over   there than creating jobs for the people here and the youths will always resist these kind of things.

“While we are aware that you cannot tell them as an organization, do not this, do not do that, I think with the kind of dialogue   we are having here and the same kind of dialogue you have with them, some of these things would be tackled”, he said.

Another Ijaw leader, Chief Tunde Smooth told the British delegation that when indigenous contractors from the region are given   jobs, they carry the youths along, but when the jobs are given to outsiders, trouble set in because they bring people from   elsewhere to do the jobs the jobless youths of the region would have done, pointing out that this was a major contradiction in the   policies of the SPDC that has to be changed.

FG to finance budget deficit with excess crude fund

Culled from Vanguard

By Omoh Gabriel, Emma Ujah & Ben Agande
Wednesday, October 27, 2004

ABUJA— THE Federal Government yesterday gave a break down of the 2005 budget to the House of Representatives   Committee on Finance. According to the details of the budget estimates released to the House Committee, the Federal   Government will use N158 billion  of the excess revenue from oil to finance the 2005 budget deficit. The 158 billion is Federal   Government’s share of the excess crude oil revenue.

Government also plans to raise N70 billion from the capital market to finance the budget. Government said in the breakdown of   the budget that N15 billion would come from the sales of government properties while N4 billion would be realised from   privatisation. Other sources, the government said, will account for the balance of N67 billion thus making up the N314 billion   financing gap in the 2005 budget.

The federal executive which presented the details of its revenue estimates to the House of Representatives Committee on   Finance, said gross target of N3.617 trillion was the expected revenue for 2005. The summary of the gross federation revenues   in 2005 shows that: Crude oil sales would account for N1.696 trillion; PPT and royalties would bring inN1.206 trillion. Customs   and Excise is expected to generate N190 billion just as VAT is expected to yield N167 billion. CIT, on the other hand, will   contribute a total of N206 billion and independent revenue N100 billion. Education Tax and other levies will fetch N54 billion.






Culled form Daily Independent : Updated: Wednesday, October 20th, 2004

‘2007 Presidency ‘ll decide Nigeria’s fate’

By Akanimo Sampson

Bureau Chief, Port Harcourt

Abia State chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief A. K. Awah, has said the zoning of the presidency would determine the political future of Nigeria in 2007

 Speaking at the Port Harcourt Airport, he said the country might not be the same again if the party failed to zone the presidency to either the South-South or the South-East.

 Awah said all was not well in the Niger Delta area, which is the economic life-wire of the country due to its rich oil and gas resources.  “It is unjust for the oil-producing region to be allowed to groan under abject poverty,” he added.  He said any attempt to scheme the South-East out of the 2007 presidential race would not be welcome by the Igbo, explaining that though he is not a prophet of doom, any attempt by his party to deny either the South South or the South East the presidential slot would spell doom for Nigeria.

 He said denying them the chance would amount to spiritual, social and economic injustice of the highest order, pointing out that the North had dominated the affairs of the country for decades.

“By the end of President Olusegun Obasanjo’s tenure in 2007, the South West would have ruled for more than 10 years.  The South East had a stint for only six months under the military rule of General Aguyi Ironsi.  In the first Republic, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe was a ceremonial president.  The prime minister then was the head of government,” he said.

He said he does not care which state produced the next president provided he or she comes from either the South South or the South East zone.  “At least, for once let this country be responsive and do what is right”, he added.

I'm ready to sacrifice my job for resource control — Ibori

Culled form Vanguard

By Emma Amaize
Thursday, October 07, 2004

OGHARA — GOVERNOR James Ibori of Delta State said, yesterday, in his country home, Oghara, Ethiope West local government area, that he was ready to sacrifice his job if the God so pleases to actualize the resource control struggle of the Niger Delta.

He spoke folowing the statement of the President-General of the Izon (Ijaw) National Congress (INC), Prof. Kimse Okoko, who, leading other members on a condolence visit to the governor at his Oghara home, said the Ijaw people were not unaware of the sinister motives of some people and the machinations of the system to bring (him) Ibori down because of his resource control struggle.
His words: "If it pleases God to be sacrificed for it, so be it as long as our people reap the benefit of the supreme sacrifice.”

Dein of Agbor Kingdom, His Royal Majesty, Keagborekuzi  1 also visited the governor with a powerful delegation to declare his support and that of his people towards the burial of his mother, the late Madam Comfort Ibori.

Governor Ibori told the INC leader: “Please go and assure our people that the mandate that they freely gave to me, I am conscious of it, I have no doubt whatsoever in my mind that mandate was given to me to articulate a view for them and I pray to God that the mandate will be executed to the fullest.”

The governor said he was not disturbed by his many trials because he knows that the people who gave him the mandate would stand by in the day and in the night. The governor asserted that “the people of the Niger Delta know their true leaders, they know those who can represent them and represent them well, they know those who will not be enticed away by money, they know those who will not be promised positions in the future and they will abandon the cause."

Chief Ibori equally commended Prof Okoko for his good leadership qualities, revealing for the first time information he got about a meeting which Okoko attended and was very strong and courageous in his articulation of the position of the people of the Niger Delta, adding that when eventually, Okoko came to see him, he told him that the matter was settled because he had noted his pedigree.

Prof. Okoko had earlier in his address, stated that Governor Ibori epitomized the struggle for resource control and the Ijaw people were gladdened by his quality of resilience, adding that the governor was still going about his duty and executing the mantle of leadership, unshaken, despite the travails.


Culled from Daily Independent : Thursday, October 7th, 2004

Nigeria loses N3.5 trillion to fraud yearly, says EFCC

By Dan Alo

Correspondent, Lagos


Efforts by the Federal Government to redeem the nation from being referred to as one of the most corrupt countries in the world may be far from being achieved as the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) put the country’s total loss to fraud at N3.5trillion.

The amount represents what is lost to fraud internally by individuals and corporate bodies including banks which are the worst hit by the ugly phenomenon.

The EFCC issued the figure of the magnitude of the fraud on Wednesday at a gathering of members of the Anti-fraud Foundation, organisers of the first anti-fraud national conference to be held at the Eko Hotels and Suites, Victoria Island.

The Director of the Anti-fraud Foundation, Mr. Eddy Edison, said, “this figure is indeed very worrisome and it should not be surprising why foreign investors are still skeptical about investing in the country”.

He added that, “Cyber crime that is more complicated seems to be on the rise with huge sums lost to it. That is why a conference like this is planned to help businessmen and businesswomen to detect and prevent fraud. I am in charge of research and crime detection at the foundation. With my experience, we can help prevent and detect fraud.”

Edison said not only the image of the country is affected by fraud but also the value of the naira. “For instance, if you are to spend N3billion on a project, the tendency is that you will spend more due to fraudulent activities,” he said.

Stakeholders expected at the conference billed to start today are the Central Bank governor, Prof. Charles Soludo, EFCC Director, Rilwan Ribadu and bank executives, Edison said.

2007: PDP's zoning of presidency to North a fraud — S-South leaders

By Osaro Okhomina
Vanguard Thursday, December 02, 2004

BENIN CITY — PROMINENT leaders of the South-South geo-political zone yesterday declared that agitation for the presidency in 2007 was not a negotiation instrument but a demand being made by the people of the region across party lines, describing the purported agreement reached by the caucus members of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on the zoning of the presidency to the North as a fraud and unacceptable to the position of the zone.

The meeting presided over by former Minister of Information, Chief Edwin Clark resulted in the adoption of a constitution for the operations of the South-South Peoples Assembly and the reaffirmation of their stand that the agitation is not an appeal but a demand by the region for its rightful position in 2007.

Leaders present at the two-day meeting held in Benin City, Edo State were the former Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Mike Akhigbe (rtd), First Executive Governor of Edo State, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Chief Hope Harriman, General David Ejoor, Admiral Festus Porbeni, Chief A.K Horsefal, Chief Ewa Ita-Henshaw, Senator Dagogo Princewill, High Chief Abel Ubeku and Senator Franca Afegbua.

Addressing newsmen at the end of the meeting, the Publicity Secretary of South-South Peoples Assembly, Senator Anietie Okon and the Chairman of the Steering Committee, Chief Raymond Dokpesi declared that the decision of the South-South leaders to insist on presidency in 2007 was based on the need to right the wrongs of the years of political neglect of the region.

According to Senator Aniette Okon, "the driving force in these campaigns and the provocation has been our disappointment at the years of deliberate and properly thought-out policies to disjoin the wealth of these nation so as to address the condition of the Nigerian people. And it is not the issue of sentiments that we control the wealth. It is that we have these propelling conviction that we have the human assets, tested over time and that can provide a breath of fresh air and initiatives in tackling Nigeria’s problem.

"I do not agree with you that it has been all a mess because somebody has come from South-west. What we are going through is the transition period in the management of the economy. It is unfortunate that the reforms have put pressure on Nigeria. We believe there is the need to substitute the present arrangement with people that are comfortable with their macro-economy. Even if the South-South wants to ride on sentiments, ours will be that we believe we have remained the anchor for the stability of this country in its most trying periods. We all believe that these are the issues of legacy. We are saying that the problem in this country is that when the federation was being created and handed back, they subsumed the treaties signed. So, let nobody be mistaken on where we stand as we march into history."

On the purported gentlemen agreement of the PDP, he said " let me tell you without fear of contradiction that there was no such agreement. In the first instance, what they said was that it was in a minute of the meeting. If anybody produces any minute of such meeting, it would be a forgery because I served as a National Publicity Secretary from formation and at no meeting of the caucuses was any such agreement reached. If they say a gentlemen agreement exist, the first act of gentleness should have come from Gemade and Rimi. Don’t let us talk about agreement that does not exist."


Tension mounts in our party – Ali •PDP suspends Dariye, passes vote of confidence on Obasanjo

National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Dr. Ahmadu Ali, on Friday admitted that tension was mounting in the party as a result of the sharp differences among some of its prominent members.

In a veiled reference to the rift between President Olusegun Obasanjo and Vice President Atiku Abubakar, the party chairman while declaring PDP’s 27th National Executive Committee (NEC) meeting open in Abuja, said that the altercations might lead to its disintegration if not resolved amicably.

Also on Friday, Plateau State Governor, Chief Joshua Dariye, was suspended indefinitely over his indictment by the British government in a money laundering case last year.

Coincidentally, Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, said on Friday in Lagos that the party consisted of incompatible personalities, who were motivated by objectives which were not in the interest of the people.

Although the PDP leadership glossed over the feud between the president and vice president, it approved a non-elective national convention, effectively stamping Obasanjo’s grip on PDP.

At the opening session of Friday’s meeting, Ali said, “We are not insensitive to the tension mounting within the party. The press has, no doubt, worsened the situation through undue banner headlines and outright sensationalism.

“In a party as large as ours, and in democracy, it is not out of place for altercations of some sorts to exist here and there. The way and manner these altercations are resolved is my concern as it either brings about growth and strength or worse still disunity and enmity. It is my considered belief that it is in our joint interest to see that these family differences are resolved amicably in such a way that would build rather than destroy structures.

“The party is the father of all and provides the platform upon which we contest and win elections to form the 27 state governments and the Federal Government.”

Also, in attendance at the meeting, were President Olusegun Obasanjo, Vice President Atiku Abubakar; Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih; the immediate past National Chairman, Chief Audu Ogbeh; the National Secretary, Chief Ojo Maduekwe; National Deputy Chairman, South, Chief Bode George; and his counterpart in the North, Alhaji Ibrahim Shema; as well as other members of the party’s Interim National Working Committee (INWC).

Others were the National Vice Chairman (North West), Dr. Bello Mohammed; former National Chairman, Chief Solomon Lar; former National Secretary, Chief Vincent Ogbulafor; Abubakar Dan Musa, Lawal Kaita, Musa Gwadabe, Evan Enwerem, Mohammed Waziri, A.T. Ahmed and Abubakar Rimi.

Also in attendance were the governors of Benue, Rivers, Nasarawa, Ogun, Plateau, Adamawa, Enugu, Kaduna, Niger, Ondo, Kwara, Bauchi, Edo, Akwa Ibom, Oyo and Kogi states.

In his three-page speech, the party chairman stated that PDP’s fame was fading fast, noting that its capacity building efforts to restore the glory had not been easy.

He stated that it was common knowledge that there were a number of differences between the party members in some states, adding that resolving these altercations had been the major pre-occupation of members of the INWC, to forestall the division of the party.

Ali added, “In particular cases where the image of the party would be negatively affected, we had intervened to redress and resuscitate the party’s hard-earned image. At all events, it has been our resolve to give the party a purposeful direction.

“Where the need arose, we had invoked Article 16 of our party’s constitution dealing with discipline to restore sanity to the party. We will continue to emphasise the need for discipline within and loyalty to the party for our collective success.”

The national chairman said PDP had performed creditably, adding that in the past six years during which it ruled the country at various levels, the party had lifted the country from a pariah status to the pinnacle of world leadership.

Ali noted, “We are blessed with visionary and creative leaders. I implore you all to pull together all - for one and one for all – to get us to the distant shore of progress and prosperity. I entreat you all to give peace a chance, in order to add value to the democratic environment we are creating.

“The PDP cannot afford to toy with the lives of 150 million Nigerians. We must strengthen our resolve to provide Nigerians with the dividends of democracy and our leaders should remain focused. Let no detractors deflect us from our course. Loyalty to the party must remain paramount.”

The meeting, which was earlier billed to start at 3 pm, did not take off until 4.10 pm, shortly after Obasanjo’s arrival.

The vice president had arrived the venue at about 3.58 pm, about five minutes ahead of the president, who spotted a green-white adire attire. Atiku and Ali, who had waited in front of the multi-purpose hall venue of the meeting for the president, received him on arrival.

Shortly after Ali’s address, newsmen were asked to leave the venue for the closed session.

Some hours before the meeting started, a detachment of anti-riot policemen and soldiers led by Commisioner of Police for FCT Command, Mr. Lawrence Alobi, had cordoned off the party’s headquarters and its surroundings, apparently to forestall a breakdown of law and order.

Interestingly, the meeting ended without any sanctions against the vice president.

But, the party’s National Secretary, Chief Ojo Maduekwe, said that Dariye would remain suspended until the conclusion of his case.

Maduekwe said, “There is need to observe the rule of law and presumption of innocence until proved guilty. We completely appreciate the constitutional right of the accused, whoever that accused is, and more so when that accused is the governor of a state.

“He is currently in court exercising his right to fair hearing. All that we respect and we felt he is entitled to defend himself. We respect the court very much and we believe it should be allowed to do what it has been set up to do. This is not a party that would want to tamper with anything, that is, interfere with what is happening in court. But, the party felt it would be an abdication of responsibility to pretend that it does not know what is happening and as it is with the norm of the rest of civilized society and humanity that we are very much part of when an important public figure is unfortunately involved in matter like this, there is need to step aside as it where.

“Governor Dariye is an important member of our party. While the party believes in his right to presume innocence on himself until proved guilty, it behoves the party to apply a slap in the wrist while the proceeding are in court. He has therefore been suspended. The suspension would be lifted as soon as he is cleared by the court.”

Our sources said the chairman of the Cross River State chapter, Chief Sunny Abang, moved the motion for the suspension but shortly after, Mr. A.Y. Gombe from Taraba State was said to have countered the move. Mr. Ahmed Okara from Kogi State was said to have seconded Gombe’s motion.

But, Ali quickly overruled Okara, insisting that his (Okara’s) voice was not loud enough and as such, there was no countermotion.

Former Kano State governor, Alhaji Abubakar Rimi, was said to have protested loudly, but Ali, according to our source, reminded the former presidential candidate that he had no voting right but a “mere observer status.”

A detailed guideline for the 2005 National Convention was also discussed and approved. The ward congresses would hold on October 3, local government congress, October 15; state congress, October 29; zonal congress, November 12; and the non-elective national convention, December 10.

NEC, which directed the INWC to appoint members of the convention/guideline committee, also passed a vote of confidence on Obasanjo, Ali, and the entire leadership.

When asked why the same vote of confidence was not passed on Atiku, Maduewke said, “The Presidency is one. If you pass a vote of confidence on the president, that vote is not on an individual but on an institution. So, if we pass a vote of confidence on the president, we are passing it on all those working with him. They have done well.”

A highly-placed Presidency source, however, said that Atiku would still be dealt with at the right time.

The source, who said that the feud between Obasanjo and Atiku was not discussed for “strategic reasons,” declared, “At the appropriate time, he will be shown the way out. We are aware that he has so many followers in the party and dealing with him now could have an adverse effect on the party. At the appropriate time, you will hear from us. But one thing is sure, he will not succeed President Obasanjo.”

But, an Atiku loyalist, who sought anonymity, told our correspondent on telephone that they were not allowed to air their views during the NEC meeting.

The loyalist said, “Again, we know that the issue has not died down, even if it was not discussed here today; because we know what the president did to the late Chuba Okadigbo, Audu Ogbeh, Enwerem and even Wabara when he gave the people an indication that all was well only for him to catch them unawares. We won’t be so foolish.”

Meanwhile, Soyinka said the party was on the path of self-destruct due to inherent contending tendencies within its ranks.

Speaking at a symposium organised by the Citizens Forum at the Lagos Airport Hotel, where eminent Nigerians gathered to appraise the state of the nation, Soyinka declared that the ruling party lacked the will to adequately address the nation’s problems.

The Nobel laureate, who initially refused to be drawn into the feud between Obasanjo and Atiku, however, said, “I don’t care what happens between those two people for the simple reason that PDP is (running) an illegitimate government. What is happening within PDP is something that we predicted ages ago; it is a gathering of incompatibles, motivated only by one thing, which is not in the interest of the people.”

He added, “So, if the people at the top are bashing each other, I am not interested. Like I said, I dismiss the party as not having any claim to legitimacy. The two elections (that brought it to power) were fraudulent. As you can see, PDP is imploding. It is not only because Obasanjo and Atiku are at each other’s throats; no, what is happening is a manifestation of political self-destruct. There are far too many contending forces. Like I said, this is not in the people’s interest.”

SATURDAY PUNCH, September 10, 2005

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