Tuesday, 12 September 2017

Clark, Others Can’t Speak For Niger Delta Again, Says PNDPC

 The Pan Niger Delta Peoples Congress (PNDPC) yesterday insisted that the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) led by Chief Edwin Clark can no longer represent the people of the Niger Delta region because it had lost the mandate given to it by the people of the region.

The explanation came just as the PNDPC dissociated itself from separatist groups, which had earlier issued an ultimatum to northerners and Yoruba people to quit the Niger Delta by October 1, 2017, adding: “We are one Nigerian and would remain so for now, that’s PNDPC belief.”
Coordinator, Media Affairs of the PNDPC, Chief Monday Whiskey, said in a statement in Warri that PNDPC had no personal grouse with Clark or members of PANDEF but were only acting on the dictates  of  the people of the region.
According to Whiskey, it was the same ex-agitators in the Niger Delta who gave PANDEF the mandate to represent them in negotiations with the federal government that has withdrawn the mandate.
“We are not opposed to the Clark group (PANDEF). To be fair to them, they started this current process but there are people who gave them the mandate-the ex-agitators. But somewhere along the line, these ex-agitators discovered that their method of operation was not in tandem with modern day realities.
PNDPC said: “It is these ex-agitators who withdrew the mandate earlier given to PANDEF and gave the same mandate to us in the PNDPC to represent them at this stage of the negotiation. We are not fighting with Clark because he is our father but when those whom you represent decide to change the pace of the dialogue, you have no other choice than to obey those who gave you the mandate.
“The peace process belongs to the people of the Niger Delta; they nominated members of PANDEF in the first place. If they have withdrawn the nomination and given it to another group, of course the new group would take over. We are not confronting or fighting anybody or group. Do not forget that most of the leaders of PNDPC were also members of PANDEF, and for anybody to say the two groups are fighting each other over who speaks for the region means such persons lack proper information about the two groups.”
Whiskey further said the PNDPC was poised to expand the 16-point agenda submitted by PANDEF to make the document more inclusive of the demands of the people across the oil rich region.
“Agreed that PANDEF had submitted the 16-point agenda but it is left for the federal government to implement it or not. Government can only implement whatever you have submitted in a peaceful atmosphere. Government can also decide on the ways it wants to implement it. We are even looking beyond what PANDEF submitted because there are so many demands that were not included in that document. We are looking at possibility of including more things.
“As far as the PNDPC is concerned, we believe that the government will give us a better negotiating opportunity now because we believe in dialogue, we don’t believe in hostility with the government. We strongly believe that it is only when government has the enabling environment that we can achieve the desired development in the region.
“We believe that peace is better for development, and we don’t believe in confronting government without any justifiable reason. If there are reasons to confront, we must do so with facts and figures. Whatever information we give to government must be credible enough as to give government a lead to the development we want them to undertake in the Niger Delta.
“We don’t stand with the groups that issue ultimatum for northerners and Yoruba to leave the Niger Delta. We believe that every ethnic group should co-exist peacefully in Nigeria. All members of the federating units have equal rights to live and work anywhere in Nigeria.  We in the Niger Delta produce the wealth of this nation and we should not be begging to survive,” he said.

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