There have been some items in the media where a certain coalition of militant groups under the aegis of all sort of names, being Coordinated by a so-called Reformed Niger Delta Avengers (RNDA), purporting to have displaced the Chief Edwin Clark-led PANDEF, and adopted another certain Pan Niger Delta Peoples’Congress (PNDPC), to negotiate with government on behalf of the region. In as much as, PANDEF not intend to join issues with the so-called PNDPC and its promoters, in the likes of HRM Pere Charles Ayemi-Botu, JP, Paramount Ruler of Seimbiri Kingdom, and Chief Mike Loyibo, assumed National Leader and Coordinator, respectively, it is however imperative and expedient that the records are correctly placed in the public domain.
There was never at any time any group of militants that goes by any of those names gave PANDEF any mandate, as these groups do not exist anywhere. This is a clear handiwork or creation of mischievous persons of no consequence and grassroot relevance attempting to mislead the public, to appropriate gains PANDEF has recorded for the Niger Delta, to curry cheap popularity.
Mike Loyibo, self-styled coordinator of PNDPC, has been an ambitious and desperate fellow, and only seeking illusionary political attention and relevance. He was never a founding member of PANDEF; and did not know anything about the making of the 16-Point Agenda. The 16-Point Agenda was not drafted in Chief Clark’s house, as Mike Loyino would erroneously have people believe. Mike Loyibo was too desperate to know that single meeting was ever held in Chief Clark’s house in the course of the making of the 16 -Point Agenda. His assertions and claims about PANDEF and the 16 -Point Agenda are completely false.
For the benefit of the unsuspecting reading public, what is now better known as the 16 -Point Agenda is a document containing16-Point items of Dialogue Issues, articulated by a 17 -Member Central Working Committee (CWC) of PANDEF, set up in October 2016. The CWCcomprised HRM King Alfred Diete-Spiff, former Military Governor of old Rivers State, and Chairman of Bayelsa State Council of Traditional Rulers, as co-Chairman; His Excellency, Obong Victor Attah, former Governor of Akwa Ibom State, as co-Chairman; Barr. Ledum Mitee, frontline Rights Activist and former Chairman of Nigerian Extractive Industries Transparency Initiatives (NEITI), as Secretary.
Other members on the CWC are His Excellency, Air Commodore Idongesit Nkanga (Rtd), former Military Governor of Akwa Ibom State; Amb. Godknows Igali, former Nigerian Ambassador to the Scandinavian, former Secretary to Bayelsa State Government, and former Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Power; Amb. Nkoyo Toyo, former Nigerian Ambassador to Ethiopia, and former Member, Federal House of Representatives; Chief Timi Alaibe, former Managing Director, Niger Delta Development Commission, and former Presidential Adviser on Niger Delta; Gen. Don Idada Ikponmwen (Rtd), former Provost-Marshal, Nigerian Army; Prof. GG Darah, former Chief Of Staff, Delta State Government House, Asaba; Mrs. Nella Andem-Rabana, SAN, former Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, Cross River State; Prof. Lucky Akaruese; Dr. Chris Ekiyor, former President, Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), and former Commissioner for Commerce and Industry, Delta State; Mr. Tony Uranta; Engr. Don Ben, a Youth activist; Hon. Ken Robinson and Dr. Alfred Mulade.
It is important to also note that inputs and Memoranda were received from all the Ethnic Nationalities across the region, including existing Reports of Special Commissions and Committee instituted by successive governments for the development of the Niger Delta Region. H.E Obong Victor Attah provided the Venue for all the meetings of the CWC, whilst the process lasted.
What is appalling is the attitude of Mike Loyibo in listing prominent and committed members of PANDEF as supporters of his PNDPC, unknown to them. This is a clear attempt to cause disaffection and to deliberately mislead the public. Since this tantrum began few days ago, we have been inundated with calls and visits by the patriotic sons and daughters of the region committed to the vision of PANDEF reaffirming the assurances of their continued loyalty, commitment and support to the ideals and nurturing of PANDEF to the truly regional voice, dared towards the attainment of sustainable peace and development of the Niger Delta region.
For instance, HRM King Joshua WS Igbugburu, JP, CON, the Ebenanawei of Bomo Kingdom, Bayelsa State; HRM Capt. Joseph Timiyan, JP, Ibenanawei of Ogulagha Kingdom in Delta State; HRM Effiong Archianga, Paramount Ruler of Ibeno and Chairman, State Council of Chiefs, Akwa Ibom State as well as Chief Wellington Okirika, pioneer Chairman of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC), Rt. Hon. Olisa Imegwu, former Speaker, Delta State House of Assembly; Hon. Mercy Almona-Isei, former Member, Federal House of Representatives, Chief Paul Evwierhoma; Prof. Patrick Mouboghare, Secretary, Niger Delta Peoples Congress (NDPC); Prof. Etim Nyong; Prof. Christopher Dime, pioneer President of Ijaw National Congress (INC); and Rev. OJ Agbarah, a renowned oil and gas expert, and several others have since outrightly denied any involvement in the purported PNDPC, and have also, equally reassured the PANDEF leadership of their continued loyalty and cooperation with PANDEF, for the good of the Niger Delta Region.
As for HRM Charles Ayemi-Botu, it is unfortunate that the reverred monarch would allow himself to be dragged into such an ignoble exercise, under the coordination of Mike Loyibo, a joker. This is a re-enactment of a similar trip His Majesty embarked upon immediately after our very successful meeting of August, 19, 2016, where he hoodwinked and collected a handful of persons of Ijaw extraction and proceeded to meet with Dr. Emmanuel Ibe Kachikwu, Hon. Minister of State for Petroleum Resources to purportedly ‘brief’ the Honourable Minister, an action that was frowned at, and roundly condemned by PANDEF and all critical stakeholders in the region, especially when viewed against the backdrop of PANDEF as a regional platform.
It is very probable that HRM Ayemi-Botu’s journey on this path vendetta might not be unconnected with the grouse that he was not among the PANDEF Delegates that had a meeting with His Excellency, Prof. Yemi Osinbajo at the State House, Abuja, on August 3, 2017, where PANDEF had useful discussions on the need for the urgent implementation of the 16 -Point Agenda, beginning with the various pronouncements made by the Acting President, during his tour of the region. Despite all explanations to him that no traditional Ruler was on the Delegation, except HRM King Alfred Diete-Spiff, who doubles as co-Chairman of PANDEF CWC, he vented his anger, not calling to account that he was part of the earlier delegation that met with Mr. President in November, 2016, where that 16 -Point Agenda was presented by PANDEF.
It is laughable that Loyibo who failed in his desperate bid to impose his candidate, a certain Mr. Boro Duduke, as Chairman of his community -Tuomo, in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State, and lost disgraceful, now wants to impose himself as leader of Niger Delta. It took the timely intervention of Elder God’sday Orubebe, former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs and Chief Ebikeme Clark, Chairman of Burutu Local Government Council, to restore normalcy to Tuomo Community that enabled the successful election of the new Chairman of Tuomo Community, whilst the so-called Mike Loyibo ran away from the community. It is now pastime for him and his cronies to be manufacturing non-existent and faceless militant groups under all shades of names, and parading themselves as leaders and proxies, to cause confusion. What a shame! The security agencies should note this kind of character.
PANDEF remains a not-for-profit, non-political and non-religious regional organisation, with its members cut across all political, cultural and religious divides, the undisputed voice of the region, and certainly not a platform for seeking political, social or pecuniary tendencies, as some persons would want to erroneously think.
PANDEF hereby urges the government and all stakeholders to be wary of the intents and activities of these confusionists and troublemakers, whose intents and activities are inimical to peace, stability and development of the Niger Delta region, as we call on the security agencies to investigate them accordingly.
Dr. Alfred Mulade, Coordinating Secretary, PANDEF