The Pan Niger Delta People’s Congress (PNDPC) has cited the failure of the Chief Edwin Clark-led Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) provide the needed leadership to represent the interests of the people of the oil-rich region.
Leader of the PNDPC and paramount ruler of Seimbiri Kingdom in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta state, Pere Charles Ayemi-Botu, speaking in the company of other members of the new body in Warri on Monday, also debunked insinuations that the emergence of his group was a coup against Chief Clark, noting that the PNDPC was a child of circumstance, brought about by the demand of agitators who necessitated the birth of PANDEF.
Meanwhile, the Chief Clark-led PANDEF had insisted that it remains the only body set up to represent the interest of the people of the Niger Delta, describing the PNDPC and its coordinator, Chief Mike Loyibo, as impostors.
Speaking yesterday at the meeting set to formalise his group’s acceptance of the call to represent the interests of the Niger Delta region by agitators, Pere Ayemi-Botu said membership of the body is opened to all Niger Delta people, adding that they would soon commence an engagement with all stakeholders in the Niger Delta matters.
“In the course of accepting our nomination and mandate, which also translates into the withdrawal of an earlier mandate given to a sister organisation, we must have widely and meticulously consulted our people and became convinced that resulting from the low success rates achieved so far in this struggle, a change in command and operational dynamics has become inevitable.
“It is very sad to note that due largely to external and structural imperfections in Nigeria’s present federalism and the internal mismanagement of funds allocated for the development of the region, we have remained poor in all ramifications, in spite of our enormous contributions to the wealth of the Nigerian project.
“This situation must be reversed. The Pan-Niger Delta People’s Congress must work more assiduously to usher in massive infrastructural and human capital development in the region”, the monarch said.
Also speaking to journalists after the briefing, the Coordinator of the PCNPC, Chief Mike Loyibo, said the new body was convened by the agitators in the Niger Delta, believing that the people now selected to represent the region have the integrity to speak on their behalf without hiding anything from them.
He said the new group has all the members that formed the core of the PANDEF, noting that all the people who started the PANDEF had all fallen back to PNDPC.
It would be recalled that the PANDEF, in a statement issued by its Coordinating Secretary, Dr Alfred Mulade, had written off the PNDPC as an impostor group, calling on the government not to heed its antics.
“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”, the statement said.