Itsekiri elders and leaders under the auspices of Itsekiri Leaders of Thought, ILT, has dissociated themselves from the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF.
This may not be unconnected with reported plans to endorse former Vice President and Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as sole candidate for people of Niger Delta region.
While PANDEF said the agenda is purely Ijaw and does not approximate with Itsekiris, he accused that PANDEF which arrogates to itself to be a Pan Niger Delta body does not and cannot represent and speak for the Itsekiri people.
The body which since it’s formation has been noted for internal wrangling and credibility crisis in a statement dated 30th January, 2019 obtained by Saturday Independent said the Itsekiri nation is not part of the “self-styled regional and ethnic leaders masquerading as Southern, Northern and Middle Belt Leaders of which PANDEF is also a member.”
ILT disclosed that a self-styled regional group have scheduled a meeting for Sunday in which they intended to adopt Atiku as their candidate.
Chairman of the group, Chief Edward Ekpoko, who signed the statement on behalf of Committee of the Itsekiri Leaders of Thought, dissociate the Itsekiri nation from the said meeting which is to hold “under various aegis of which the PANDEF is one”.
He said that Itsekiri nation was yet to decide on any of the presidential candidate to support, maintaining that “PANDEF agenda is purely Ijaw.
“It cannot even claim to represent the interests of the entire Ijaw Nation much more of other ethnic nationalities in the Niger Delta.
“The Itsekiri Leaders of Thought and indeed the Itsekiri Nation has not decided on any of the presidential or governorship candidates and will in few days unveil its position on the candidates.”
PANDEF is a Pan Niger Delta grassroots movement founded on October 7, 2016, at the heat of the Niger Delta Avengers crisis when all the various ethnic groups in Niger Delta came together and decided to adopt one name.