By Paul Bebenimibo
NIGERIA is facing severe economic challenges that have made life brutish for virtually everybody. Nigerians labour daily to overcome these economic challenges. Beyond the obvious economic challenges, there are agitations in the South-East led by MASSOB, challenges of herdsmen in different parts of the country, the scourge of the ‘technically degraded’ Boko Haram in the North-East and the resurgence of violence in the Niger Delta over calls for rapid development, resource control, resource ownership and restructuring of the Nigerian Federation. These turbulent issues and the lack of corresponding problem-solving mechanism from government quarters have created terrifying waves in Nigeria.
The energies of every patriotic Nigerian ought to be deployed and harnessed towards pointing problem-solving ways or mechanism for the Federal Government of Nigeria because there is no other country for us to run to when Nigeria sinks like the TITANIC. Any emerging signs of shipwreck should be the greatest worry to patriots. This is where I am alarmed by the activities of some individuals who are working hard to instigate and worsen the turbulent situation in the Niger Delta. These individuals do this through covert plans and falsely accusing persons of trying to destroy oil and gas installations.
Lines of communication on how to resolve the Niger Delta agitation have been opened with the Federal Government of Nigeria. President Muhammadu Buhari’s meeting with PANDEF representatives at which a 16-point demand was presented to him, and the recent meeting between Vice-president Yemi Osinbajo and Niger Delta People Congress where meaningful additional reinforcement of the 16-point demand was given are all attempts to resolve the Niger Delta Crisis. Though no clear picture has yet emerged from the Government by way of setting up a committee to handle the pressing issues, there are visible attempts at tackling the resurgence of violence in the Niger Delta.
While everyone eagerly awaits pragmatic solution from the Federal Government, one Mr. Michael Johnny once correctly cast as ‘verbal distortion-czar’ and ‘buzzy showy creature’ in Ekanpou Enewaridideke’s articles ‘Jesus and the Criminals’ (28 October 2015, vanguard), ‘Sunset and a coronation’ (2 February 2016, vanguard), has deliriously gone to town with the claim that Tompolo is behind the bombing in the Niger Delta. This is a fictitious claim meant to smear Tompolo’s name and instigate Federal Government of Buhari against him. Johnny would be only happy when Tompolo is maligned and hunted down through lies and systematic propaganda.
The stands and comments of Johnny on Tompolo are always predictable, as they always border on the negative side. His delirious outburst on Tompolo no longer disorientates me but I am only alarmed that his mouth still leaks when there are signs towards the curtailment of the menace in the Niger Delta through dialogue. This is the time for any patriot to key into this crisis-resolution mechanism gradually emerging.
My greatest fear is that, having falsely accused Tompolo of bombing and of plans to bomb oil and gas installations, Johnny is likely to set in motion the mechanism for bombing of installations and come out to tell the world that his words have come to pass. This falsehood may become his platform to actualise his evil schemes against Tompolo whose desire revolves around Legal Means to fight his way through, not VIOLENCE. Already, a suspect in the custody of Security Agencies had made confessional statement of Johnny’s involvement in the bombings in the Niger Delta
In whose doorstep does the issue of bombing now lie? Michael Johnny or Tompolo?
With the recent outbursts of the ‘distortion-czar’, I hereby suggest two things: first and foremost, psychopathologists, psychiatrists and psychologists should penetrate Johnny’s mind and evaluate the functionality of his mentality through special diagnosis. Any result from this psychopathological penetration can help us know the reasons for his delirious outbursts. These outbursts from a man who was Tompolo’s boy are questionable.
On the psychopathological and psychological findings of specialists about Michael Johnny, the society knows where to place his outbursts . However the findings of the specialists about Johnny, the public should discard as falsehood his delirious outburst that Tompolo is behind the bombings and that there is a plan by him to resume bombing over his travails. By and large, it is Michael Johnny’s plot to destroy oil installations and attribute it to Tompolo so as to invoke federal might upon him. The moment he successfully does this, these wailings of a master planner would have ended. Who has not heard Johnny say he will not stop wailing until Tompolo goes to jail as that would mark the end of his wailing as a master planner?
Mr. Paul Bebenimibo, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Warri, Delta State.