Why Jonathan Did Not Develop Niger- Delta – Amakiri -

Comrade Emmanuel Bishop Amakri is the National Youth Leader of Young Democratic Party (YDP). In this interview with Sunday Isuwa and Nelson Yax Omonu, Amakiri reveals why former President Goodluck Jonathan could not develop the Niger Delta region. He also spoke on some other salient national issues.

How will you describe the outcome of your party’s Primaries in Edo State?

We had a very good primaries and a good candidate emerged. It was an embodiment of beauty in a Democracy. The only way the Young Democratic Party (YDP) can show that it is a democratic party, is by throwing the doors open for the aspirants to show their strength and we did it. We held a primary that had three aspirants, and at the end of the day, one emerged. It was a transparent process. All the people that were there, including the journalists and INEC representatives, commended the primaries. We call this a welcome development in the nation’s democracy.

Who is this your candidate in Edo state?

He is Engineer Nurudeen Nwafero, a vibrant young man that is capable of bringing accelerated development to Edo State.

The PDP and APC in Edo State seem to be facing some challenges. Do you think your party can capitalize on this and win the September 10 governorship election?

Definitely! But we don’t even need the PDP and the APC to be in a temporary coma for us to win the election. We did not see them as being obstacle to our victory. Like we have said, the slogan of the YDP is: The light has come. And of course, all of us know that when light appears, darkness disappears. What we are bringing to Nigerians, not only Edo is that the light has come to Nigeria and Edo will be the testing ground. The truth remains that, it is time for us to wake up from slumber. We are conscientizing the Nigerian Youth and those who are young in mind, who believe that things were not done democratically before and wants it done rightly. And YDP, by the grace of God, has imbibed the spirit of democracy.

Wining an election requires a candidate with popularity. Do you see your candidate as having such popularity?

The mindset of Nigerians should not tilt towards that direction. There were governorship candidates that won elections in their respective states that were not popular. Take an example of Imo state. The then Ikedi Ohakim was not a popular candidate but it happened that, when he won the election, he later became popular. When you see the drama that is happening now, you will understand that, we have been under siege by gerontologist. They are people who called themselves bourgeois and believe that they owned this country and no one will dare contest with them. They keep telling us that the youth are the leaders of tomorrow and I keep telling people that it is not true. The children are the leaders of tomorrow. The child that is born today automatically has nothing to offer now till tomorrow. The youths are the leaders of today. We have more numerical strength to turn things around. We are in a digital world. It is now time to vote out the analogue minds and vote in the digital minds. We believe that the struggle continues. The ideology of YDP is not peculiar to a political party, but it is a movement. All of us, group of young men came together and said we must have a spirit of movement. So, YDP is a movement.

What do you mean by movement?

YDP is a movement that you cannot stop. By the time we start our campaigns and all that, you cannot stop it. That is when you will know that YDP is actually a movement.

After your victory at the court and your party was formally recognized, you said you were going online for membership registration, how successful is that exercise?

We have recorded tremendous success. But we will not restrict ourselves to online because you and I know that we are not embarking on an elitist project. It has to be all inclusive. We have people who are not literate in Computer and they have this party in mind. So, it’s not just online registration stuff. If you are computer literate, you can register online but if not, you can go to any of our registration centre and we gets you registered.

Is this campaign a generational transfer of power?

It’s not a thing of contest. I have told you, I was two years old when the current President was the head of state. And here I am today, he is still my President. In a country of about 170 Million populations, can’t we have a President of less than 50 years? Don’t forget, PMB was less than 50 when he became the military head of state. Is it difficult for us to find a credible young man of dependable character out of the over 70 million young people to be President? The answer is capital no! Some of us are saying, it is high time we take the bull by the horn.

How will the performance of the outgoing governor affect the chances of your candidate?

The truth of the matter is that, Nigeria has been a country of deceit. And I stand to defend that at any giving time in my life. I was born and brought up in this country and I found out that we are not been sincere to ourselves. There is no mutual respect for each other. Nigeria will have been far better than it is today. We are multi-ethnic. People still belief that unless my brother is there, my voice can’t be heard. I disagree with that. The way things are going, I don’t want to say we rushed into independence. When you look at the Politics we are playing, it has been regional based. That has to stop. At YDP, we want to bring all people of Nigeria together as one family.

The current administration is being accused of sectionalism. What is your opinion of the appointment of the GMD NNPC?

I don’t have a problem with the appointment of the new GMD. The truth remains that you can’t have the two from the same region. It is a heavy load for one person to be GMD of NNPC and at the same time a minister of state for petroleum. So, I don’t have a problem with that. The new NNPC GMD is coming from the North since the minister of state for petroleum is from the south. But there are other areas that have been lopsided. But there has to be a balance. Maybe it should be something we must address as a country. Some of our founding fathers that are still alive should come out to speak for the interest of our country and not for the interest of individuals. You cannot sacrifice public interest for selfish one. This is our country. Some people call it Nigeria but I call it home. If I die today, there is no any other country, I will be taken back to my home town here in Nigeria.

You are from a region that is in crises which has dropped our oil production. What should Nigeria do to stem these incessant attacks?

You see,. I have a root. I am an Ijaw man, from the South South, Nigeria, but I have Igbo blood running through my veins because my mother is an Igbo.. I have always said that, we must ensure that Nigerian works. I am interested in the oneness of Nigeria. But if it refused to work, we still have to sit down and talk. There is no force marriage. We must make it work by force because secession is not the solution. What is necessary at this time is an eyes ball to eyes ball talk. We must ask ourselves question like: Is what we have been doing right? I don’t think the situation of Nigeria today is what our fore fathers envisaged. Some of them are crying in their graves because it is not what they planned for us. Some of us went through a lot of turbulent before Young Democratic Party came to existence. What is remaining now is to see how we can put this to practise and bring all Nigerians together.

Back to the Niger Delta matter, we just need to tell ourselves the truth. The issues with Niger-Delta, is that, a lot of people have commercialised the process. Some people fought for the emancipation of their people and not for commercial purpose; Isaac Adaka Boro fought, people like Ken Saro-Wiwa fought, Alhaji Mujahid Asari-Dokubo fought, and they fought not for commercial purposes. But along the line, some people who came after started fighting for commercial purposes. It reach a point were some people were called for talk and they embraced what they called amnesty. So, I always see this as a fraud. The problem of the Niger Delta up to date has not been resolved. They should sit down with the major stakeholders and ask them some fundamental questions because, he who pays the piper, dictates the tune. We have a region that contributes up to 80 percent of the nation’s economy. There is no government that has said look, we need to go and put some infrastructure in that region. It’s not about giving people money and tell them to go and fix their region, no! It is the government’s responsibility to go to the region and mandate contractors from all over the world to come and have survey of the environment and see what they can do. They will do a visibility study about the place and give the government a feed back that will help them to put infrastructure in place such as: Schools, roads, hospitals and potable water.  Government should not be given people money. For me, Amnesty was just a bribe.

But we have the ministry of Niger Delta affairs, NNDC and others. Are you saying they are not doing enough?

That has not solved the problem.

What is the way forward?

The way forward is that the government should tell themselves the truth and do the needful.


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