The youth wing of the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, has said the call by some Niger Delta elders that the vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa drop his ambition lack the blessings of the youths of the region and condemn the attack on Okowa on the pages of national tabloids.
The National Deputy Youth leader of PANDEF, Olorogun Vincent Oghenerwiemu Oyibode, General Don Ben (Edo), Chief Ani Wsin (Cross Rivers), Henry George (Rivers), Victor Asukwo (Akwa Ibom), Chief Sylvester Okumagba (Delta) and Berenengia Samuel (Bayelsa), declared at a media interactive session in Yenagoa, that “the PANDEF is constitutionally bound to support any son or daughter of the region who aspires to position of highest authority, which in this instance, the Vice Presidential ticket was generously offered by Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of PDP to Governor Okowa of Delta State.”
According to them, “We, the youth wing of PANDEF appreciate the PDP as the only political party who considers the South-South region for such a position of authority in the coming election.
“This place him in a vantage position to be the eye of the Niger Delta in Aso Rock from May 29, 2023. And that we therefore call on all true sons and daughters of the region to patriotically support Senator Ifeanyi Okowa by supporting the PDP which is known as the South-South political party to victory in the coming poll.
“And that those few individual members of the National EXCO of PANDEF who purportedly issue the statement of endorsement of Peter Obi do not have the interest of the Niger Delta region because they disobeyed the constitution of PANDEF by nominating themselves into the Peter Obi campaign organisations.”
The PANDEF Youth wing restated the resolve to continue advocating support for groups or political parties supporting calls for true restructuring.
“PANDEF has been advocating for restructuring of Nigeria and that the Atiku Abubakar manifesto is in full support of restructuring. For this reason, PANDEF Youth wing stands with Atiku Abubakar for the actualization of this noble objective.
“That we should not forget in a hurry the encouragement from Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, Emmanuel Udom (Akwa Ibom) and former Governor Seriake Dickson in the building of PANDEF to the height it has attained through sponsoring of most of its general assemblies and that working against Okowa is a great disservice to the Niger Delta region. The responsibility of PANDEF is to play a fatherly role to support all aspirants who are sons and daughters of the region.”
The youths also pointed out that the choice of the PDP above the APC in the region was due to the display of disdain to the demands and agitations by the people of the Niger Delta region by the present administration of President Muhammadu Buhari including the brushing aside of the 16 points agenda submitted to him by the governors and key stakeholders from the region.
According to the PANDEF Youth wing, “PANDEF has a lot of agitations at hand in our 16 point agenda which was submitted to President Muhammadu Buhari which has not been attended to and none has been achieved.These and many more should be what the leadership of PANDEF should address their minds to and not how to pull down an illustrious son of the region.
“We wish to draw the attention of our elders to the promises made to the Niger Delta region by the APC led Federal Government, after the tour of the states by Vice President Yemi Osinbajo in his capacity as acting President to the effect that all IOCs would be relocated to the South-South to boost the economy of the region. And that government will open the sea ports in the region like Warri, Ibaka, Onne and other seaports within the region. They also promised environmental clean ups and conversion of illegal refineries to modular refineries through cluster business initiatives.
“They also promised proper funding for the Nigeria Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Federal University of Petroleum, Effurun and upgrading of the Nigerian Maritime Academy, Oron to a degree awarding university. Proper funding of the NDDC and the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP) and the allocation of the marginal oil field to sons and daughters of the region. All these agitations have been forgotten and all we do now is to attack our own.”