*says Akpodoro has no pedigree in the Niger-Delta
The attention of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Worldwide has been drawn to a statement issued by one Israel Akpodoro, who claimed to be the National President of National Coalition of Niger Delta Ex-Agitators alleging that former President Jonathan founded the Niger Delta Avengers.
The initial reaction of the IYC was to ignore the said statement considering the fact that the said Israel Akpodoro is unknown and has no pedigree in the Niger Delta region. However, we have consistently been inundated with calls and messages by concerned Nigerians all over the world as to the true position as far as the allegations are concern. This response is to set the records straight for the benefit of the reading public.
The allegation that the Niger Delta Avengers was formed by former President Jonathan in a meeting he attended in January 2015 preparatory to the 2015 election to make the country ungovernable for his successor is absolutely untrue. It is nonsensical to imagine that former President Jonathan who conceded defeat and congratulated his opponent even before the final result was announced would make such a plan.
In the first place, the January 2015 meeting of Ex-Agitators and stakeholders in the Niger Delta region was not attended by former President Jonathan and the meeting never resolved to make Nigeria ungovernable for President Buhari.
The IYC leadership also attended the meeting and the President of the IYC, Udengs Eradiri was one of the Speakers at that meeting. The meeting was called to calm down the youths of the Niger Delta who were aggrieved with the attack on former President Jonathan in some northern states during the campaign for the 2015 Presidential elections.
It would be recalled that when President Buhari, the then Presidential Candidate of the All Progressive Congress (APC) came to the southern part of the country to campaign especially the south-south, he was warmly received by his party supporters and traditional rulers that he visited.
In specific terms, when Buhari visited Bayelsa State, home state of former President Jonathan, the IYC even took the extra step of providing security to ensure that the campaign was peaceful so as not to embarrass former President Jonathan and the people of Bayelsa State.
However, the reverse was the case when former President Jonathan went to the north to campaign as he was stoned and attack by hired youths and thugs sponsored by opposition politicians in the north.
This situation made youths of the south-south to be aggrieved and it was in this state of affairs that the then Presidential Adviser on the Niger Delta, Hon. Kingsley Kuku in conjunction with the Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Seriake Dickson took the proactive step to call a stakeholders meeting where the attack on President Jonathan in the north was condemned and the youths of the south-south asked to give peace a chance.
It was never resolved at this meeting to set up Niger Delta Avengers and to make Nigeria ungovernable. The initiators of this historic meeting deserve commendation rather than condemnation.
For the records, the said Israel Akpodoro was never an Ex-Agitator; hence he could not have been selected to address such an important gathering of stakeholders in the Niger Delta region.
The issue of his been moved out of the meeting because he opposed the idea does not arise as the even the press who were in the meeting can attest this fact. Israel Akpodoro was not an Ex-Agitator but was involved in questionable activities in Delta State and was only incorporated into the second and third phase of the Amnesty programme to rehabilitate him and take him out of those questionable activities.
The IYC advise characters like Mr. Akpodoro to be grateful to former President Jonathan for allowing people like him to be granted amnesty because without that benevolent act, he may not have been alive now considering the activities that he was into.
We call on the general public to ignore the wild and unfounded allegations of Mr. Akpodoro against former President Jonathan as he is only looking for relevance.
It is now the stock in trade of people from the south-south who are looking for relevance from the federal government to castigate leaders from the region especially those who served in the immediate past administration.
We call on such characters in the class of Mr. Akpodoro to have a rethink as their antics may not take them far.
Signed for the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Worldwide: