PDP & Yar'Adua Also Need The Amnesty
Written by Odimegwu Onwumere
The worst of crime to humanity is when a person deceives himself or herself. The Federal Government of Nigeria under the stupefaction leadership of Alhaji Musa Yar'Adua recently granted amnesty to militants (carrying guns) in the Niger Delta region. But is militancy still not rife in all the facets of Nigeria, especially among politicians who “do-or-die” to rig elections and launder our money to the banks in Europe? This has made militancy becomes an increasing business, not only in the Niger Delta, but in the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
The desperation among our people could be why a Ric Keller said, “After granting amnesty to illegals 20 years ago, we have gone from 3 million illegals to 11 million illegals. Our government has been fooled once by this amnesty argument, let us not be fooled again.”
So, from the above statement, is it still meaningful saying that amnesty is an act of the sovereign power granting oblivion, or a general pardon, for a past offense, as to subjects concerned in an insurrection? What has the Yar'Adua-led Nigerian government done to the looting militants in the local, state, and federal governments of Nigeria we call politicians?
Conceding the divergent, the government of Hon. Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State was once quoted thus, “is for the good, the bad and the ugly”. We can't forget in a hurry that on the 10.07.2008 the state Action Congress (AC) called on the governor to grant amnesty to militant leaders in the Niger Delta region. This call was for-the-most-part on Ateke Tom and Soboma George, who the party said, “have agreed to reconcile and surrender their weapons for peace to reign in the state”. Rivers AC supported the Justice Kayode Eso Truth and Reconciliation Commission, describing it as “the greatest achievement so far by the Amaechi administration”, adding that making peace with the militants will ensure that the state moves forward at a fast rate”, whereas the politicians are not making peace with the people who voted them they rigged their elections.
Reportedly, the Publicity Secretary of the party, Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, said: "The stance of the governor as a person on these matters is very obvious but we will like to state that by the grace of God, he is the governor of the good, the bad and the ugly and so he must remember that his job must be to save each and every one of them whilst moving the state forward”.
This is where our leaders need amnesty. They are failing us. Was the Rivers AC not seeking to urge the governor to intervene in the total collapse of provision of potable water and public power supply in the State, which the party lamented, “is getting worse on a daily basis”? Apart from that. What has really worked in the Yar'Adua's government as planned, especially by public opinion? Maybe, amnesty for the militants? Whereas the populace are suffering, more than the biblical Israelites in the ancient city of Egypt. What has this government done to put our roads, artificial fuel scarcity and other mind-sores happening in Nigeria in place?
For that reason, was it not reported that a Rivers AC's image maker called on the state government to correct the “perceived dichotomy in the state in the distribution of amenities, as the Riverine axis of the state was being totally left behind”?
The President Musa Yar'Ádua's amnesty declaration for militants in the Niger Delta region during the recently concluded PDP National Executive Council meeting was not totally a commendable development because the government has not risen to the occasion on its part, let alone forgiving those whom its acts might have angered to engage in the acts of militancy, because it takes absolute morality to expose absolute immorality.
Did the Rivers AC not receive the news of amnesty to militants partially as a shock? Was it not described as, “Rather lacking in merit of a strong political will to effectively address the issues of the Niger Delta”?
According to Chief Eze, “The AC posits that a Committee be set up to determine the logistics for the process of amnesty to include the “militants'' reintegration into civil society after their relocation from the creeks. If some of these concerns are not promptly addressed, we cannot but presume that this is another ploy by the Federal Government to continue to handle issues affecting the region with levity and by so doing, toy with the future of our youths and the destiny of our people.
As if the Ric Keller knows what was going to happen in Nigeria when he was quoted as saying, “After granting amnesty to illegals 20 years ago, we have gone from 3 million illegals to 11 million illegals. Our government has been fooled once by this amnesty argument, let us not be fooled again.” Chief Eze was of the same opinion thus: If we recall, a supposed amnesty was granted to militants during the Obasanjo regime. Under the guise of rehabilitation and reintegration, the Odili administration empowered them with even more sophisticated fire power with which they continued their nefarious activities by paying for a less sophisticated weapon at N250,000 thereby empowering them to procure more deadly and dangerous weapons that kept the region in its present state of restiveness and insecurity.”
So, how is the Federal Government indeed interested in the plights of Nigerians if it always tarries to provide the necessary amenities for the citizenry? Is the government ineptitude to do so not on its part an act of militancy, since militants are for civil disobedience? Did the Rivers AC not also said, “We see no reason why six months after the submission of the Niger Delta Technical Committee Report, nothing has been mentioned in this regard”?
Does Yar'Adua think that the demand of an immediate release of a white paper on the report for subsequent implementation was a Kangaroo dream? Maybe Yar'Adua forgot that the report, apart from being meticulous in its counsels, will go a long way in unconfident suffering of the people from the region if implemented? It is a wonder therefore why this is yet to be done. Has the Yar'Adua-led government not failed Nigerians? But here is Yar'Adua declaring amnesty for militants.
To epitomize this essay, the Rivers AC leader, Prince Tonye Princewill was recently quoted as saying, “What then is the basis of the recent clamour for a 2nd term for President Yar'Adua, in the face of all the deprivations we suffer as a nation? With what Nigerians have experienced under the PDP led administration in the past ten years, such clamour demonstrates that PDP as a party has lost focus and lacks qualitative leadership necessary to salvage the party from imminent collapse and disintegration come 2011 general elections. As Nigerians, we wait with bated breath, watching and believing that when the time comes we will all collaborate to save our country from the clutches of those that mean no good for Our Great country, Nigeria.”
Odimegwu Onwumere is the Founder of Poet Against Child Abuse (PACA), Oyigbo, Rivers State. +2348032552855. [email protected]