All Niger Delta Assembly Appraises Prince Tonye Princewill
Written by Odimegwu Onwumere
All roads lead to Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt, Rivers State to mark the 2nd All Niger Delta Assembly c convened by the United Niger Delta Energy Development & Security Strategy (UNDEDSS) on 23rd may 2009, with the theme – Niger Delta Embracing A new Dawn.
The occasion was supposed to start by 9.00am to 6.00pm, but yet by 12 noon, the Main Banquet hall of the Hotel Presidential was scanty with invitees. The earlier attendees' wereMr. Tony I. Uranta who's the UNDEDSS secretary and some Nolly wood actors and actresses like Patrick Doyle, Hilda Dokubo and Sam Dede “Ebube”.., journalists were in mammoth and other dignitaries.
By 12: 15 pm, the occasion saw the faces of Annkia Briggs, HRM Alfred Diette-Spiff and Pastor David Ibiyormie who opened the floor with prayer. Pastor David after his sermon said that Niger Delta issue should be tackled spiritually. “Ignoring the spiritual, the physical can't hold,” he said. “America ones experienced what the Niger delta is facing today but one day, all Americans came out with one voice and prayed and fasted and today we are celebrating America.”
Patrick Doyle who's sharing the work of Master of Ceremony with Hilda Dokubo described King Spiff as the tallest king in Nigeria, which statement rattled the air. In his goodwill message, King Spiff said: “We are here for a new beginning to end the crisis in the Niger Delta” He assaerted that war is not good but reiterated that the Nigeria/Biafra civil war was an eye-opener, as it helped us a lot to understand the value of each other”.
Further King Spiff aid that the Niger Deltans should keep saying what they are saying without fear or favour. “Let us make history through non-violence because the hour for negotiation has come. All hand must be on the deck. Though the youths are playing their part, even that they might have made mistake, but they have made history. We call on the Niger Delta peole to be sincere with each other, but mostly, the Fderal Government has to be sincere with the Niger delta course. Immediately the king was to send his tongue into his mouth than Annkio Briggs rendered a music which filled the air thus:
No more river to cross/
No more river to cross/
Niger Delta, Honourable people/
No more river to cross.
Hilda Dokubo who was loquacious as furious over the whole issue about the attack in the Delta State by the men of the Joint Task Force (JTF), but most especially, she was furious over the statements that were credited to the Speaker of House of Representatives, Hon. Dimeji Bankole and Hon Balla N'Allah. According to her, the men said that the JTF action in the Niger Delta community in Delta state was a “peace keep mission”, and that Nigeria can sacrifice 20 million people for the rest 120 million to live comfortably. Ironically, Hilda Dokubo numerically counted the South_South states population as according to the recently counted census number of the Republic of Nigeria and it was 20 million. She said that Balla Na' Allah was saying that Nigeria should wipe al the Niger Deltans so that the Federal Government would continue it exploitation of oil and gas in the region. She then characterized everyone in attendance in the forum as a “distinguished militant”, and this was sufficed to the names of the people called up to the “High Table”, chaired by the King Diette Spiff.
A woman addressed as Annkio Briggs, was so disheartened over what she described as genocide in the Delta State recently. “How many of our people would be killed before we know that we are gradually going down,” she asked rhetorically. “How many of our people have resigned their federal appointments since the genocide too place in the Ijaw community?”
With a thunderous overvoice suffering from cracks she commended the leader of Action Congress in River state, Prince TJT Princewill for resigning his appointment as the subcommittee chair of the Vision 2020. “I hail Prince Tonye TJT Princewill , oh, I duff my cap for him for his resignation from the Vision 2020 delegates in protest for the genocide that took place in the Ijaw Community, “ activist Briggs said, and all and stood sundry stood up for that feat of Princewill. They said that he is a true son of the land who would abrogate pointing at his father's house with the left hand. Though Princewill was not in attendance.
But a man who said that he is a representative of Princewill, Dr. Brian Wilfred, said that Princewill went to London to take the message across the shores of the country of what had happened in the Ijaw community of Delta State. This attracted another exhibition of thunderous cheers.
Activist Briggs went further asking rhetorically again thus: “Where were the so called Niger Delta negotiators when the FG appointed the 8 people for the NNPC Diectors in which no Niger Deltan was among? Does it mean that we have no qualified people in the Niger Delta for that aplomb work? Our oppressors believe that violence is power. They might be mighty but we have God on our side, who's greater than all the world. Then why should we be afraid? To be denied development is to be denied survival. We shall never have development if our people are not in the economic, political echelon in Nigeria. When our people go to sleep, that is when the Nigeria state takes her decision to kill our people, because of our oil and gas? That Shell or Agip is drilling oil in our land doesn't mean that the oil doesn't belong to us. Nevertheless, Nigeria state forgot that it's our right to be a people who should enjoy their God's given wealth and potentials. All the crises in the region is a reaction of a people that have been pushed to the wall. The Niger delta calls for justice. Whether G 8 or G 800, these Gs are not for us. What we are saying is that our cries should be heard and our agitation hearkened to. Those of us ho are called criminals or something are the people who have brought us to the “New dawn”. Niger Delta 'negotiators' are ever gluttons. They are reaping where they didn't sow!”
Rivers State Commissioner of Works, Mr. Dakuku Peterside( who came latter, but left earlier) represented Governor Chibuike Amaechi of Rivers State said, “Amaechi believes in the struggle which is just, non-violence.”
Alabo Tonye Graham Douglas came latter, but commended what Princewill had done. The soft spoken Tony I. Uranta thanked everyone present and said, “You people are the true Niger Deltans.”
Odimegwu Onwumere is the Founder of Poet Against Child Abuse (PACA), Rivers State. 08032552855. [email protected]