Niger Delta leaders visit Wike, urge amicable resolution of Rivers crisis

Leaders of various ethnic nationalities in the Niger Delta have paid a solidarity visit to Nyesom Wike, the minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), to convey the region’s appreciation to President Bola Tinubu and congratulate Mr Wike on his appointment.

A statement issued by Kingsley Kuku on Saturday noted that the 60-member delegation of prominent Niger Delta leaders was led by Prof A.W. Obianime, a former president of the Ijaw National Congress (INC).

On current political developments in Rivers, the leaders noted that Rivers was strategic to the South-South region and could not afford to be in crisis.

“As Lagos State is very dear to the South West, so is Rivers State to the Niger Delta. This is because an injury to one is an injury to all, so we feel justified in condemning the macabre dance playing out there.

“We join PANDEF, INC, IYC, MOSIEND, MOSOP, Ogbakor Ikwerre, and all other responsible bodies in the Niger Delta in condemning the mischievous attempts at the State House of Assembly to impeach the State Governor on frivolous grounds of ‘gross misconduct’.

“It is quite unacceptable to us and to the entire Niger Delta. Any person, authority, or group of persons involved in stoking this fire is strongly advised to desist from it and allow peace to reign,” the statement said.

The statement noted that, as a political leader in Rivers, Mr Wike wields the influence to broker peace, as both the executive and legislators consist of his political proteges.

“They will listen to you when you talk to them. All eyes are on you. Be the peacemaker that you are, and do all you can to quench this fire before it becomes devastating.

“The consequences will do no one any good. It will also not speak well of us as Rivers people in particular and Niger Deltans in general.

“Your silence in this matter will not be golden, and the world will think you’re playing the ostrich.

“We plead with you to step into a peaceful resolution of this matter so that the Nigerian populace will not say that Pompey was drinking tea when Rome was burning,” the statement said.

It was further noted that the leaders drawn from various states of the Niger Delta region paid the visit to show their support for Mr Wike following recent comments by Sheik Gumi and advocate a resolution of the political turmoil in Rivers.

“Hon. Minister, a pertinent area that invites our attention and solidarity with you concerns your recent verbal encounter with Sheikh Ahmed Gumi. Although many people have reacted in various ways to this statement, we feel duty-bound to also lend our voices.

“To say the least, Gummi’s arrogation of exclusive ownership and monopoly of administration of Abuja by a given ethno-religious region in Nigeria is not only disgusting and senseless but also puerile, hubristic, irresponsible, and divisive.

“It clearly goes against the grain of Abuja as the melting pot of Nigeria and is therefore highly condemnable.

“We are glad for the avalanche of criticism against his unguarded statement from every nook and cranny and the denial of his mean and myopic position even by the Northern Elders Forum (N.E.F.),” the statement said.

According to the statement, Mr Wike is not a political orphan from the Niger Delta, as he has a very strong socio-political base.

“So, we take a very serious exception to the call for the Minister’s sack and to the blackmail on the President with denial of electoral and political support in faraway 2027 should the President fail to do his unholy bidding.

“We wonder where Gumi has the right and audacity to threaten the President. We also wonder what electoral value Gumi carries in Nigerian politics,” the statement added.

The statement said the Niger Delta leaders urged Mr Wike to ignore these diversionary distractions and remain focused on his assignment as minister.