An Ijaw leader, Chief Wilfred Ogbotobo, says members of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) lack the authority to discuss with President Muhammadu Buhari on the development of the Niger Delta.
Ogbotobo, who spoke in Yenagoa, said that the group is made of people who had opportunities to develop the region, but instead built empires for themselves and their children with public funds.
He alleged that PANDEF members are politicians masquerading as Niger Delta leaders.
“There is no need for further dialogue on the same issues relating to the development and well-being of the same Niger Delta. We have had enough of the same characters, dialogues, blueprints and roadmaps on this same Niger Delta.
“These individuals and groups should, in their own interest, spare President Buhari the distractions of their unproductive and time-wasting dialogues, as he cannot afford to fail in the challenges confronting critical sectors of the nation.
“Hence, we welcome and praise President Buhari’s timely recognition of this snare, and his boldness in providing a significant budgetary allocation to fight crime and stop a breakdown of law and order in the region.
He continued by saying “this is the hallmark of a disciplined, responsible leadership”.
According to him, the President is conversant with the developmental challenges of the Niger Delta and should dialogue with “local rocket scientists” to implement his plans for the region.
He said the President has demonstrated his readiness to develop the Niger Delta, alleging that leaders of PANDEF are politicians who had earlier threatened fire and brimstone against Buhari during the campaign.
“Their political profiles will reveal how many opportunities they have had in the course of their political development, to better the region, but which they squandered on selfishness and frivolity.
“We, therefore, urge the public to be more discerning and not to be deceived by these barefaced lies and hypocritical shenanigans of individuals and groups whose activities are akin to a set of spent clowns on a time worn circus.
“These antecedents and antics are no longer fashionable and are out of tune with the present enlightenment and realities in the Niger Delta,” Ogbotobo said.
“President Buhari needs no further schooling or dialogue on the economic value and social importance of the Brass Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) project and a modern seaport in Bayelsa State; as well as his knowledge of the strategic value of the Maritime University to the people.
“We urge the Federal Government to be focused and committed to the delivery of the dividends of democracy to the Niger Delta”.
He advised the President to go deeper, beyond to collaborate with the people, identify and groom a fresh breed of committed, young leaders who should be empowered to provide robust leadership for the salvation and survival of Niger Delta.