A Self-Respecting Cap Wanted For PANDEF

By Basil Okoh May 22, 2020

A Self-Respecting Cap Wanted For PANDEF

  1. PANDEF (Pan Niger Delta Forum) must not be seen begging for appointments in NNPC or asking for inclusions in Government.
  2. PANDEF should be demanding the unbundling and privatization of the NNPC and the release of the energy bottled up therein.
  3. PANDEF should be advocating for competition in the economic space, not for allocation of offices in a pre-bended federal system that that has been seized by an oligarchy.

In the present regime, PANDEF has become an agglomeration of self seekers, working so passionately to be incorporated into a jaded Nigerian economic and political establishment, even when it has become evident to all that the establishment has become the preserve of an ethnic “junta”.

PANDEF has become like the unwanted prodigal, begging so much to be let into his father’s house, his own inheritance. NNPC is founded on the exploitation of petroleum resources from the Niger Delta. For PANDEF to be begging for the “allocation” of offices and positions from NNPC, is an unspeakable demeaning and insult to the people of the Niger Delta who own the resource.

There is something insouciant and unacceptable in a group of men gathering together and imposing themselves as leaders over a people without election, selection or even nominations from their ethnicities. That is what PANDEF is doing in the Niger Delta and because of it, becoming irritants to informed people of the region.

To what therefore do we attribute the shameful naiveté of the Pan Niger Delta Forum PANDEF for the supine petition it sent to Muhammadu Buhari, President of Nigeria? The letter which serves as both apologia and appeal for recognition was written on behalf of the people of the six states of the Niger Delta. It dwelt on only one matter, the managerial appointments in NNPC since the tenure of Buhari, beginning from May 2015.

The letter lamented the maltreatment of the people of the region as exemplified by the ethnically cleansed appointments in NNPC to favour the North, particularly the Fulani.

The petition reminded the President again and again that the Niger Delta is the source of the Oil wealth which provides the mainstay of the nations economy and which the NNPC was set up to manage. The petition provided a list of wrongs done to the people of the region in NNPC and another list showing the appointments undeservedly awarded to named persons in the North.

It was all “dogo’n turainci” (Hausa for long or winding English) for which Northern Nigeria laughs at the South and because of which nobody in the North will bother to read the petition by PANDEF. And I assure you that nobody in the power circles in Northern Nigeria will indeed read this letter from PANDEF.

It is a supine and beggarly appeal written by people who have betrayed their inheritance and are now begging to be let into a house they once owned. PANDEF has become the irritant prodigal, begging for entry from the new occupiers of the house he once owned, a heirloom from his forebears, his own once proud inheritance.

NNPC was founded on the exploitation of petroleum resources from the Niger Delta. It is this finite resource that sustains the entire Nigerian state. PANDEF is the presumptive Organization, though unelected that represent the people’s of the region. For PANDEF to be begging for the “allocation” of offices and positions from NNPC, is an unspeakable demeaning and insult to the people of the Niger Delta.

The PANDEF’s appeal to the conscience of Muhammadu Buhari and his ethnic junta to rectify the ethnic wrongs in managerial appointments in NNPC was founded on so many wrong assumptions.

The first misstep is to assume that Buhari is not conscious of the goings on and not an active directing participant in the ethnic cleansing in NNPC.

The second and more defeatist to the cause of PANDEF is to assume that the Northern actors are acting in good conscience, that there is no underlying agenda driving the actions of the Northern players, that the appointments are mere happenstances which need the correction of the president. This is what expresses and highlights the naiveté of the Niger Delta leaders in PANDEF. If you know that a man is determined to do evil, why appeal to his conscience? You appeal instead to his vulnerability and self-interest.

The Northern politicians are playing realpolitics to serve their regional interests. They have seized the economic and political command and control centres of the Nigerian State and awarded the management positions to their people. That is the summary of what has happened in NNPC.

Buhari and the North is not to be distracted by whining provincial potentates like PANDEF, playing losers politics in long winding letters. The North’s goals are set and their minds unfettered by conscience: take the NNPC and the economic levers of the Niger Delta, including the Sea Ports, without conceding any favours to the indigenous people. And then flood the entire region with Northern vagrants.

And while you’re at it, take direct charge of the security infrastructure in the region by ensuring that all Police and military formations are headed by personnel from the Northern region.

The seizure of NNPC by the North is a deep historical wrong that has helped to destroy the structures of the federation. It is the attempt to double down on that historical lie that has led to the attempt by the North to populate the deep South with it’s vagrants in order to seize the lands.

PANDEF damaged their own cause by begging for elite favours in the executive appointments at NNPC, canvassing for more management positions for the Niger Delta, ostensibly for themselves or their cronies. They did not commit to a structured rearrangement of the Nigerian federation to win Justice, egalitarianism or economic opportunities for their own people.

PANDEF are completely out of touch with the mood in the region and out of touch with the reigning aspirations of the people of the Niger Delta. PANDEF’s disconnect from the determined mood of the people for self determination is not matched by the begging tone of their petition and their craving for inclusion in the Augean stable that is menacing their people. This is the reason why the group can no longer be trusted with the leadership or guardianship of the region.

It was vexatious that PANDEF did not write about the overriding concerns of the people of the Niger Delta, the menacing security situation in the region, the ongoing invasion by Northern drifters or even the tanked Nigerian economy and the possible privatization of the NNPC to create a more transparent and efficient corporation.

Instead, it whined about elite appointments that are of no benefit to the masses of the harangued region.

It is therefore not impossible that PANDEF having made itself so alienated from the people, will be swept away by the same people in the gathering tide that is swirling once again in the Creeks of the Niger Delta.

  • @basilokoh.
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