With Uche Nnadozie
After several months of inaction, the Niger Delta Avengers, NDA are back. This time they say, they have called off their “ceasefire’’ because according to them, the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari is not sincere and has not kept to the terms of an earlier agreement. They also say the administration is deceiving them and therefore can no longer be trusted. The Avengers say they will resume hostilities against the country and oil exploration in the Niger Delta, apparently to drive home their point. And to make matters worse, the usual suspects (that is, some PDP adherents) have latched onto this narrative.
Each of these PDP supporters I have heard or read helped make one point. The point being that Buhari wants to disgrace former President Goodluck Jonathan. They point to the case in a Federal High Court, the one involving the former spokesperson of their party, Olisa Metu. Metu is standing trial for misappropriating about N400 million said to be part of the funds allegedly diverted by former National Security Adviser, NSA, Sambo Dasuki. Dasuki is accused of diverting a whopping $2.1 billion defence funds to the pockets of party faithful leading up to the 2015 elections. The defence funds were earmarked for counter terrorism purposes. Metu who maintains he took the money for a campaign purpose as prescribed by Jonathan, has had the same money traced to Lagos in a land deal for himself.
What is the logic in this warped logic by PDPians? They contend that Jonathan as a former president should not have been summoned by the court. They claimed that other former heads of state have not been similarly summoned and where they have been so summoned refused to appear before the court. So they are not taking lightly the summons and blames it squarely on the current president. How disingenuous. But you know this is a political environment. Yet the facts must be laid bare. Metu is the one accused of receiving stolen money. In trying to extricate himself from his bad case, his lawyer asked the court to invite Jonathan as his witness in order to give evidence that will exonerate him. How that concerns Buhari baffles me.
To add to that, I should have thought that PDP faithful should direct their spleen towards Metu who is a member of their party. Even among thieves there should be honour. How come in spite of the goodies that he received according to (Metu) through the ‘’goodwill’’ of Jonathan, yet does not mind to rub tar all over their former head honcho? Then there must be something pathological about PDP members. They do not even know how to protect one and each other. Even in the public space, they do not mind to brawl and pretend not to have received help from one another. It appears their benefactors are only important when they still occupy, positions of authority. That for me is the denouement that I seek. To finally tell me that the selfishness exhibited by PDP members against Nigeria is also the same among themselves. The chicken as they say has come home to roost.
Yet we should be alarmed. PDP members are not afraid at the theft of defence cash, but worried because a former president was summoned by a PDP member to give evidence in court. As a result, they do not mind bringing the country to her knees just to pass a message. The message in this case is in bad taste. They do everything to show they love corruption more than Nigeria. They do not even pretend about it any longer. They are happy to be identified with impunity and this is worrying at every level. But who will bell the cat? Nevertheless, working or appearing to be working in cahoots with the Avengers is a low blow to whatever is remaining of the once ruling party. It’s like they are frustrated now and capable of doing anything just to put up appearances. Somebody will ask, but PDP never announced they were joining forces with the NDA? True, but…!
The last time we heard about NDA was when the anti-corruption crusade took off in a blistering manner. Reports at the time indicated that some governors pointedly told the vice president in a meeting to find solutions to the crisis that some of the cases being pursued by EFCC has to be dropped for peace to reign. Unfortunately, the government found a way to soften up on some of those investigations. Similarly, as soon as Justice Okon Abang insisted that Jonathan be brought to court in deference to Metu’s request, NDA suddenly woke up. Like in 2016, NDA has shown where its loyalty lies. And like in 2016, PDP elements have jumped to defend and gloat over the impending economic sabotage. Like I insisted at the material time, groups like NDA will continue to arise to blackmail the government if it succumbs to their activities and demands. After all, all along, the group has always been a blackmail machinery.
If oil exploration is sabotaged at this time, it will affect all of us. I will advise the government like I did before to get down to business and solve this blackmail once and for all. I know it will come with a huge cost but we cannot continue to run two sets of rules; one for the rest of us then another for terrorists like NDA. We are running a country. There should be no pretenses about that. The country must stand up to those who wish it ill. PDP cannot stand around to poke its dirty fingers in the eyes of Nigerians in the name of opposition politics. Government must resolve the NDA challenge as quickly as possible. Then all NDA collaborators must be fished out and dealt with without much ado. Jonathan himself should speak up. He has to dissociate himself from this mob in the strongest term possible. In the end, he has several channels to use to ensure he does what his conscience tells him to do with regard to Metu’s summons.