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Boyloaf, Tompolo, Other Ex-Niger Delta Militants Set To Endorse Buhari

Posted by:- || Date:- February 13, 2019 || Time:- 7:15 pm || Under:- Local News || Tags:-


Ex-armed men, once notorious for the long-run militancy in Nigeria’s oil-rich Niger Delta, are set to endorse President Muhammadu Buhari’s re-election bid, PREMIUM TIMES has learnt.

The endorsement is to
come at a press conference scheduled to hold in Port Harcourt today,
Wednesday. The conference is to be addressed by Victor Ebikabowei, also
known as General Boyloaf, a source close to Boyloaf told PREMIUM TIMES.

PREMIUM
TIMES has previewed the text of Boyloaf’s address, which notes the
tension between the ex-militant leaders, now cooperating under the aegis
of Peace Ambassadors of the Niger Delta, and the Buhari government at
its inception.

It reads: “In spite of the tense beginning and
moments we have had with the current administration following his defeat
of our brother Goodluck Jonathan, we have formed a new partnership for
the Niger Delta and have seen a deep-seated commitment to addressing the
issues that we in the region are facing.

“We have to give
special credit to Vice President Yemi Osinbajo for painstakingly leading
the engagements in the Niger Delta and assuring us of his plans.”

Apart
from Boyloaf, other ex-warriors believed to be at the vanguard of the
move are Government Ekpemupolo, alias Tompolo, wanted by the Economic
and Financial Crimes Commission over allegations of money laundering;
Ateke Tom, now a traditional ruler; Bibrope Ajube, also known as General
Shoot-at-Sight; and Farah Dagogo, who is the Peoples Democratic Party
candidate for the Bonny/Degema federal constituency election.

“In
the Niger Delta, these are people who matter,” said our source, playing
down the influence of Edwin Clark, respected Niger Delta leader who is
supporting PDP’s Atiku Abubakar. “Edwin Clark is well respected but he’s
old.”

On Mr Dagogo, a PDP member currently in the Rivers State
House of Assembly, our source said: “this is not about a political
party. It is not about endorsing APC. It is about Buhari.”

The
Niger Delta is a region where Mr Abubakar is expected to record a clear
win. Apart from being traditionally a “PDP home,” Mr Abubakar’s core
campaign vow to restructure the country to allow states have greater
responsibilities and control of resources appeals to the region, long
drawn in agitations for resource control and more development.

However,
the endorsement of Mr Buhari by the ex-warriors who wield some
influence in the region may swing some votes across the states in the
region to APC.

According to our source, the endorsement would be a part of a “peace workshop” promoted by the ex-militant leaders.

They
were high-ranking commanders of the Movement for the Emancipation of
the Niger Delta, MEND, and also ran, separately, camps of guerrilla
fighters spending years in violent protest of the environmental
degradation and socio-economic underdevelopment of the Niger Delta.

But in 2009, they accepted the amnesty programme initiated by late President Umaru Yar’Adua.

They
enjoyed generous government patronage during the administration of
President Goodluck Jonathan, who offered them contracts to safeguard oil
and gas infrastructure. They then supported Mr Jonathan’s re-election
bid, which failed in 2015.

The amnesty programme led to relative
peace in the region but attacks on oil and gas installations were
renewed by a group Niger Delta Avengers following Mr Jonathan’s loss.

The
Avengers were condemned by Boyloaf and Tompolo in separate reactions.
MEND also described the group as a bunch of criminals at the height of
their violent campaign which affected Nigeria’s crude production.

The
Niger Delta is volatile and has remained largely impoverished, despite
decades of oil production that has provided much of the cash Nigeria
uses. Trillions of naira in federal allocations to the region have not
changed much.

But the endorsement of Mr Buhari by the “big five”
ex-militant leaders, according to our source, follows his “government’s
efforts on Niger Delta’s environmental and development concerns,
including Ogoni cleanup and infrastructure.”

Source:- Premiumtimesng


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