The Delta State Peoples Democratic Party, PDP has described the latest Press Statement issued by the opposition All Progressives Congress in the State, titled: “STOP PLAYING POLITICS WITH THE LIVES OF DELTANS; APC, DELTA STATE TELLS GOV. OKOWA” and signed by Barr. Ogheneluemu Sylvester Imonina, Publicity Secretary, Delta APC, as another poor attempt, which has once again exposed their naivety and ignorance in the processes of governance.
Delta State PDP Publicity Secretary Dr. Ifeanyi M. Osuoza, who responded to the Press statement, noted that the APC led Federal government had already failed Nigerians woefully in fulfilling Section 14 (2) of the Nigerian constitution referenced in the statement, adding that the other internal security issues also raised by the APC publicist had been successfully addressed through the very robust peacebuilding and proactive conflict resolution agenda of the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa led administration.
Dr. Osuoza said: “Every Nigerian, including those in the APC, know that the administration of President Muhammadu Buhari at the centre has completely failed Nigerians in the delivery of Article 14 (2)(b), which the APC statement referred to and which provides specifically that: “the security and welfare of the people shall be the primary purpose of government”.
“To dwell on this monumental failure by the APC led Federal government will, however, be a wasted effort since it’s so glaring for all to see, but we are greatly alarmed and disturbed by the fact that the APC statement described the murderous and destructive herdsmen as “Cattle rearers”.
“Instead of calling a spade by its proper name, the APC is trying to be politically correct in the face of an obvious war which has been brought to our doorsteps in Delta, by these obvious domestic terrorists. That the APC, in full knowledge of the atrocities currently being carried out against our unsuspecting brothers, sisters, across Delta State, by the rampaging band of AK47 wielding, ubiquitous and land grabbing herdsmen who have taken over bushes, killing, maiming, raping, and destroying peoples farmlands, will issue a statement describing them innocuously as ‘cattle rearers’ is both shocking and disappointing.
“Must we even sacrifice our sovereignty as a free, proud and independent people on the altar of political propaganda? This is the shame and defeat that the APC statement has clearly brought upon us, by addressing the dangerous herdsmen as mere “cattle rearers’.
“As for the spurious allegation that the State Government has abandoned its constitutional and legal responsibility and resorted to blame game, we wish to state categorically that Governor Ifeanyi Okowa has even transcended boldly beyond the expected brinkmanship of constitutional diplomacy to bravely and courageously call out President Muhammadu Buhari to speak up and give clear directives to security agencies in the dealing with the herdsmen menace across the Country and especially in some parts of Ughelli North Local Government Area in Delta State.
“Indeed Governor Okowa’s challenge to President Muhammadu Buhari as Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria to make a strong statement on the issues of insecurity, and in particular the atrocities currently being carried out by the rampaging, arms-wielding suspected Fulani herdsmen was not only sounded stridently after the latest spate of gory and brazen fatalities in several communities in Ughelli North LGA but most recently right in the presence of the Chief of Army Staff, Major General Buratai, during the Commissioning of the 63 Brigade Nigeria Army Headquarters Complex in Asaba.
“We, therefore, wish to state here for the avoidance of doubt that our position, as a responsible political party, which also reflects the mindset of our Governor, is that the unwarranted attacks by suspected herdsmen across Delta State communities, which has resulted in reported killings, maimings, the infliction of severe injuries to many others, as well as abductions and other atrocities and destruction of property including farms, perpetrated over time across the State by these suspected herdsmen, are wicked and mindless.
“Unlike the APC, which would rather engage in the politics of deception, sycophancy, and subservience, the Delta State PDP proudly applauds our leader and Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa for the courage he has exhibited to properly situate the problem that the globally recognized terrorist gang of herdsmen have become in Nigeria and while we note that our people have been very receptive to herdsmen and other visitors, we want to join our traditional rulers, led by His Royal Majesty, Emmanuel Efeizomor II, the Obi of Owa Kingdom and Chairman of the Delta State Council of Traditional Rulers to reiterate that our hospitality and welcoming disposition should not be taken as an act of cowardice and as we continue to encourage peaceful and harmonious relations between Deltans and their visitors, we will not as a ruling party continue to watch outsiders attack and kill our people any longer.
“On the issue of vigilantes raised by the Delta APC and the recourse to Section 11 (2) of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, two appropriate answers will suffice. First, the Vigilantes constitutionally operate under the strict supervision of the Nigerian police and it may also interest the APC to note that a bill seeking to establish the Vigilante Group of Nigeria (VGN) as an independent body operating with full constitutional authority, is currently lying on the table of President Muhammadu Buhari awaiting his assent or veto.
“Be that as it may, however, the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa administration has ensured that Vigilante groups in the State have regularly been recognized and accommodated within the legally prescribed frameworks stipulated by the Constitution. instances of this commitment have been widely reported in the media so no need to belabour the point.
“It is also worth reminding the APC that during the last Security Summit for the South-South States of Nigeria convened by the Inspector General of Police last year, in Asaba, far-reaching decisions were taken, including the endorsement of the operations of vigilante groups to work in conjunction with the police in beefing up security in the localities of South-South.
“Secondly, the APC Publicist, still clutching to his interpretation of Section 11 (2) declared that in most States of the Federation, we have in existence, vigilante groups, backed by laws of those States. And then he went on to state that in Delta State, we have Vigilante Group of Nigeria. While in Lagos State, we have the Neighborhood Watch, Amotekun in some Western States, and other security groups in Northern Nigeria.
“Perhaps the APC is not aware that some of these groups were set up by military decree and only gazetted in subsequent years, some others emerged out of a doctrine of necessity given the internecine nature of the insurgency that confronted them, while others, even with the fanfare and razzmatazz that have heralded their formation, are still facing public hearings and issues of constitutional legitimacy amidst all the bluff, huff and puff.
“What can be deduced easily from APC’s misguided reference to section 11(2), is that the State House of Assembly should make laws to set up its own State police, but let’s ask the APC, does the Constitution give any State the power to set up its own State police or arms-bearing security outfit capable of confronting the dangerous herdsmen? The answer is a resounding NO.
“The APC needs to be reminded that several options including State policing and community policing are still robustly being debated and it is on record that Governor Okowa and the core Southern Governors have favoured community policing in recognition of the ethno-homogenic peculiarities that define the individual communities comprising the Southern and Eastern States. Suffice it to note therefore that the mindset of the APC to regard the issue of security as akin to setting up voluntary organizations like the Boys Scout or WAI Brigade is rather pedestrian and has been overtaken by the seriousness of events.
“On some of what the APC described as ‘issues begging for answers’, the Delta State PDP state as follows:
- The State government has a Security committee in place with which it is handling communal crisis, (whether kingship tussle, “deve” or otherwise) whenever and wherever it rears its head. The committee is already at work and has brought all existing situations under control. Indeed with the courageous bravery of the Deputy Governor, His Excellency Deacon Kingsley Burutu Otuaro, the cerebral yet genteel articulation of the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Barrister Peter Mrakpor and the charming and charismatic personality of Chief Emmanuel Amgbaduba, the Commissioner for Oil and Gas, amongst others, the peacebuilding and conflict resolution agenda, efforts, and interventions of the Governor Okowa administration has achieved tremendous successes in the last five years.
On monies appropriated as security votes monthly, the APC should try to put an end to mischief; or is the opposition party pretending not to know that Delta is one of the safest and most peaceful States in the country? Tremendous synergy and harmony exists amongst the security agencies in the State, commendable peaceful coexistence reigns across majority of the rural communities and great calm without the hitherto youth restiveness in the creeks and riverine communities abound, which has not only ensured increased oil revenues to The Federal government but also encouraged growing investment and partnerships from foreign investors willing to come to Delta State to do good, legitimate business.
“In retrospect, it seems now that the appropriate authority to accuse of “inefficiency and lackluster performance in solving insecurity situations” in the country is the APC-led Federal Government of President Buhari. The opposition party should not feign ignorance that a preponderance of accusations of inefficiency, corruption and inept performance trailing the herdsmen’s induced insecurity, weigh heavily against Mr. President.
“We, therefore, urge Deltans to continue to ignore the antics of APC and urge the party to desist from the politics of guile and evading the truth. The administration of His Excellency, Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa, Governor of Delta State (Ekwueme of the Universe) and Chairman of the South-South Governors Forum, cannot be held responsible for what everyone acknowledges as the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC Federal Government in handling the deliberately surreptitious and deadly encroachment of herdsmen that has ravaged and devastated Southern communities, like an epidemic, under his watch.
“The fact that the Federal government has maintained a tacit and complicit silence in giving clear directions to security agencies to deal decisively with these ‘untouchables’ in the face of overwhelming cries by Nigerians against the evil activities of terrorist herdsmen and instead continues to churn out condolence messages to the growing number of bereaved families across the country, is very disturbing.
Our Advice to APC: Try and remove the massive log of corruption in your eyes first and leave Governor Ifeanyi Okowa alone. You have failed Nigerians completely.
PDP! Power to the People.
Dr. Ifeanyi M. Osuoza,
State Publicity Secretary,
Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),