The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) yesterday insisted on supporting the candidature of the Presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Muhammadu Buhari, for the 2015 Presidential elections.
MEND also countered the Ijaw Youth Council, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and other ex-militants in the Niger Delta region with its insistence on Buhari for President.
The body which gave its support in a statement issued yesterday by its spokesperson, Jomo Gbomoere said; “The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) stands strongly by our endorsement and full support of General Muhammadu Buhari as the man to lead the country out of its present calamitous state in the hands of Goodluck Jonathan”
The movement also denied any links with the All Progressives Congress (APC), saying it has “never been approached for anything, at any point in time, by the party, as pettily alleged by the Spokesperson of the PDP, Olisa Metuh”.
MEND described Metu’s statement as “callous and irresponsible”, adding that it had no relationship with the APC.
The militant group also took the leadership of the IYC to the cleaners for describing MEND as a “ghost”.
“MEND finds it laughable the recent statement by Mr Eric Omare, the Publicity Secretary of a mere tribal assembly and political praise singers, known as the Ijaw Youth Council, stating that “MEND is a ghost”. We clearly understand their frustrations at our stance as it obviously came as a shock to them”.
It recalled that the publicity secretary of the IYC recently lauded the body for cease fire in the region, wondering whether he was referring to “ghost”, at that time.
“The Movement once more, urges Nigerians to ignore the empty threats of this so-called “ex-agitators” and the Ijaw Youth Council. Their reckless utterances only ridicule and confirm the colossal failure of the “Amnesty Programme”. We advie the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) to use their idle time in telling and showing Nigerians and Niger Deltans what the government of Goodluck Jonathan has done or achieved in Nigeria and the region in the last six years in office, apart from giving them handouts called “Monthly Stipends”, the statement said.
However, in a swift reaction yesterday, President Jonathan yesterday warned the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC)’s Presidential candidate, Gen. Muhammadu Buhari, not to enthuse in his purported endorsement by the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND).
He insisted that majority of Nigerians are behind his reelection bid.
This was contained in a statement issued by the Presidential spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati.
The statement said “we have noted with amusement, the vituperations against President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan by the renegade faction of the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) headed by the convicted terrorist, Henry Okah in a statement issued to endorse the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Gen. Muhammadu Buhari.
“While we thank all people of the Niger Delta, including the former militants whom MEND claims to represent who have already disassociated themselves from the statement issued by the faceless Jomo Gbomo and reaffirmed their unflinching support for President Jonathan’s re-election, we will like to state that the latest assault on the President by Henry Okah and his stooges did not come as a surprise to us at all.
“It was very much to be expected, coming as it did from an individual and group who have never hidden their vengeful personal animosity against the President and who have even gone to the extent of launching murderous assaults on venues at which the President was present on two occasions.
“It is most regrettable indeed that rather than show remorse for the terrorist acts against his fatherland for which he is now rightly serving a term of imprisonment in South Africa, Henry Okah continues to pursue a pointless personal vendetta against President Jonathan who continues to advance and protect the interests of the people of the Niger Delta which Okah and his group threatened with their misguided actions.
“The vituperations against President Jonathan in the MEND statement endorsing General Buhari are mischievous, baseless and deliberately styled to denigrate the good works of the President.
“It is well known that President Jonathan played a significant role in ending the militancy and insurgency in the Niger Delta.
“Under his watch, the destruction of oil facilities and the incessant kidnapping and killing of expatriates in the Niger Delta waterways have become a thing of the past.
“The attempt by Jomo Gbomo’s MEND to rewrite history by tarnishing the person of President Jonathan for selfish, pecuniary and political gains will amount to an exercise in futility.
“All patriotic and right-thinking Nigerians must consider an endorsement from a convicted criminal and his group who harbor evil intentions against the unity and progress of their country as a poisoned chalice.
“President Jonathan would never have accepted such an endorsement from terrorists and renegades.
“The President therefore advises General Buhari not to place any stock on his purported endorsement by the renegade faction of MEND which is led by a convicted and unrepentant terrorist with whom no leader who truly means well for Nigeria should be associated.”
Meanwhile, the four local government areas of Ogoni ethnic nationality in Rivers State on Thursday unanimously pledged their support in next month’s presidential election to the All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari.
The Eleme, Tai, Gokana and Khana area declared their position during a brief ceremony to welcome General Buhari and other top APC officials to Sakpenwa, headquarters of Tai Local Government Area.
In a speech, the chairman of the Rivers State Council of Traditional Rulers, His Majesty King G. N. Gininwa, expressed appreciation to General Buhari for accepting to visit Ogoni land.
“Ogonis have cried a lot,” he told the former Head of State. “We want a redeemer and we believe you are the one.”
In another address, Senator Magnus Ngei Abe, who represents the Rivers South East Senatorial District, declared support for Buhari on behalf of the Ogoni people.