nig elections

Niger Delta militants have warned of large-scale violence should current president Dr.Goodluck Jonathan not be given fresh term for 2015 in the upcoming Nigerian elections. Politicians in northern Nigeria have warned that violence could ruin the peace in Nigeria and see the country disintegrate from the inside.

The House of Representatives in Nigeria has also launched an immediate police investigation over two very close allies to the Niger Delta militant group. Kingsley Kuku (Presidential adviser on the Niger Delta amnesty programme) and ex-militant leader Asari Dokubo are the two men being investigated.

Mr Kuku who recently spoke at a United States conference in Washington said that President Jonathan’s position was paramount in keeping things under control in the Niger Delta. President Jonathan was born and lived in the Niger Delta and it is his reign that currently holds the current general peace in the region. Mr Kuku went on to say that the president’s current rule is the only thing keeping the Niger Delta peaceful and that a full-scale retaliation is very much a threat should he not be re-elected.

Mr Kuku said: – “It is true that the Presidential Amnesty Programme has engendered peace, safety and security in the sensitive and strategic Niger Delta.”

“Permit me to add that the peace that currently prevails in the zone is largely because Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, who is from that same place, is the President of Nigeria. That is the truth. It is only a Jonathan presidency that can guarantee continued peace and energy security in the Niger Delta.”

Lawmakers in Nigeria have been quick to condemn the comments made by Mr Kuku in an effort to make sure that his words don’t have the ability to instil large-scale panic amongst Nigerian people. The situation has the potential to cause further political problems given that the country is already dealing with the effects of the Mali crisis to the north.

Despite the apparently malicious nature of his words Kuku was quick to add in his statement in Washington that whilst President Jonathan remains in power militant leaders in the Niger Delta are willing to wait patiently for the outcome. Furthermore members of the Nigerian parliament actually had praise for Mr Kuku’s statement and how his frank approach has given them better insight into the situation in the delta.

Whilst the Nigerian media have heavily criticised and condemned the words of Mr Kuku the contrasting view from the Nigerian parliament might show an apparent willingness to co-operate appropriately with those representing the views of the Niger Delta. In the words of Kuku’s associate Asari Dokubo however this will not be a straightforward process. Dokubo has stated that only the continued rule of the current president will lead to any reconciliation between the Nigerian government and Niger Delta militants.

“Jonathan has uninterrupted eight years of two terms to be president, according to the Nigeria constitution. We must have our uninterrupted eight years of two tenure. I am not in support of any amendment of the constitution that will reduce the eight years of two tenure that Goodluck Jonathan is expected to be president of Nigeria.”

With the elections drawing ever closer the tensions in the Niger Delta remain high. This tension is likely to remain if the public view that Jonathan should not run for the 2015 elections. There are many also under the belief that focusing on the 2015 polls should not be the primary concern in the country.

Large parts of Nigeria are reportedly suffering from daily and lengthy electricity blackouts amid rumours of further political corruption that has plagued the country for some time. The majority of Nigerian people believe that these problems that are immediately affecting the country and are not yet being resolved should be the priority in the minds of the government.
It is however also possible to argue that The House of Representatives are looking at the long-term benefits of negotiations in the delta. Current problems of corruption and electricity shortages may seem insignificant come 2015 and the possibility of nationwide violence.

The majority of national resources in terms of food and government funding come from the Niger Delta, something that the Niger Delta militants know all too well. In the eyes of many politicians in Nigeria then it seems plausible to make negotiations with those in the Niger Delta top of the list of essentials.

Whilst looking at the current situation it occurs to me that there are two major issues that need to be addressed. Firstly the issue of trying to keep the faith and calm amongst the majority of Nigerian people who are powerless against the struggle between the government and rebels forces in the country.

Also the frightening ultimatum that the Niger Delta militants have given the current government has the potential to have catastrophic consequences. What is more whilst the delta is under militant control so is the majority if important resources the country are constantly falling short on. It seems in many ways that the militants hold all the political cards when it comes to negotiating President Jonathan’s position.

Whilst the Niger Delta remains an important part of the country and while it remains under heavy militant control the Nigerian government face some tough decisions to make sure that widespread violence in the country is prevented.

BY: ROBERT PRITCHARD
Information sourced from the following links:-
• http://allafrica.com/stories/201305080352.html?page=2
• http://allafrica.com/view/group/main/main/id/00024343.html?aa_source=useful-column
• http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-africa-22491094