2023 Presidency: No Way For North, It’s Turn Of Ndigbo

Foremost Niger Delta activist and Coordinator of Ijaw Monitoring Group (IMG), Comrade Joseph Evah, is not one that parries reporters’ questions when confronted as he is always frank and does not mince words on his position on issues.

In this interview, he told Sunday Sun that 2023 Presidency should go to the Southeast, warning the North to bury the idea of retaining the Presidency in 2023, unless if they have concluded to destroy Nigeria.

He also opened up on other sensitive national issues, including border closure, why the region is relatively calm, the delayed inauguration and forensic investigation of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), and assessment of Nigeria at 59, among others. Excerpt:

There seems to be relative calm in the Niger-Delta region and most people are attributing it to the success of the Amnesty programme. Do you share this view?

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Well, the Amnesty story is a success story, no doubt, in the Niger Delta, but not a total story, I mean, it’s not 100 per cent success story, but of course, you know there is nothing that is 100 per cent perfect, but to a good level it is commendable. You know that when this President (Buhari) came to power during his inaugural speech at the Eagle Square, when he took over from President Goodluck Jonathan, he said that the Amnesty programme will end within one year, but later when the elders intervened that the Amnesty has done all that it should do, for example, the training of all the ex-militants and the president reasoned with the region and decided that the Amnesty should go on without giving any terminal date, so that also made some people, especially the youth, to believe that President Buhari is cooperating with the region, that is one of the factors and every time when due, the Ministry of Finance is releasing money to the Amnesty office to continue the training of the young people, but we are still saying that is not all. For example, the Ministry of Niger Delta is not working, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is upside down and the president also promised that he is going to investigate the problem of the NDDC. We are saying that, even if he is investigating let him inaugurate the new board because even when you are probing the NSA office over Boko Haram they have a new NSA and the NSA functions are going on and they are still fighting the war against Boko Haram, so we want all hands to be on deck in all the areas that empowerment is to go to the Niger Delta. But the truth is that our governors are not also helping matters because they are not working like their Southwest counterparts, usually the Southwest governors collectively gathered money to fight insecurity in the Southwest, but our Niger Delta governors are not speaking with one voice and that is a problem, but for the Amnesty, the Amnesty is going on and the ex-militants have hope in the Amnesty programme. I think this is one of the reasons the region is calm and we are expecting other areas like the NDDC, Ministry of the Niger Delta and the governors to also wake up.