LAST Wednesday, General TY Danjuma, former Defence Minister and one of the most respected leaders in Nigeria today, called for the immediate arrest of Niger Delta ex-militants who threatened to plunge the country into war, if President Goodluck Jonathan is not re-elected in this month’s presidential election.
The trio of Boy Loaf, Tompolo and Asari Dokubo had issued the threat of war, at the Government House, Yenagoa, with Bayelsa Governor, Seriake Dickson and Presidential Adviser on the Amnesty Program, Kingsley Kuku, in attendance. General Danjuma reacted to their threat by calling for their arrest and punishment, for ‘unguarded utterances’, that ‘were provocative and inflammatory’. Gen.TY Danjuma, who is never known for ambiguity on any issue, added that: “the statements were very reckless coming from irresponsible individuals and they should be condemned, in fact they should be arrested”.
Gen. Danjuma spoke the mind of a lot of Nigerians, who wondered why there was no disclaimer from the presidency or any proactive action from the security forces that would have sprung to action, if the statements had come from individuals not located in the president’s corner of the political space.
But expectedly, the Niger Delta mob responded the following day led as usual by Chief EK Clark. Clark was “disappointed” by Gen. TY Danjuma, asking why the General didn’t “condemn the attacks on Jonathan in several states of the North instead of calling for the arrest of the ex-militants”, according to a Vanguard report. Tompolo actually “accused Danjuma of sponsoring terrorism in the Northern part of the country”. For that allegation, he said TY Danjuma should also be arrested and prosecuted.
Sponsoring of terrorism
Not only that though, he said “the devilish treaty that brought the Southern and Northern Protectorates together in 1914, expired last year…If not for President Jonathan there would not be a Nigeria anymore”. Asari Dokubo, in his own reaction, said he “felt sorry for Danjuma for calling for his (Asari’s) arrest and other Niger Delta activists”. Even Kingsley Kuku, a presidential adviser, said: “Danjuma misfired by calling for the arrest of the Niger Delta activists”. Boy Loaf asked Gen. TY Danjuma to “apologise and hide his face in shame or face humiliation”. Others who stuck out their necks for the Niger Delta ex-militants and against Gen. Danjuma’s call, included retired Brig. General Idada Ikponmwen, a certain Captain Beck Hitler, even Urhobo Ovo and Ijaw Kene Patriots, amongst others.
While no rebuttal came from the presidency, apropos of the threat to wage a war on Nigeria, by the ex-militants, by the beginning of this week, the PDP, through spokesperson, Olisa Metuh, finally warned Chief EK Clark and his ensemble of ex-militants, to ‘be mindful of what they say at this period of the nation’s political history’. Olisa Metuh was “disturbed over provocative statements of some people which could provoke other parts of the country” adding that “Jonathan was not an Ijaw President or the South South zone of the country alone but the president of all Nigerians”.
Olisa Metuh spoke the truth, but it might just be too little too late! In truth, if President Jonathan loses the coming election, the provocative utterances as well as the bellicosity and threats of Chief EK Clark and the ex-militants, would be a major contributory factor. There is nowhere in the world where democracy can be achieved by the sort of threats these characters regularly issue against other Nigerians. They have never won empathy for President Jonathan with their threats and insults; and because President Jonathan has never denounced these threats, Nigerians in other parts of the country believe they operate with presidential support.
The attitude of the ex-militants is one of the many factors responsible for the noticeable alienation of the Jonathan platform and campaign from other parts of Nigeria. Nigerians will go to the polls on February 14th, and it is not looking like they will be afraid of the threats of war issued by these ex-militants. We will never have democracy by threats, insults and abuses! When the mob surfaced last week against Gen. TY Danjuma, they missed the point. Danjuma’s statement reflected the feeling of people around the country, with the exception of those who share the sentiments of the Niger Delta warlords.