Some South-South ex-militant generals and commanders in Edo State on Wednesday announced their support for the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress in the February 14 presidential poll, Maj. Gen. Muhammadu Buhari ( retd.).
They also commended the leadership of the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta for endorsing Buhari, insisting that the group’s (MEND’s) action should be treated with seriousness.
The ex-militants told journalists in Benin, the Edo State capital, that their position was in line with the expectations and hope of Nigerians for positive change and development, particularly, the development of the Niger Delta region.
The spokesperson for the group, Mr. Godwin Ogidigba, explained that the ex-agitators had implicit confidence in the ability of Buhari, whom he said, was capable of addressing the major challenges affecting various communities in the region, which were yet to be addressed by the present administration.
He said, “In recent publications in the dailies, you see MEND endorsing Buhari. People thought it was a joke. It is not. The fact remains that we need somebody that can address the salient issues that affect the Niger Delta region.
“Our brother has failed in those issues; our brother has failed to take us away from poverty, our brother has failed to bring development to the Niger Delta region.
“Just take a look at most of the Niger Delta communities. They still remain where they are, in spite of the fact that we have one of our own at the top, at the helm of affairs, nothing positive has changed in the region.”
Ogidigba argued that their choice of Buhari had nothing to do with religion or ethnicity but centred on their desire for unity in the country.
He noted that although the amnesty programme had brought some relief to youths in the region, some of the terms of the agreement had yet to be implemented.
Ogidigba said, “Somebody who can stand and develop our region, that should be our interest and that is our interest. It is true that President Goodluck Jonathan is from the South-South region; he is our brother. But the problem is this: he came to meet the amnesty programme and since then he has not been able to improve on it, which means that the amnesty programme stopped when the late (President) Musa Yar’Adua died.”