REACTING to the criticism of its endorsement of the All Progressives Congress candidate, Maj.-Gen. Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), for the presidency in the 2015 elections, the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta has insisted that Buhari is the best candidate in the race.
MEND, the umbrella body for militancy in the oil-rich Niger-Delta, said it would support the APC candidate.
Candidate of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, President Goodluck Jonathan, an Ijaw man from Bayelsa State, is also from the Niger Delta.
MEND had on Wednesday declared that it would support Buhari for the presidency, alleging that Jonathan had not performed up to the expectations of Nigerians, a position that did not go down well with the PDP and the Ijaw Youth Council.
Why the PDP, through its National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, queried APC’s link with MEND, the IYC through its Publicity Secretary, Eric Omare, reportedly described MEND as a “ghost”.
Jonathan, at the commencement of his campaign in Lagos on Thursday, also said he did not expect the group’s support because “some people procured MEND in 2010 to assassinate me” and that the leader of the group, Henry Okah, is in jail in South Africa.
But MEND, in an electronic statement by its famous spokesperson, Jomo Gbomo, on Thursday, described Metuh’s position on its support for Buhari as “callous and irresponsible.”
The reaction of the PDP, the Niger Delta militant group explained, further confirmed its views about President Jonathan’s alleged inept government.
The statement read, “The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta views the recent question and statement credited to the Peoples Democratic Party National Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, as very callous and irresponsible.
“This question: “Explain your connections with MEND”, further confirms and vindicates our views about Goodluck Jonathan, his inept government and the PDP.”
“MEND strongly denies any link with the All Progressives Congress and has never been approached for anything, at any point in time, by the party, as pettily alleged by Olisa Metuh.
“The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta 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.
“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.
“Nigerians should ask this man (Eric Omare) if he was referring to ‘ghosts’ when he lauded MEND for declaring a temporary ceasefire six months ago.”
It added, “The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, 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 advise the Ijaw Youth Council 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.
“If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you can never regain their respect and esteem.”