The Niger Delta Congress (NDC), a socio-political organisation representing all the ethnic nationalities of the Niger Delta region, has endorsed Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, as its preferred candidate ahead of this Saturday’s presidential election.
The group, which represents the socio-political, economic, and environmental interests of the people of the Niger Delta region, or the South-South geopolitical region of Nigeria, released a statement on Thursday that was made available to BusinessDay that it has decided to endorse Obi as its anointed candidate among the 18 candidates to replace President Muhammadu Buhari this Saturday.
The group complained about the unfair way the administration of Buhari has treated the region, preferring to devote more resources and attention to the affairs of the North rather than the region, which generated more than 85 percent of the country’s foreign exchange.
It emphasised some groups’ calls for Obi’s credibility, desire, and willingness to change the country’s narrative for the better.
In particular, Obi’s willingness to commit to restructuring and resource control influenced the group’s decision to queue and mobilise support for him.
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The NDC said that among the leading candidates, Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), only Obi had the integrity, credibility, sincerity, and intelligence to turn the fortunes of the region and the country around.
The statement which was signed by Mudiaga Ogboru, the national spokesperson read, ” For the past eight years under this tone deaf administration, the Niger Delta has experienced some of the worst sociopolitical and socioeconomic attacks; the Federal Government started off by auctioning over 80 oil wells belonging to our people with no regard to our calls for inclusion; the Federal Government using an Executive Order circumvented the fraudulent Nigerian Constitution to grant Northern Nigeria resource control and the freedom to harness its gold and other mineral resources while also depriving us of those same rights; the Federal Government bungled the flagship Ogoni cleanup which would’ve been a test case for the cleanup of the entire Niger Delta so bad that today the United Nations is threatening to pull out completely; the Federal Government passed a denigrating Petroleum Industry Bill which simply harmonizes all existing subjugative legislations governing resource exploitation and paying no heed to our concerns.”
The group also complained about the deliberate policies of the FG to improve the lives of the people of the region by “setting in motion numerous policies which cumulatively have today made our region the poorest region in the entire Southern Nigeria, the most food deprived in the entire country, the lowest life expectancy in the country, the highest out of school children in Southern Nigeria, and the most lacking in access to health facilities in Southern Nigeria.”
The group complained of the insincerity of most politicians in the country, especially the two major political parties, who had decided to throw equity and fairness aside considering our religious, ethnic, and political makeup to do things that don’t show understanding of the diversity of Nigerians.
“In the process leading to the emergence of the different political party candidates, it is clear that justice, equity, and fairness were set aside for expediency and selfish interests, If it were not for those, there wouldn’t be a Muslim-Muslim candidature paying no regard to the religious composition of this country, or the presentation of a Northern-Fulani candidature, which completely disregards the ethnic composition and sensibilities of this country,” it said.
Bearing all these in mind, “the NDC, as a representative group of the ethnic nationalities of the Niger Delta, and cognizant of the wishes of our people, stands solidly behind the candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi.”
The group therefore wishes to mobilise support by calling on the people of the Niger Delta and the rest of the country “to shun partisan politics and stand for what is right, just, and fair, by also supporting and coming out en masse to cast their vote for Peter Obi.”