Politics, political parties, and Niger Delta – By Annkio Briggs | NN NEWS

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Politics is not boring, however, some politicians would like us to believe that it is, that way we leave politics explicitly to them. Politics in Nigeria mostly equates to violence, lies, deceit and politicians acting in self-interest and their followers.

In the current political system, the electorate grows cynical and become discouraged from exercising our rights and being interested in what these politicians do in our names.

When we leave politics only to the politicians, we forfeit our rights, community, LGA, State, regional development, security, environment, security and future to a few irresponsible, incompetent, selfish and greedy members of our communities – who do what they want and how they want to, in the name of the majority (you and l).

Our rights and power in politics and governance are too important to leave in the hands of a few who do not understand how precious our rights are to survival and future within or outside of Nigeria.

Politicians and political parties are allowed to serve us because we supposedly have voted them into power, to be active and accountable in all aspects of our daily lives, development and future. The price of food, transport, house rent, healthcare, education, security, development and quality of our environment is controlled by politics, political parties and the decisions of politicians.

It is our right and responsibility to keep our eyes and ears open to political activities. We must understand how politics and the process of government works, how decisions for policies and laws are made and the criteria used in the processes. We must understand the laws and their impact on us now and in the future.

Some laws are contentious, as they take away our rights to our natural resources, so we must – ask why do some laws work against our interests? as they take away our lands, creeks, swamps, mangroves, forests, Rivers, etc. in the Niger Delta, giving our sources of livelihood to the Federal Government yet the lands are vested in the Governor of the state.

Before oil and gas were said to be in commercial quantities in the Niger Delta the sharing formula was fifty percent (50%) of resources to the region in which the resources are from – such as groundnut, cotton, hides and skin and cocoa etc.

Yet when it came to oil and gas, the same laws that enabled other regions of Nigeria to use their resources to develop their regions were changed, and now deny us the rights to use our natural oil and gas to develop our communities, states and region.

Our knowledge of politics will empower us to choose who we vote for, based on all things in our interests. It is a reality that politics in Nigeria is based on ethnic nationalities, religion, region and State; it is our responsibility to infuse issues and rights into elections.

We should not sink into political idleness by accepting that we have no choice but to live with a corrupt electoral body to run the electoral process. INEC is the independent body intended to conduct elections on our behalf and should not be controlled by any arm of state or federal government.

Our elections should not be fraudulent or rigged in favour of one religion, region or ethnic nationality as a result, maintaining political power within one religion, region or ethnic nationality. Knowledge of politics is and what to expect as dividends of democracy, will give us a stable political attitude and support our democratic rights.

Nigeria’s political process and institutions are faulty. Corruption and bad governance are the results. Gen Olusegun Obasanjo government of 1999, rising from the ashes of the effects of unresolved issues of the 1914 amalgamation, the 1960 Independence and a series of military coups, continued to ignore and neglect the worries and rights of the oil and gas producing ethnic nationalities of the Niger Delta.

The legal justification of this neglect is the 1999 Constitution, written to favour Northern Nigeria and disfavour Southern Nigeria.

Natural resources of the people of the Niger Delta were confiscated by Gen. Gowon’s government to wage a three-year war against the Col. Odumegu Ojukwu lead Republic of Biafra (the defunct Eastern Region of Nigeria, today the South-East and the South-South geopolitical zones).

At the end of the genocidal war, which took the lives of over 3million people and children of mainly the Igbo ethnic nationality and other ethnic nationalities of the old Eastern Region, Gen. Gowon Military Government at the end of the war in 1970 did not return the rights and access of the resources of oil and gas to the Niger Delta states.

Systemic looting, corruption and mismanagement were put in place, reducing the Niger Delta to unimaginable poverty, environmental destruction of farming lands, fishing ports, creeks, mangroves, swamps and forests; our primary natural main sources for economic security and growth of the people from these oil-producing communities.

This was achieved through the reckless exploration and exploitation of the people’s natural resources by the International Oil Companies (IOC) and the Federal Government their 60% Joint Venture Partners (JVP).

NIGER DELTA AND POLITICAL PARTIES After the providential rescue of Nigeria from dictators and the military of several years in 1999, the people of Southern Nigerian embraced the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) with high expectations.

The Niger Delta people believed their states (Bayelsa, Rivers, Akwa Ibom, Cross River, Edo and Delta) especially the major oil and gas producing states revenues, will be available to them for their development, instead, the 1999 Constitution handed to the incoming government of Rtd Gen Obasanjo by the out-going military government took away all rights of the oil and gas producing states to access their resources.

The preferred political party of Niger Delta for over two decades, the PDP, the PDP has always leaned on the Niger Delta region and people for funds and numerical support, to sustain its activities across Nigeria.

The Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) a creation born from the agitation for justice and equity by the Niger Delta people, has been misused and abused, instead of serving the interests of the people of Niger Delta, it is used as a conduit pipe to fund a lot of political activities across Nigeria since 2000.

NDDC, though bearing the identity of Niger Delta, in the Niger Delta and managed by Niger Delta people and controlled by the powerful Federal Government. The major beneficiaries from the funds budgeted to the NDDC are majorly non-Niger Delta.

Some Niger Delta people are used in the process of the criminal looting of the NDDC. The PDP in the past and the APC (All Progressive Congress which was founded on 13 February 2013) at the present (political parties) operate the NDDC with no regard for the Niger Delta states on whose behalf it was set up.

In 2011 after President Goodluck Jonathan won the Presidential Election, the opposition to his government started in earnest, as Boko Haram kidnapped over 200 female students from an all-girls secondary school in Chibok a few weeks into the 2014 National Conference convened by President Goodluck Jonathan.

Leading up to the 2015 national election the APC in collaboration with external and internal forces started what l call ‘OPERATION INVADE NIGERIA’. The incumbent Political Party the PDP in 2015 focused on their personal, political and economic interests and succeeded in trading off the people’s political rights in the name of ‘One Nigeria’.

This was and is a weakness of politicians to confront the lies of one Nigeria. The weakness of PDP was clear when, while in government, the PDP by some of the decisions, policies and laws they made, opened the doors and windows for the opposition APC to easily and freely deceive their way into in 2015.

Since 2015, we, the people of Niger Delta, have demanded that the PDP and the political leaders of the Niger Delta mobilize the region, to rejig the politics of the region and assure the Niger Delta people of their capacity to be better than the APC government in power, sadly the PDP and majority of its politicians have failed Southern Nigeria, especially Niger Delta.

The Governor of Rivers State, Gov. Nyesom Wike it seems made up his mind to stand with, by and on the platform of PDP as his party of choice. Since 2013, some members of PDP have moved in and out of the party as and when they find it necessary for their personal, political and economic interests.

Either because of a promise of political appointment or the promise to be declared the winner of a political election.

The Niger Delta Self-Determination Movement (NDSDM) take this opportunity to call on Gov. Wike of Rivers state, for the survival of the people and region of the Niger Delta to urgently seek out the right politicians and consider the founding of another political party, as a platform for the South and Middle Belt regions of Nigeria.

The NDSDM strongly believe that the APC and the Fulani Cabal, which have held us, hostage, in our ancestral land while using our God-giving resources against us, have no intention of letting go of political power. The NDSDM came to this conclusion five years ago.

Niger Delta Self-Determination Movement (NDSDM) Flag

Still, we must be ready, politically, as we move into 2023. Let it never again be said of us that we were not ready politically and that we did not see 2023 coming.

Some of us did see and still do see the plans and strategies coming. Politicians in the Niger Delta region who refuse to work for the interest of the region and deceive themselves that they work for the interest of Nigeria should no longer present themselves to us, the electorates, as capable to serve us.

They fail to recognize that politics is a service to the people – not to themselves, their masters and their political parties. Nigeria, governed by the APC and the internal and external cabal in 2021, was the Nigeria our forefathers were dragged into in 1914 by Lugard, our forefathers resisted to the best of their abilities.

They journeyed to the United Kingdom to discuss and express their fears and concerns to the colonial British Government before the independence of Nigeria in 1960; at that time the Niger Delta was part of Eastern Nigeria. So we, the descendants must not accept what our forefathers rejected. We must not give our grandchildren less as an inheritance.

Our great-grandchildren must not be born in Babylon, forced to sing the song of freedom, roaming around the world while their ancestral land is occupied by strangers. We will not beg to be part of a Nigeria that treat us as second class human beings and citizens in our ancestral homeland.

Though some Niger Delta politicians and electorates are members of the APC political party, their voting numbers are not enough for APC to win governorship elections in the Niger Delta states. Governors that won elections as part of the PDP and crossed over to the APC, later on, are deceitful.

They won elections and were sworn into government by PDP electorates. Niger Delta Self Determination Movement (NDSDM) whose membership is drawn from the Ethnic Nationalities of the six (6) Niger Delta states also known as BRACED states, (BAYELSA, RIVERS, AKWA IBOM, CROSS RIVER, EDO and DELTA States), take this opportunity to state unambiguously that the political party known as the PDP should cease to take the overwhelming support of the Niger Delta people for granted.

This is because the choice of who to vote for, and which political party to support, is ours, despite the obvious riggings and manipulations that deny us our rights to make our political choice.

It is to our dismay and disappointment that the PDP political party has forgotten we can, and will decide to make political choices in our interests.

NDSDM calls on the people and electorates of the Niger Delta region to recognize and act on their rights, to call on politicians of the region to seriously consider the need to put their political energy and our regional funds into a political party for our interest.

Today, there is no ignoring the fact that in the past 22 years our funds as a region have funded the PDP party, and recently the APC political party; this is a reality we have to accept.

There are registered political parties from the three geo-political zones of Southern Nigeria; politicians and electorates of Southern Nigeria should consider merging these political parties for our political interests just as APC is a creation of merging of different political desires from across Nigeria whose only interest was to remove a Southern President from power, Niger Delta needs such a political party.

The 2015 election was lost because both political parties had one purpose give power back to the North otherwise there will be violence. The service of politics is to the people not to politicians and political parties. After PDP lost the 2015 election it failed to rise to its role and responsibilities as an opposition party.

Let PDP be reminded that no human being’s blood is worth the win of a political party. If there is a difference between political parties in Nigeria the difference between the APC and PDP is very blurred. Though APC from 2014 -2015 acted in opposition with lies, deceit, blackmail and violence, they have been consistent in their negative politics and agenda of oppression.

PDP is failing as a political party in opposition and we, the people, doubt if it can salvage itself or take back political power from the APC party, which is an oppressive and incompetent political party.

The peoples of Southern Nigeria deserve and should have, a political party that will lift out the Southern and the Middle Belt states from the verge of the political oblivion they are on the cusp of. We cannot depend on any political party to save us from a tyrannic agenda if we are not in control of that political party.

The PDP is in the hands of a few who think for themselves, not for democracy and justice. The PDP should make up its mind to serve and work with the people or once again be prepared to lose political power in 2023, that they will be the first victims of their weaknesses and failures.

The NDSDM has been under no illusion about the 2023 election, and the plan of the APC to stay in power in 2023 by insisting that presidential rotation between the North and South is no longer acceptable to them.

We, Southern Nigeria (South West, South East and Niger Delta) and the Middle-Belt wish to remind the PDP and APC that: 1. Southern Nigeria 1999 to 2007 – South-West President Chief Obasanjo. 8years 2. Northern Nigeria 2007 to 2010 – North-West Late President Musa Yaradua. 3years 3. Southern Nigeria 2010 to 2011 – South-South President Goodluck Jonathan. 1 year (as the Vice President he ended Yaradua’s tenure as provided by the 1999 Constitution.) 4.

Southern Nigeria 2011 to 2015 – South-South President Jonathan. 4years 5. Northern Nigeria 2015 to 2023 – North-West President Muhammadu Buhari 8years It is necessary to remind Nigerians the year of 2010 to 2011 is one year according to the constitution, not by Goodluck Jonathan, the PDP, the people of Southern Nigeria or Niger Delta, it is therefore unreasonable and unacceptable to count it to the Niger Delta or deny the South, especially the South East the zoning of the presidency in 2023.

In 2015 South-West politicians choose to support the North and work against the South South President for political power, Nigeria did not end, that incident should not be seen as a weakness rather as a choice to accept defeat and avoid bloodshed as the people of Niger Delta do not see politics as a blood bath.

This essay is about the truth of Nigeria’s past, present and future, the positions that the Niger Delta takes today will give birth to the truth of the future of the Middle Belt and Southern Nigeria. The truth of the South and Middle Belt of Nigeria will give rise to our united truth as the Fulani have made their choice and the rest of us are yet to make our choice.

“Let us all be strengthened by the knowledge that – it might be good to live together, however, it must be on the terms of Liberty, Equity and Justice… No matter the size of any one of the Ethnic Nationalities [large or small], we can survive on our own” – Annkio Briggs

It is important to inform the PDP and APC and all other political parties that the survival, development, environment, rights and future of Southern Nigeria and the Middle Belt are in the hands of the ethnic nationalities of the six regions of which the Fulani is only one.

Though the PDP, since 1999, has been the party of choice for the Niger Delta region, it is not cast in iron. We can, and will, change our minds when we choose. The PDP must get its affairs in order if it wants the votes of the Niger Delta region.

The Niger Delta people are aware that our survival, and everything about our future, is in our hands. No political party holds our future. The future of politics, democracy or free and fair elections is very bleak with PDP or APC in Nigeria.

The question we ought to deliberate is, which is more valuable to us in the South and Middle Belt – to restructure Nigeria and concentrate on our states and region, continue with the unjust status quo, call for a referendum, or demand for separation.?

A restructured Nigeria would be the best option if we all agree, while rejections to restructure Nigeria is in the interest of only one. Key and genuine politicians have to read the signs of the times. Nigeria was hoisted on the indigenous nationalities or Kingdoms in the geographical area we identify as Nigeria today was named by Lugard at the amalgamation in 1914.

Again, in the best economic interest of others (the British), to use the economic gains from the rich Southern Protectorate to sustain the poor Northern Protectorate. These are verifiable facts from colonial data.

The NDSDM call on all the Niger Delta governors, politicians, and electorates to remain resolute in our desire to work together with other regions of Southern Nigeria and the Middle Belt on our mandate for self-determination, respect and peaceful co-existence with our neighbours.

“The Niger Delta Ethnic Nationalities and Kingdoms are not minorities to any other Nationalities. We are not tools to be used against ourselves or our neighbours. The peoples of the Niger Delta are not a conquered people, we will continue to rule over our affairs, territories, and resources.” ~ Annkio Briggs

Annkio Briggs is a Rights Defender. She is known for her passion and fearless position for speaking truth to power and the people. She is the convener of the Niger Delta Self Determination Movement (NDSDM) and the President of Agape Birthrights Org. a Non-Governmental Organization for the past 22 years.

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