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Donu Kogbara: Niger Deltans for Jonathan and Amaechi

by Donu Kogbara

amaechi-jonathan1

We feel that Jonathan and Amaechi should forget about destructive distractions, let bygones be bygones, relate to each other like brothers and ferociously concentrate – alongside other South-South VIPs – on transforming our geopolitical zone into a harmonious, thriving socio-economic success story.

SOME folks are warped. They love trouble, find a way of benefitting from it and encourage antagonists to keep fighting, even when the fight doesn’t make sense.

But normal people prefer peace to war; and recent months have been immensely traumatic for me and most of the fellow Niger Deltans to whom I have spoken.

We are extremely sad about the toxic tensions that have driven President Goodluck Jonathan and Governor Rotimi Amaechi into different camps and triggered off several embarrassing (and avoidable) headline-hogging dramas.

We feel that Jonathan and Amaechi should forget about destructive distractions, let bygones be bygones, relate to each other like brothers and ferociously concentrate – alongside other South-South VIPs – on transforming our geopolitical zone into a harmonious, thriving socio-economic success story.

And, given that Mr President is not just a regional leader, he has the additional responsibility of making Nigeria as a whole a much better place to live in.

All this “Old PDP versus New PDP” stuff leaves me cold; and I was mightily relieved when it was announced that reconciliation talks had commenced.

But ego and trust issues often rear their ugly heads whenever politicians are communicating with each other; and there is, on reflection, no guarantee that the talks will go anywhere significant or produce a lasting rapprochement.

Some friends and I are seriously considering the possibility of setting up a non-partisan NGO called “Niger Deltans For Jonathan And Amaechi”…because we want to remind the stars of the show to recognise the fact that their core constituents will be thrilled if they settle their differences, once and for all.

What do Vanguard readers think about this idea?

Hands off  Liberty fm!

Liberty FM is an increasingly popular Kaduna-based radio station. It has gone to court because it regards itself as a victim of political witch-hunting.

Why?

Because, even though Liberty FM has only existed for a year or so – and has fulfilled all of its fiscal obligations to date – Kaduna State’s Internal Revenue Board has decided to subject it to a hostile forensic tax audit.

According to Liberty Boss, Alhaji Tijani Ramalan (an ex-Chairman of NIMASA): “The problem started when we invited Nasir El Rufai, a Kaduna State indigene, high-profile member of the APC Opposition Party and former Minister to talk about local and national issues on our GUEST OF THE WEEK programme.”

The famously outspoken El Rufai, predictably, did not mince words and roundly condemned the PDP-run state and Federal Government authorities.

Liberty invited the PDP to respond to these criticisms; and Presidential aide, Dr Doyin Okupe, was invited to counter El Rufai’s comments and did an OK job.

Mallam Nasiru Zaharadeen, Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, was also given an opportunity to robustly defend the ruling Party on BAKO MU NA MAKO, a Hausa language version of the GUEST OF THE WEEK show.

So far , so democratic.

But the Kaduna State Governor, Alhaji Yero, was not happy. And his Commissioner of Information and Director General (Media) both rejected Liberty FM offers to contribute their opinions to this developing debate.

Ramalan used to be a PDP stalwart but resigned from the PDP in 2012 because he felt that his new role – as the owner of an independent radio station whose slogan is Voice for all – compelled him to adopt a politically neutral stance.

“Liberty FM has tried its best to be fair to everyone,” says Ramalan. “And many pro-Jonathan officials from the North have been offered airtime; but very few have accepted our offers; and some have told me in confidence that they are reluctant because Jonathan is now so unpopular in the North, thanks to the widespread suspicion that he will break his promise to only serve one term…

“…They are afraid that they will expose themselves to dangers like having their houses burned down by mobs if they speak on Jonathan’s behalf in public…

Ramalan’s personal view is that Liberty FM should not take sides and should just objectively record differing opinions about every burning issue.

Ramalan concluded our chat by saying that he is not hostile to Mr President or the PDP, but doesn’t regard Mr President or the PDP as perfect and believes in freedom of speech…and is angry about the harassment to which Liberty FM has been subjected for allowing anti-Establishment views to be heard, not least because the Constitution gives all Nigerians the right to speak their minds.

Let us hope that The Powers That Be quit carrying on like cheap bullies and keep their dodgy hands off Liberty FM and other unsychophantic media outlets!

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Read this article in the Vanguard Newspapers
Op-ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija.

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