by Alexander O. Onukwue
In about four week’s time, the Coalition of Niger Delta Agitators will begin to prevent Nigeria from using the nation’s oil facilities.
Contained in their statement on August 10, the group of Niger Delta groups said they will, from September 10, “commence operation zero oil in the Niger Delta from September 10, 2017 as a preparation for the actualization of Niger Delta Republic.”
Though the announcement was predicated on their grievance with the PANDEF’s meeting with the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, it is also a response to the still repeated threats to Igbos from some groups in the Northern part of the country. Using the same deadline employed in the Kaduna Declaration, the CNDA says that Hausas and Yorubas must leave the Niger Delta and relinquish all of their oil wells to indigenes of the region on or before October 1, 2017.
Much less popular is the relative unknown whose brief video on social media was supposed to be on behalf of the agitators of an Oduduwa Republic. Boasting that he will outdo ‘failures’ like Nelson Mandela and Martin Luther King Jnr, the young man in the video stated that his group will attack in a way that will be brief and brutish.
All of this happens with tensions that are also in existence in the South East where thousands of persons attend every public gathering of IPOB’s controversial leader, Nnamdi Kanu. His group threatens to disrupt the Anambra elections in November, possibly as a pilot scheme to test their plans to disrupt the 2019 general elections in less than twenty months time.
Not to forget the North East where there are still many Shekaus, and unfortunately, continuous bombings and killings of innocent residents.
Nigeria has probably never been as overwhelmed with tensions and threats to its stability all around the country within its democratic dispensation as it is currently undergoing at the moment. At present, Acting President Yemi Osinbajo has received some praise for his efforts in reaching out directly to some of the members of these groups. But criticisms also abound that he has been doing more of talks and sermons without decisive action.
Fans of football will relate to how quickly things escalated over the weekend in the games played, particularly those involving the Champions of England and Spain. The referees in those games came under increased scrutiny for their decisions, and this is only the beginning of the season.
The Buhari-Osinbajo administration still has two years; what steps will it take to ensure it remains strong and in control?