The Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), has called on popular Islamic cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Abubakar Gumi, to stop his attacks on the people of Southern Nigeria.
It described as irresponsible, absurd, and subversive, Gumi’s recent comments on the person and office of the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) and immediate past Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Ezenwo Wike.
PANDEF, in a statement made available to LEADERSHIP in Port Harcourt yesterday by it’s national publicity secretary, Dr. Ken Robinson, said any Nigerian can be the FCT minister.
The statement reads in part: “It is most unfortunate that at a time when every well-meaning Nigerian should be concerned about the stability, peace, and unity of the country, the likes of Sheikh Gumi are further stoking the ambers of discord, certainly, intended to exacerbate tension in the country. It’s utterly despicable that a so-called Cleric would fashion himself into a shameless promoter of parochialism and acrimony.
“We consider the call for the removal of Chief Nyesom Wike as Minister of FCT, and indeed, any other Niger Deltan, based on wild predispositions, as an indirect poke at the people of the Niger Delta region, and the South-South geopolitical zone, in particular, to catechize our stake in the Nigerian State.
“Perhaps, it is necessary to underscore some unadorned facts Sheikh Gumi is pretending to overlook; Abuja is the Federal Capital Territory of Nigeria and not a sectional capital; more so, it (FCT) was developed and continues to be developed with, mainly, the oil and gas resources of the Niger Delta region, where Nyesom Wike comes from.
“It is commonly known that crude oil was swapped instead of payment to contractors in building the infrastructure in Abuja, including the Aso Rock Villa. At that time, no one talked of Abuja belonging to any particular ethnic group.
“In fact, from the administration of Shehu Shagari up until the General Babangida regime, the federal government encouraged all citizens, no matter where they come from, to acquire and develop property in the Federal Capital Territory, because Abuja belongs to all Nigerians.
“We recall that our youths came to Abuja in l988 for a so-called “2 Million Man March” in support of the self-succession bid of General Sani Abacha, and saw how resources from their land were being used in building bridges, roads, and amazing structures, whereas their communities, meshed in an environment ravished and degraded by oil and gas exploration activities, are deprived of such “wonders”.
“The contradictions the youths saw, provoked renewed agitations in the Niger Delta leading to the “Kaiama Declaration” for Resource Control and Justice, in December 1988, and the subsequent crisis in the region.
“Suffice it to state that any Nigerian; from the North, South, East, or West, could and should, be appointed to serve as Minister of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).”