By Gabriel Enogholase
BENINâ€”FIRST executive governor of Edo State, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, has taken a swipe at President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua over his silence on the decisions of his administration to downgrade the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI), Effurun, from its present status as well as the obnoxious Petroleum Industry Bill which relegates oil producing communities in the Niger Delta to the background.
He also said that there was no need for the South-South governors to threaten to pull out of the amnesty programme for militants, saying the amnesty was already in danger and serious jeopardy unless the Federal Government did something quickly to rekindle hope that they meant business in solving the problems of the region.
According to Chief Oyegun who spoke with Vanguard in an interview in Benin yesterday, â€œthere was no need for the governors to threaten to pull out of the amnesty. The amnesty is in danger; it is in jeopardy unless the Federal Government does something quickly.
â€œIn any case, after the Ministerâ€™s interview, we have not heard the president said anything; we have not heard him condemn the kind of verbiage that the Minister (Lukman) used”.
We have not heard of any denial of some of the actions they have been accused of.
â€œSo the threat to quit the amnesty is not necessary because it is dying unless something is done to save the situationâ€.
Oyegun said the actions of the South- South governors has so far demonstrated that they have been able to pitch tent with the people who they governed, adding that â€œwhat is important in what they have done is that for the first time, their positions are no longer ambiguous.
â€œWe now know where they stand, at least for now.Â Â We donâ€™t know what will happen tomorrow, for now they have decided to pitch their tent on the side of the people who they governedâ€.
â€œOf course, this has been forced on them by the sheerÂ arrogance and the stupidity, silliness of what happened over the Petroleum Training Institute, Effurun,Â which has beenÂ agreed to be a university and the purported transfer now of the institute to Kaduna.
â€œThe sheer arrogance of that, the sheer stupidity of that was even enough to annoy a blind person. So, they have risen to the occasion and we are glad.Â And at least the people now know that their governors are with them; we now know that they are now finally ready to come out into the open and be counted in the struggle for the emancipation of the Niger Deltaâ€.
Advising the governors not to allow their resolve to be a passing thing or an instrument meant for blackmail, if tomorrow the PTI issue is reversed, Oyegun said that their resolution must be a lasting phenomenon as the issues at stake were not mucking berry.
â€œI am pleased that they have now finally shown that amnesty is not the cure; amnesty is a building block. The cure is really the basic demands of the people of the Niger Delta for some degrees of autonomy and for some degrees of control over their own affairs, over control of their resources, not to the total exclusion of other parts of the country; some acceptable degree of control and participation and the ability to do things for themselvesâ€.