By Emma AMAIZE, Warri
A group of repentant ex-militants led by a former â€œgeneralâ€, John Togo, yesterday, said the leadership tussle that almost tore the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger-Delta (MEND) apart, last year, over the appointment of their Aaron Team has been laid to rest and that Henry Okah has now been recognized as generalÂ leader of ex-militant leadersÂ in the Niger-Delta.
John Togo who led a faction group of MEND until yesterday in the statement said all the formerly aggrieved ex-militant leaders and his men at alert who formed the factional group of MEND, which he acts as leader among other generals, had arrested the brewing leadership tussle within the rank and file ofÂ MEND.
â€œ Last year, 16th Nov,Â we swung against our general leader, Mr. Henry Okah and Jomo Gbomo over the unilateral nomination of the Aaron team, led by Professor Wole Soyinka to discuss on behalf of Niger Delta militants and the good people of Niger Delta.â€
â€œWe were given the wrong picture by enemies of Niger Delta of the Aaron team and Mr. Henry Okah.
So we out rightly rejected the Aaron team and also sacked Mr. Henry Okah and Jomo Gbomo, who is one of our respected generals.Â Farah Dagogoh was part of it,Â and the divide and rule syndrome was certainly set in by the powers that be who take joy in the suffering and poverty of the people of Niger Delta.
â€œThey were happy when the enemies saw us in paper war against ourselves. As a result of the internal rift among the generals of MEND over leadership position, friends of Niger Delta within and abroad and elders of the region have brokered peace among usâ€, he stated.
â€œWe have resolved to re_invite and endorse Mr. Henry Okah, Jomo Gbomo to take their former positions as general leader of all Niger Delta ex_militant leaders whose ingenuity, braveness and connection have catapulted the Niger Delta struggle to far and wide with so much international recognition with which the Nigerian government too respected and granted us amnestyâ€, Togo said.
According to the statement, â€œAs part of the leadership tussle settlement recently, the MEND house has unanimously resolved as follows: That Mr. Henry Okah remains the general leader of all ex_militant leaders in Niger Delta; and That the Aaron team, which we were misguided by enemies of Niger Delta to have rejected, has been also endorsed by us to deliberate on behalf of ex_militants and good people of Niger Delta for the benefit of all, with or without President Musa Yarâ€™Adua.
That it has come to our understanding that Mr. Henry Okahâ€™s Aaron team is a messiah to the plight of the people of Niger Delta and so we have to throw our weights behind itâ€.
Furthermore, the statement added, â€œAll the deities of Ijaw land and Niger Delta know that Mr. Henry Okah made all the generals by equipping them with modern warefare weapons, which we used in prosecuting the Niger Delta struggle.
That Mr. Henry Okah should find a place in his heart to forgive me over my criticisms and insults in public media. As a leader, these are some of the golden prizes of a selfless leader with which Jesus Christ too paid for. Jesus Christ was being persecuted and crucified but he became the cornerstone and being worshipped from ancient time till date. We want to say that we will not worship Mr. Henry Okah after death like the way Jesus was being worshippedâ€.
â€œIt is on record that the said Mr. Henry Okah is a dynamic, respectful and committed freedom fighter who has vowed to lay his life for the people of Niger Delta. We attacked his personality based on wrong information given to us by the powers that be and we acted ignorantly in order for them to succeed in perpetuating their evil dictation and persecution against the people of Niger Delta by creating divide and rule tactics to have their way unchallenged in Niger Delta.
â€œFrom this day of this publication, we withdraw all our earlier publications against the gentleman and committed freedom fighter. Therefore, we call on the international communities, federal republic of Nigeria and the multi_nationals to respect and honour the words of Mr. Henry Okah as our general leader with which we have vowed again to follow and carry out instructions for the good people of Niger Delta.
â€œFinally, we are still committed to the peace deal between federal government and Niger Delta ex_militants through granting of amnesty. We want to urge federal government to strive hard to maintain their own side of the peace pact for continued peace in Niger Deltaâ€, he added.