PORT HARCOURTâ€” IJAW youths, weekend, vowed to resist with the last drop of their blood further exploration and exploitation of oil in the Niger Delta, if Vice PresidentÂ Goodluck Jonathan if not allowed to function as acting president because he is an Ijaw man from the South-South geo-political zone.
Vanguard learnt that the far-reaching decision was taken at a meeting of selected Ijaw youth leaders in Port-Harcourt. Tempers flared at the gathering, which ended in the early hours of Monday, as some of the ex-militant commanders saidÂ that they should immediately startÂ bombingÂ oil installations to cripple the economy,Â but were urged to exercise restraintÂ by their colleagues at the meeting.
The youth leaders also resolved that they would not condone any harm coming to or being meted to Dr. Jonathan or anybodyÂ around him, over the issue of acting president.
A prominent Ijaw youth leader, who attended the meeting, Kingsley Kuku, told Vanguard: â€œThe selected youth leaders were particularÂ about not allowing anybody to exploit oil from our region anymore if somebody from the region, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, cannot be allowed to function as acting president.â€
According to him, â€œit was agreed that if anybody, no matter how highly placed, feels that a Niger-Delta man, nor an Ijaw man, cannot act as president of Nigeria, then, nobody is fit to tap our resources.â€
â€œWe have been praying for the recovery of President Yarâ€™Adua for the past 63 days, both the Ijaw National Congress (INC) and the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) and on many occasions, we had to leave the agenda of our meetings to concentrate on prayers for Yarâ€™Adua because the Ijaw man believes that his amnesty and post-amnesty programmes were good and it was just when he was about to start executing them that he fell illâ€, he said.
Hon Kuku said the youth leaders, however, noted the latest court order to the Executive Council of the Federation to find out within 14 days if President Yarâ€™Adua was still capable of performing his duties as President, saying, â€œI want to emphasise, the Ijaw man wishes Mr. President well and wants him to return to his office but in the event of his not being able to continue, nobody should stop Jonathan, that is where they will provoke Ijaw man againâ€.
He said Dr. Jonathan was not a threat to any ethnic group and the Ijaws could vouch for him, adding, â€œThe fear about him acting as president is a creation of certain people, we allay that fear and tell the nation that we see him as a fit and proper person to run the country in the absence of his boss, President Yarâ€™Aduaâ€.
It was also gathered that insinuations about alleged coup by the military was discussed at the meeting and it was agreed that the issue in question was a constitutional matter and should be left to be resolved constitutionally.
According to Hon Kuku, â€œThe youth leaders opposed the idea of coup and are prepared to tackle any military intervention as a result of this matterâ€.
The meeting, he disclosed, noted the actions of the Save Nigeria group, led by Nobel Laureate, Prof Wole Soyinka, Pastor Tunde Bakare and others, eminent Northerners like former civilian governor, Alhaji Balarebe Musa, Col Abubakar Dangiwa Umar (rtd) and others for standing by the truth and insisting on justice and respect of the constitution.
He noted that the present development was affecting the post-amnesty programme and confirmed that ex-militants at the meeting almost hijacked the meeting, wanting to return to the trenches, but, they were told to give peace a chance, as other Nigerians were not folding their hands on the matter.