By Chioma Gabriel, Deputy Editor
FORMER President of Ijaw National Congress, INC, and retired State Security Services, SSS, personnel, Chief Joshua Fumudoh in this encounter, opines that the continued threat by MEND should be treated more seriously than it was done and makes case for the intervention of Bayelsan Elders between President Jonathan and his brother Henry Okah.
More threats are coming from MEND on bombing Abuja and Nigerians are warned against Jonathan’s campaigns. What could be done to prevent that?
I don’t think that MEND’s threat should be taken serious to the point that people should stay away from the campaigns of Jonathan. This is just about two brothers quarreling and its not something to upgrade to the level of war-fare, the way that they want to do it.
It is not the first time that MEND has issued its threat and anytime it does, it makes good its word.
They succeeded in the past because the security agencies didn’t do their work. There was a five-days notice and if the security agents had done their work, it wouldn’t have happened.
They would have cordoned off the area and ensured that no cars were parked around that area.
They should have directed people to the stadium or somewhere far off to go and park their vehicles. But in our usual lackadaisical attitude of doing things, they left things undone and the result was the bomb blast at Abuja as we saw.
Don’t you think the matter is going beyond the uncontrollable when gatherings in public places have become issues due to the threats.
The security agents should sit up and do their jobs and ensure that security is tightened in public gatherings especially in Abuja. Whenever Jonathan is campaigning in Abuja or anywhere, security should be tightened and cars should be parked one kilometre away.
The areas he is visiting should be cordoned off. That is the type of things to be done but beyond that, the matter should be resolved.
We have to talk with the guy Henry Okah. Really, I don’t think he has anything against Nigeria. I think that perhaps, he has a personal problem with the President. He may have a personal grudge against the president but he hasn’t a grudge against Nigeria.
It is between him and President Jonathan. And I know that they must have regretted the people that died in the last bomb blast because it is not possible for anybody to be killing innocent Nigerians and then, endear himself to the people. Those people that died in the blast died needless deaths.
Their deaths could have been avoided. So, something has to be done. Peace has to be brokered between Henry Okah and the President. Some elders must go in and mediate between the two of them because there is obviously some unfinished business between them and you know, we cannot know everything.
From the way things are going, there must be something that a lot of us don’t know about and that is why I suggested that somebody must broker peace.
But we are talking about Nigeria’s President here. The country should be able to defend its own and compared to the President of the country, Henry Okah is a ‘small’ fly.
I agree with you that he is a ‘small’ person compared to the President but the media and other groups have brought him to the lime-light. You made him a big man and you call him a small person? If he is a small person, why are people afraid of his alleged threats? Why is everybody running helter-skelter?
You are afraid to go to campaigns .You called me now. Everybody wanted a way out. People have died in the past and you think it’s a small man.
Are you now saying that the country’s President should be joining issues with him? President Jonathan doesn’t think it is Henry Okah or MEND. He thinks it’s the hand of Esau and the voice of Jacob, that is, the doing of his political enemies.
You called it the hand of Esau and the voice of Jacob and that could be it. You know at a situation like this, enemies could cash in on it and use it against him by instigating all these things against the President, using the people that know him very well, his own people. It is quite clear. And that is why I am saying that we should find a way and broker peace.
Henry Okah must understand that President Jonathan that he is fighting is his own brother. If by circumstances beyond anybody’s control, we have a Niger-Deltan at Aso Rock, it is not right that it is a Niger-Delta person that will be fighting him. Henry Okah is a Bayelsan and so is Jonathan.
They are brothers. It is also a moral issue. It is not a good thing that a Niger-Deltan, a Bayelsan for that matter is being used to pull the President down. It is not a good thing and that is why I am saying that there must be some form of intermediation. It does not matter that one is the president and the other is not.
That is not the time for that. The person you might think is small is making things happen, is making life unbearable, has caused people to die and therefore should not be disregarded.
So, it is for the elders of Bayelsa to intervene in this siblings’ rivalry?
That is my suggestion. It may not be an official thing. But I think the elders of Bayelsa on their own should try and do something about it. I’m not talking about government or anything official coming from any quaters but I think the time has come for the elders of Bayelsa and the Niger-Delta in general to intervene in a non-official way in this matter so that these attacks will stop. So, the elders must talk.
Even Okah has brothers back there in Bayelsa. He has elders who could talk to him to stop what he is doing because it is contrary to what MEND set out to do which they have achieved.
We have a Bayelsan as the President and he needs Okah to support him, not to be used against him. So, I am saying that Ijaw elders and people who are very close to Henry Okah should talk to him.
Besides what the elders could do to broker peace, what advice do you have for security agencies on how to tackle these threats?
You know, as an outsider in government, I won’t have access to all the information. But the security people should act on the information they have and be sure that these threats don’t become realities but should end up as mere threats.
Threats in the past were not treated the way they ought to be treated and this time around, they ought to be very vigilant and live up to expectation. So, we expect there should be better treatment of the information they received.
And Nigerians too should not be scared. There was the incidence of 9/11 in New York and 3,000 people died the same day. Nothing happened. Life goes on. This is not the time to be afraid. Life has to continue. Nigerians must live their lives to the fullest and live it normal.
We should not concentrate everything on the threats going on. It is not a good thing but then, it is not something that should engage the life of every Nigerian. It is the government that should worry about this and see what they should do to ensure these people don’t make good their threats. Life must continue.
And again, the media in their reports should not hype things . Rather, they should be mediatory in their statements and encourage people to move about normally. But we should be more conscious as we go about our daily activities. We should take notice of things happening around us. Nigerians must act normal because life cannot stop because of these MEND threats.