BY TONY BASSEY
Peterkings Ataha, is the Secretary, Board of Trustees, Union of Nigeria Delta Youth Council, UNDYC, South-South representative, Directorate of Religions and Traditional Affairs (Christian) of Goodluck Support Group (GSG). In this interview with Vanguard, he bares his mind on burning national issues and the activities of the group.
What is UNDYC?
The acronym stands for Union of Nigeria Delta Youth Council, the parent body is the Union of Niger Delta, the union has existed for 15 years, the ideological underpinning is to champion the course of Niger Delta region and fight for the rights of the youths of the region.
On comments that the Union is dead
There is a new horizon on the Niger Delta region nobody can castrate the struggle of UNDYC and the struggle the Union symbolizes is still alive. The Northern youths should align with citizens who adhere to non-violent discipline instead of conspiracy with rulers, who rely on the use of force of arms to govern.
What about the multinationals and NDDC?
The multinationals have failed to implement Federal Governments local content Acts, Employment opportunities at the very senior level are denied to hundreds of Niger Delta people through a systemic exclusion and deliberate neglect of developmental responsibilities in the region.
They are using a policy of divide and rule to manipulate the election and selection of preferred candidates, which deny host communities basic infrastructural development. Major contracts and projects are ceded to non-indigenes against the local content Act.
The NDDC has to address the marginalization of certain communities, local government areas and states. The purpose for which NDDC was established has been defeated. There seem to be no clear cut policy for the development of the region.
I call on the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the National Assembly to prevail on NDDC to liaise with genuine advocacy groups to ascertain necessary measures to promote physical and socio-economic development of the region pursuant to the NDDC Act
On assessment of President Jonathan’s administration
The Goodluck Jonathan administration has gained significant confidence of Nigerians in the power sector, he had promised Nigerians that and today the record of performance in the power sector is indicative of the justification and accuracy of this Presidential prophesy.
The railway is another plus as well as the Niger Delta Bridge and a lot more. Let’s forget about sensational utterances orchestrated by the elite, who try to tie the nation’s political life to their life span. The fortunes of the ordinary people in the North or South may not improve because the elite from these zones capture power.
On National Conference
The national conference should not be like the proverbial market in the sky that welcomes only bird traders. It should reflect the true meaning of National Conference. It should be transparent, open, all inclusive and really participatory. As we speak, the union of Niger Delta Youth Council will take position. As those directly affected by the pressure, we must be involved.