By Egufe Yafugborhi
PORT HARCOURT – NIGER Delta ex-militant’s leaders have declared to back President Muhammadu Buhari to retain power in Saturday’s election in conflict with the Pan Niger Delta Forum, PANDEF, who had pledged the region’s support for Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
The Ex-Agitators, under the Peace Ambassadors of Nigeria (PAND) at a workshop Wednesday in Port Harcourt, Rivers state, however said the resolve to go with Buhari “is not a sweeping endorsement of All Progressives Congress, APC, in the various elections coming up in 2019.”
The PAND position, presented by its convener, Ebikabowei Victor Ben, popular in his militancy days as Boyloaf, noted that, “Our interest is presently being served by the present administration which has shown more resolve to engage critical issues of the Niger Delta beyond surface dressing of the past.
“From a tense beginning with the Buhari administration following defeat of Goodluck Jonathan in 2015, we have formed a new partnership of deep seated committed to advance the Niger Delta with special credit to Vice President Yemi Osibanjo for painstaking engagements assuring of plans for the region.”
The ex-agitators cited the sustenance and enlargement of scope and funding of the Amnesty Programme, pact to demobilise and replace illegal refineries with modular models, Ogoni cleanup and resolve to complete key road infrastructures in the region among other commitments that have informed the support for Buahri.
The PAND workshop also sensitised the Ex-Agitators on peaceful conduct during the elections with a lecture focused “Towards A Violent Free Elections In The Niger Delta” delivered by strategic communication expert, Elthanor We Marlberg.