February 5, 2023

Why dialogue is best solution to ethnic agitations — Ned Nwoko

The Delta North People’s Democratic Party (PDP) senatorial candidate, Prince Ned Nwoko, during an interview session with journalists, on Friday, 3 February 2023, at Mount Ned, Idumuje-Ugboko, stated why dialogue is the best solution to ethnic agitations. Noting that the activities of the various agitation groups in Nigeria have consequently led to the destruction of lives and properties, both in urban and rural areas, leaving noticeable effects on the country’s economy. 

Using a real-life example to explain his option of dialogue as the best solution, the United Kingdom-trained lawyer cited the Northern Ireland conflict, with a focus on the Irish Republican Army (IRA). He pointed out that, after decades of violence and revenge killings between the British government and the Irish paramilitary republican group, it was through dialogue that a framework for political power-sharing was created, which ostensibly ended decades of violence.

Stating his reasons, Nwoko said, “The best way to resolve ethnic agitations is through dialogue. These agitators are part of us, mostly seeking inclusiveness, referendum, and responsive governance. The use of violence by the government to subdue them will only lead to revenge killings, collateral damages, waste, and a decline in the country’s economy. 

“War is expensive. the federal government spends nothing less than 15 billion dollars, yearly, in buying arms and other war equipment. It doesn’t make sense that we spend such an amount of money to kill our own people. When such an amount can be used to empower the youths. 

“I am looking forward to championing a bill that, for a start will pull about a million Nigerian youths, annually, out of abject poverty, by giving each qualified youth a grant of N50 million to support his or her already existing business. 15 billion dollars is more than enough to finance this lucrative plan.

“I believe that the various agitation groups will stop when the government starts bringing them to the table and engaging them in discussions. Be it IPOB, ESN, Boko Haram. What they want is an inclusive and progressive society. 

“Through dialogue, a means to include the representatives of these various agitation groups in the National Assembly will be reached. They would be given elective positions in the National Assembly, and through subsequent negotiations, peace will be achieved. 

“When there is peace, there would be development. The money used to fight the agitation groups will be channeled into doing something productive, like providing grants for the youths and loans with very minimal interest for the people.” The Delta North senatorial candidate explained.