Your Excellency sir, permit me to salute you once more as you continue in the most audacious task of steering the ship of the Nigerian state at this turbulent and volatile times, owing to global economic forces as well as the lingering insecurity crises. Indeed the times has demanded, that your skills be brought to action in tackling the various ills bedevilling our nation, whilst managing our fragile coexistence as a people and pursuing a rigorous viable solution for peaceful coexistence amongst the Nigerian people in a bid to strengthen national unity and productivity. Surely, it is our sincere hopes that these phases of challenges would be surmounted as we join you in championing the very cause for which our Change Agenda was ushered in by the Nigerian people in the hope for a better and stable Nigeria. We as Change Agents are however challenged by your leadership qualities, and are more determined than ever in ensuring that this government delivers on its promises to the Nigerian people, whilst championing a new united Nigeria devoid of corruption, ethnic discrimination and social injustice.

Moreover Mr President, it will be in our best interest that you leave a lasting legacy embedded by your blueprint in the sands of time, for references by future generations yet unborn, who will remember your sacrifices to the Nigerian people at this austere and challenging times and forever sing your praise in building a nation where peace and justice reigns.

In the light of the above however, I am constrained to bring to your attention the recent activities rocking the Niger Delta region which has gradually seen a return to militant activities as well as a return to dwindling economic earnings, with insecurity resurfacing in the region at this time of global fall in oil prices. The effects of this resurfaced agitation in the region calls for great concern from all well meaning sons and stakeholders from the region, as it will serve no interest in the long run to the people of the region. These latest acts of sabotage from the aggrieved agitators must not be treated with levity in a bid to finding a lasting solution but must also be treated with caution on the part of government as it is a time tested axiom that “fire cannot quench fire.” It is therefore advisable that a more holistic approach be evolved to broaden the horizon into coming up with a sustainable framework to deal with this menace once and for all. This ugly trend as it is known has been the bane to sustainable national development over the years and hence the setting up of the Presidential Amnesty Program which only provided succour for the moment rather than addressing the root cause of the problems in the first instance.

The economic loss incurred by the Nigerian state to these latest acts of sabotage by the agitators cannot be overemphasized given the sharp drop in power output as well as a shortfall in production from the Multinationals (Shell, Chevron, EXXON Mobil) with a combined loss of over 500,000bpd in revenue. These latest attacks which has kept all in awe, has forced these multinationals in declaring Force Majeure on their various major production facilities, with Exxon Mobil being the latest which has further heightened the need for a renewed proactive measure in nipping this menace in the bud. The Niger Delta region has been plagued with this acts of agitations over the last two (2) decades with its citizens suffering from the actions and inactions of both the agitators and the Federal Government. The Kaiama Declaration and the effects of the Odi and Gbaramatu invasion by the Nigerian military are still fresh in the memories of the people and thus a repeat of these atrocities on the people will not arguer well for this administration as we would not want a repeat of these acts which accompany some form of genocide.  It is on record that these acts are mere acts of economic sabotage in forcing government to look the way of the region once more, whist daring its consequences on the people. This calculated attempt in overheating the polity once again is certainly not in the best interest of any true son and daughter from the region, as our own son of the soil who barely left power a year ago recorded minimal altercations with agitators even when the former never carried out any formal process in developing the region nor attending to the root cause of the problem.

We must therefore, be wary in dealing with these renewed escalations, as I believe that the issues at stake are not strange for dialogue and other forms of resolutions which will aid in resolving this present cankerworm threatening to consume us all, so long as we agree to come together. Mr President Sir, I would further wish to reiterate that as one of those who participated actively in the negotiations leading to the final acceptance for the setting up of a Presidential Amnesty program under the (late) President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, I am very much abreast with these issues presenting itself before us once again. It is a pity that no present  Government cabinet member from the Niger Delta region is able to broker a truce, as most of them are clearly not in tune with the people and as such lacks the capacity to intermediate between government and its people. If these leaders are in tune with the people in the region, then there obviously wouldn’t be a need for a fresh agitation under any guise even though the present administration is clearly exonerated from the sufferings and yearning of the people over the decades as it only came to power less than a year ago. The inability of the previous government (who ought to know better) in tackling the militancy and developmental issues in the Niger Delta can be said to be regrettably responsible for this renewed resurfacing of agitation, when even the East/ West road and other coastal roads as promised by the Yar’Adua administration couldn’t be completed by the outgoing administration.

Furthermore Mr. President, it is pertinent to note that the current situation in the Niger Delta is beyond the APC or the PDP, as these issues will outlive them both if not nipped in the bud in a timely manner. It is on record that President Yar’Adua of blessed memory being a Katsina man was genuinely concerned about the plight of the Niger Deltans and thus did all within his powers to find a lasting solution. It may therefore be providence that another son of Katsina State, currently at the helms of affairs in the nation may be the wish of the Almighty that he continue with the lofty legacies of his kinsman and brother in furthering the Nigerian project. It will be an error to leave the current issues facing the region to cabinet members from the region alone, but to rather constitute a broad consultation of relevant stakeholders irrespective of party affiliations in a bid to finding lasting solutions to our problem. It is on record that the Niger Delta region has shared cordial relationship with our brothers from the north from time immemorial, and thus it will be foolhardy for anyone to insinuate that the agitation is a ploy to destabilise a northern presidential mandate. For the avoidance of doubt, the past president from the region had a smooth sway as President save for the Boko Haram insurgency , and as such there would be no reason to start any agitation for selfish gains, but to humbly wait for the developmental plans from the new administration.

I would therefore seize this opportunity to appeal with my kinsmen from the Niger Delta to give peace a chance and hold us responsible should the government fail in its responsibility to deliver on its campaign promises. I would also seek your indulgence Mr. President; to direct all Niger Delta ministers to fall back home immediately and relay the grievances of their people serving as a pivotal link between government and its people. Considering the fact that we are in dire straits at this time of national rebirth, we are conscious of the ripple effects from the mishandling of this new security threat and economic sabotage. We acknowledge the fact that mistakes have been done preceding this latest scourge, but I urge you nonetheless to give a window for dialogue and discussions to enable us agree on an agenda for an immediate resolution of this crises before the expiration of the olive branch extended to the agitators. I make bold to say that we know those from the Niger Delta region who can mediate and come up with a permanent blueprint to halt any and all further agitations.

I am optimistic, Mr. President Sir, that you would seek a total holistic approach on the subject matter even as you’re assured of our full cooperation as agents of Change.

Long live the People of the Niger Delta!

Long live Mr President!!

Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!

Comrade Timi Frank


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