Rather than threaten the Governor, President Obasanjo should sit down and dialogue with all the governors in the Niger-Delta, and in fact all governors and peoples of the country, with the aim of ensuring greater local control of their resources. This was recently well-articulated by the British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Sir Graham Burton (see attached Appendix II.) The convenance of a Sovereign National Conference would be a positive step in this direction.
Within the fourteen days ultimatum, it is most unlikely that the
Governor of Bayelsa would be able to control the serious situation
in his state; if he could, he (and his predecessors) would have done
so all of this time. After fourteen days, President Obasanjo's declaration
of a state of emergency would simply excercerbate matters and there will
be a temptation to resort to similar declaration of states of emergency
to solve such problems if it succeeds temporarily. If the president
does not impose a state of emergency after fourteen days of failure
to control the
situation in Bayelsa, it would amount to an empty threat.
The presidential threat was a mistake, and it should therefore be called off.
On the other hand, we urge the Youths and other indigenes of the Niger-Delta to go about expressing their genuine concerns with the greatest amount of responsibility, eschewing violence always.
Proceed to British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Sir Graham Burton