FEDERAL GOVERNMENT OF NIGERIA'S
INVASION OF ODI,
We as Nigerians, and particularly as Niger Deltans, have every reason to condemn the breakdown of law and order in the region. The NDM Press Release is a welcome reminder of the need to restructure Nigeria into a true federal state. I do not intend to repeat the inconsistencies of the Obasanjo regime in responding to regional and/or ethnic conflicts across Nigeria. The NDM Press Release has done that very well.
However, my concern and grave fear is the militaristic tone of President Obasanjo's letter to the elected Governor of Bayelsa State, Dieprete Alamieyeseigha. President Obasanjo should be reminded that he is not presiding over a military government of Nigeria. His tone may lay the foundation for the gradual disintegration of the federation. He has no powers to "instruct" any state governor as contained in his letter to Governor Alamieyeseigha. The sooner President Obasanjo realises the independence and coordinate role of the component units of a federation, the better it would be for the country. What his letter has done is to underline the imperatives of restructuring Nigerian federalism. Most of the current problems in the Niger Delta are caused by the reluctance of the federal government to address the issues in a meaningful way.
We must restore the independence of the states. The states must have exclusive jurisdiction over their respective natural resources, and other >vital elements of power. President Obasanjo should be reminded that the state governors are not his appointed agents or his subordinates. President
Obasanjo's letter is one reason why we must convene a national conference of all nationalities to discuss the future of Nigeria.
I commend the NDM for its Press Release.