His Excellency, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo
Head of State
Federal Government of Nigeria
Aso Rock, Abuja, Nigeria.
Re.: EDO APPEALS TO PRESIDENT OBASANJO ON BAYELSA/DELTA
Dear President Obasanjo:
We, members, of the Edo National Association/Edo Community in the Americas view the recent developments in Bayelsa State with grave concern. We are deeply saddened by reports of loss of lives and properties and community displacements in the area.
Irrespective of the antecedents, we appeal to the Bayelsa State Security Council in Yenagoa and the National Security Council in Abuja to use restraint in handling the rather complex situation. The imperatives of "Law and Order" should be balanced against social justice. We believe calibrated proportional response and a firm but discrete pro-active approach to short and long term security policy, including preventive diplomacy can go a long way toward restoring law and order in the area along with protection of lives and properties for all citizens. Good communication with the public is essential and the rules of engagement of all security personnel operating in the region should be clearly spelt out. While fighting crime, no efforts should be spared to avoid hurting innocent citizens including those engaged in legitimate protest.
In word and deed, Local, State and Federal officials should show greater sensitivity to the abject level of poverty and underdevelopment in the midst of plenty in the region. Part of what is required is a Nigerian version of the Marshall plan instituted in Europe after World War 2. (After the destruction of Europe during the second world war, the US pumped billions of dollars into the area to rebuild it. The plan was proposed by General George C. Marshall at Harvard University, June 5, 1947).
We appeal to political activists in the area to vigorously
police themselves and their communities to prevent armed miscreants from
muddying the waters of a very legitimate struggle for better quality of
life and political rights. The strategy and tactics necessary for the successful
execution of executive, legislative and judicial initiatives must be carefully
thought out. We must
pick our battles. There is no room for diversions.
We appeal to the communities concerned to identify strong and reliable local leadership and stand united to implement a program of disarmament and pacification. We must negotiate an environment of peace and stability so that long overdue development activities and investment can take place in the area. Much groundwork needs to be done and alliances forged across the region so that we not render ourselves liable to "defeat in detail" as occurred in the late nineteenth century.
It was just some six months ago that we celebrated yet another military transfer of power to elected civilians. This should really be the best of times for us to start rebuilding our nation. Nigeria has so much to offer its citizens.
Our hearts go out to those who have lost loved ones and properties. We appeal to the Edo State Government and charitable organizations to assist refugees from our sister state of Bayelsa in any way possible. In the United States, Edo community is ready to assist legitimate groups and representatives of the area with any peace initiative and charitable activities.
Yours in a United Nigeria,
Frank E. Guobadia
Frank Guobadia, Secretary-General
Edo National Association/Edo Community in the Americas