Niger Delta Crisis: President Buhari and Jonathan in a crucial meeting

President Muhammadu Buhari and his predecessor, Dr Good­luck Jonathan met yesterday at the Presiden­tial Villa, Abuja.

The two leaders examined the issues at stake and sought ways to ensure lasting peace in the volatile oil-laden Niger Delta region where some mil­itants were threatening to de­clare a separate republic.
Jonathan, who spoke on his mission to the State House with journalists, disclosed that he has been in touch with Ni­ger Delta leaders on ways of re­solving the crisis in the region to ensure that Nigeria remains a united country.
After he emerged from the closed-door meeting with the President, Jonathan stressed his strong belief in the uni­ty of the country, cautioning against its disintegration.
Jonathan, who hand­ed over power to Buhari on May 29, 2015, said: “Nige­ria’s greatness is in its size, resources and diversity, and it will become insignificant in world politics if it disinte­grates.”
Some militants under the aegis of Adaka Boro Avengers (ADA) had slated last Mon­day for the declaration of the Niger Delta Republic. It lat­er shelved the plan, linking its action to the intervention of Jonathan and other prom­inent Nigerians in the Niger Delta.
Asked what his role was in resolving the Niger Delta vi­olence that has curtailed Ni­geria’s oil export earnings and the economy, Jonathan said he was liaising with tradition­al rulers and opinion leaders, especially from his Ijaw tribe, to ensure the return of peace in the region.
His words: “It is not just about me but about all the traditional rulers, elders and opinion leaders that are of the Ijaw ethnic nationality; we have been in touch to see that peace reigns in the country.
“Those of you that have followed my talks when I was here (as President), know that my emphasis is that we need a united Nigeria. I always em­phasise that Nigeria is great, not just about the oil. So many countries produce more oil than Nigeria and nobody no­tices them.
“We are great because of our size, the human resourc­es we have and the diversi­ty we have. If we fragmentise the country into small com­ponents, we will be forgotten by the world.
”That has been my focal position and without peace there cannot be development anywhere in the world. We are all working collectively to see that the issues are resolved,” he said.
When asked to assess Bu­hari’s anti-corruption war which has affected some of his former ministers and aides, Jonathan declined comment, saying many of the cases are in court.
He said: “I don’t want to talk about that one because there are too many cases that are in court. It will not be fair to make comments. I will talk at the appropriate time when most of these things are re­solved,” he said.
The former president, who has been named as head of an African Union (AU) Mission to supervise Zambia’s gener­al polls scheduled for Octo­ber 11, 2016, said he was at the Presidential Villa to brief Bu­hari on his assignment.
According to him: “One key thing is that as a former president, you become a state property; that’s the privilege you have.
“But every privilege has its corresponding responsi­bility, and once you become a state property, most of your international engagements that have to do with public addresses and some interna­tional assignments become national assignments, and you must brief the President.
“Even when I was here, former presidents used to do that and see me. I have been coming here, most times I come in the night and that’s why you don’t see me.
“I came to brief the Pres­ident about some of my en­gagements. As you are aware, I will be leading the AU elec­tions monitoring team to Zambia, and I came to brief the President about some of these external engagements. It is the tradition,” he said.
Source: Authority


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