Some former Niger Delta militants under the aegis of Niger Delta Coalition and Delta Coalition for Change on Monday said that the region will not go to war if President Goodluck Jonathan loses the March 28 election.
The ex-militants said they will support whoever wins the election.
Mr. Jonathan hails from the region.
Some ex-militants had in January regrouped in Mr. Jonathan’s state, Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, where they vowed to respond violently should the president lose his re-election bid.
Those who threatened war after a meeting with the Special Assistant to the President on Niger Delta Affairs, Kingsley Kuku, included Mujahid Dokubo-Asari, Government Ekpemupolo (aka Tompolo), Victor Ben Ebikabowei (aka Boy Loaf), Eris Paul (aka General Ogunboss) and Pastor Reuben.
“This action is calling the Niger Delta youth to war,” Mr. Dokubo-Asari said at a press conference after the meeting.
“Every Niger Delta youth should go and prepare for war. For the past four days, I have not slept well, neither have I had a change of clothing. I have not been to my house. This is the time.
“The Northern youth are trying to know how important you are. After this time, no one will play with us. After the 2015 election, no governor will play with us. We are saying we will fight with anything and everything that we have, Ijaw people cannot continue to suffer while other people enjoy.”
But in a statement on Monday, the members of the Niger Delta Coalition and Delta Coalition for Change, said there would be no war in the oil-rich region if Mr. Jonathan loses.
“We are assuring Nigerians that there will be no breach of peace in the Niger-Delta on or before the general election of the 28th March and 11th of April, as we look forward to a free and fair election,” the statement signed by Young Piero and Peter Asukuwa, said.
“The judiciary has clearly stated that the armed forces have no role in the general election and as such any attempt for military deployment to voting centres is a sabotage to our judiciary.
“We are standing on the part of justice for now that no one has the monopoly to carry out such threat against national security if the government of the day has the peace and sustainability of this great nation at heart.
“We are one Nigeria. Let no one be troubled. Pray for peace and free/fair election, whoever emerges as the next president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria should be given the necessary support from the North, South, West and East of this great nation.
The groups said Nigeria needs a corrupt-free government but that experience has shown that there is no easy way out of corruption anywhere in the world.
They said, “Many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.”
They urged Nigerians to make democracy work in the country, stressing “One who does not vote has no right to complain. Democracy is built through open societies that share information. When there is information there is enlightenment, when there is debate, there are solutions, when there is no sharing of power, no rule of law, no accountability.