By ‘Dotun Akintomide
Irked by the low level of representation suffered by people of the Niger Delta under this current dispensation, activists and leaders in the region have threatened to vote out current members of the National Assembly representing them in next year’s general election.
The angry activists who believed federal lawmakers from the region have failed to draw meaningful development to the Niger Delta, described their representatives as insensitive, self-serving and incompetent.
They stated that judging by their non-challancy towards the plight of constituents, many of them have no business at the National Assembly.
While calling out some of the lawmakers, they took a swipe at Senator Ben Bruce, representing Bayelsa East, James Manager; Delta South and Godswill Akpabio; the Senate minority leader, alongside their colleagues, for simply watching as budgeted sums for the completion of key projects in the Niger Delta were being slashed in the 2018 budget.
President of the Ijaw Youths Council (IYC) worldwide, Udengs Eradiri, said there was no commonsense in reducing budgetary allocations for critical projects in a region, which produces resources to finance the entire budget.
“Senators from the region were busy talking about commonsense, but they don’t have commonsense to look at what concerned the region. It is annoying, provocative, sad and painful.
“If it were my days in IYC, l would arrange to flog them. But Niger Delta people should not allow such persons go back to the National Assembly. We should emphasise on quality of persons representing the region. Niger Delta representatives are a disgrace”.
Eradiri said the actions of the lawmakers were provocative, sad and painful saying that the representatives were the real problems of the Niger Delta.
He lamented the region was particularly pained by the reductions of budgetary allocations for the East-West road and the Maritime University, Okerenkoko, Delta State.
“It is unacceptable. This goes further to expose the kind of leadership that we have. I have further come to the conviction that the Federal Government is actually not our problem but our own people are our problems.
“Where were our senators and our representatives from the Niger Delta when the budget went through the House? How come they don’t have a caucus that looked at those items that concern the Niger Delta and ensure that they are funded to better the lives of our people?” Eradiri said.
He stressed that the people of Niger Delta must ensure they do not return them to the National Assembly during 2019 general election.
“Niger Delta people are their own problems. What are the qualities of individuals they send to represent us? They cannot defend our people. They have no business in the National Assembly. Niger Delta people must vote out such individuals.
“How can they sit down and allow our budgets to be reduced? It means that the President means well for the Niger Delta but the Niger Delta representatives don’t mean well. How can they allow the East-West road to be reduced?
“It is unimaginable that the lawmakers watched as the budget for the Maritime University which became the centre of disputes and led to the formation of all kinds of groups that caused bloodshed in this country and brought down the economy was reduced.” He said.