- Posted January 26, 2013 by
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Ex-militants meet over Jonathan’s re-election
Presidency worries as parley holds in Lagos * Anenih, Orubebe, Oghiadomhe lobby participants Aggrieved ex-Ijaw militant commanders in the Niger Delta are meeting in Lagos on Sunday to decide their stance towards President Goodluck Jonathan’s 2015 re-election bid. National Mirror learnt yesterday that the Presidency is worried about the outcome of the meeting as the support of the ex-warlords is considered a key success factor in the election. Reliable sources close to the conveners of the meeting told National Mirror yesterday that the forum would undertake a critical appraisal of the performance of the Jonathan administration, the development of the region and competence of some key government functionaries, especially the ministers, whose portfolios had a bearing with the well-being of the oil-rich belt. Findings showed that the performance of the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Elder Godsday Orubebe and his Petroluem Resources counterpart, Mrs. Deziani Alison-Madueke, would be x-rayed by the exfighters. Our correspondent learnt that the Presidency had been thrown into a state of anxiety as the circular of the meeting was made public. Reports available to National Mirror yesterday indicated that top officials of the Presidency and key loyalists of Jonathan had been lobbying the conveners of the forum to influence a favourable outcome. It was gathered that a popular ex-militant leader, Chief Ateke Tom, would host the forum at his Festac Town, Lagos residence. Other notable ex-warlords expected at the meeting include the Leader of the Niger Delta People’s Volunteer Force, NDPVF, Alhaji Mujarhedeen Asari- Dokubo, Mr. Ebikabowei Victor Ben, a.k.a. Boyloaf and Egberi Papa. National Mirror gathered that the ex-militants are meeting under the aegis of Izon Ikemi, a grassroots group formed by some aggrieved former fighters to challenge another one founded by a notable exmilitant commander, Chief Government Ekpemukpolo, a.k.a. Tompolo, called Oporoza House. Tompolo is being excluded from the meeting apparently because of his closeness to Jonathan, who was accused of according him preferential treatment. A Niger Delta activist and environmentalist, Mr. Tony Uranta, is the interim leader of Izon Ikemi. Tom and Boyloaf hinted about Sunday’s meeting in a recent publication in which they appraised Jonathan and scored him low. They had said: “So far in summary, we believe the government of President Jonathan has not done its best in meeting the yearnings and aspirations of Nigerians, who overwhelmingly voted for him. “We, his own people, are seriously dissatisfied with the way things are going and may be left with no option than to withdraw our support for his government in the best interest of Nigerians. “In furtherance to our genuine desire for the development of the region, we seek (to) call for an emergency meeting of Izon Ikemi to further discuss and deliberate on the above mentioned issues as they affect our people.” Our correspondent sighted the notice of the meeting in Warri, Delta State, yesterday. It was signed by Izon Ikemi’s National Secretary, Mr. Akpos Mezeh. It reads: “I am directed to invite you to attend a leadership meeting of Izon Ikemi (Grassroots of the Ijaw Nation) scheduled for Sunday, January 27, 2013 at 8p.m. prompt. Usual venue: Festac, Lagos. Attendance is strictly on invitation pls.” Already, members of the kitchen cabinet of Jonathan were reported to have established contacts with the leadership of the group apparently to ensure a soft landing for their benefactor. Specifically, a former Ch