Sylvester Idowu in Warri
The traditional ruler of Ogulagha kingdom in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State, Joseph Timiyan, has praised the leadership of both Chief Clark- led Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) and the Pan Niger Delta Peoples Congress (PNDPC) for putting their differences behind to chart a common course for the development of the region.
The monarch, while speaking with journalists in Warri yesterday, described the merger as good, noting that the region needed to be united now more than ever to go into fruitful negotiations with the federal government on how to develop the area.
He said what the leadership of both groups had done by collapsing their differences was a rare selfless service and commitment to the growth and well being of the region which needed to be commended and emulated by all and sundry, especially those who claimed to have meant well for the region.
According to him, â€œI was a founding member of PANDEF and we had our agenda but at a point there was some communication gap and that created the division. I left PANDEF along with some aggrieved members to form PNDPC and now that our region was being called upon to come and negotiate with the government, we need to be united to present a common front so that the federal government will not continue to give us excuses for not acting.
â€œAs a traditional ruler and the custodian of my peopleâ€™s culture and tradition, I believe in peace and would embrace anything that would bring about sustainable development to my domain and uplift the standards of living of my people. I donâ€™t need for people outside or my subjects to come and start reconciling me and others when I already know the truth.
â€œI would like to praise those who made this merger possible this time around when the region needs to be united and present a formidable team to go into negotiation with the federal government on the development of the region and well being of the Niger Delta people.
â€œThis has further demonstrated that they placed so much commitment and resolve to the development of the region above any personal interest they must have had and such rare show of patriotism and dispositions which remains unprecedented as far as the Niger Delta issue is concerned must be applauded.
â€œWith this unity, the federal government will now know we meant business and committed to the development of our region. The excuses of not knowing which of the group to discuss with is no longer there. The government should as a matter of urgency open negotiation with PANDEF on the way forward.â€
He called on those who are still aggrieved to bury whatever differences they may be having for the good of the region, noting that the interest of the Niger Delta should come first and above whatever personal interest or grudges they may be having with anybody in the group.