By Tobi Soniyi in Lagos
Eight years after, facts have emerged on how the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, nominated the late President Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize.
The letter titled: â€˜Nomination for the 2010 Nobel Peace Prize: Re: Alhaji Umaru Musa Yarâ€™Adua, President, Federal Republic of Nigeriaâ€™ and dated January 6, 2009, was addressed to the Norwegian Nobel Committee, Oslo, Norway.
Ekweremadu predicated Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s nomination on the late presidentâ€™s inclination for peace and justice for all, noting that although Yarâ€™Adua had the option of full military operation in the Niger Delta, he chose the dialogue and amnesty option in resolving the militancy challenge in the region.
He wrote in part: â€œPresident Yarâ€™Adua is a man with natural inclination for peace and justice. He has demonstrated an uncommon ability for achieving peace in his capacities as the President of Nigeria and the Chairman of the Authority of Heads of State and Government, Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS).
â€œSituations in the Niger Delta region had already assumed monumentally grave proportions bordering on insurgency at the time the President assumed leadership of Nigeria on May 29, 2007.
â€œThe youths of the region had mobilised into the creeks and taken up arms in their tens of thousands under different fronts to wrest the control of their resources from the Federal Government of Nigeria, kidnapping oil workers, and sabotaging foreign oil interests with direct impact on oil productions and revenues.
â€œAlthough the president had the usual option of total military engagement to dislodge the militants, with attendant humanitarian consequences in the Niger Delta, he chose the peaceful options of dialogue and unconditional amnesty to all the militants.
â€œThis has been nationally and globally acclaimed as an uncommon masterstroke and a huge success. Over 30,000 militants embraced the olive branch, denounced violence, and turned in their weapons. They are currently quartered in rehabilitation camps where they are also undergoing vocational trainings.
â€œFurthermore, the president has undertaken robust policy initiatives to deliver physical and human capital development in the region. He has practically committed billions of naira towards this in addition to the mandate of the existing Niger Delta Development Commission and a distinct Ministry of Niger Delta, which he created to directly oversee and speed up development in the Niger Delta area. This has resulted in calm, safety of lives and property in the Niger Delta and the Gulf of Guinea.â€
When contacted, the Special Adviser on Media to the Deputy President of Senate, Mr. Uche Anichukwu, who confirmed the authenticity of the letter, however, revealed that the former president did not know about it before his death.
However, a copy of the acknowledgement letter from Nobel Prize Committee was eventually transmitted to his widow, Hajiya Turai Yarâ€™Adua.
â€œEven though the prize was ultimately clinched by Liu Xiaobo, Ekweremadu was nevertheless happy that the former presidentâ€™s name had gone down in history as a man naturally inclined to peace and justice and indeed a father to all,â€ he said. Yarâ€™Adua died on May 5, 2010, after a protracted illness.