By Ernest Chinwo in Port Harcourt
Youths in the Niger Delta region have warned that they would not welcome any presidential candidate who is opposed to restructuring during campaigns for the 2019 elections.
The youths made the declaration in a communique issued in Bori, Rivers state by their leaders at the 23rd anniversary of the execution of rights activist, Ken Saro-Wiwa, and nine other Ogoni patriots by the federal government.
The communique released yesterday was signed by President, Ijaw Youth Council, Eric Omare; President, National Youth of the Ogoni People, Matthew Dighi; and their counterparts from Urhobo, Isoko, Akwa Ibom, Ibibio, Oron and Itsekiri.
The communique noted that after the huge price the likes of Saro-Wiwa paid in the struggle for emancipation of the Niger Delta, the region continues to suffer deprivations and mass poverty under a federal leadership hegemony which deploys the massive wealth from the region to develop other parts of the country.
“Niger Delta region, having exhaustively deliberated the historic struggles of our people over the years for a fair and equitable Nigeria, resolved that, “Defective federal structure and unjust laws are responsible for the underdevelopment of the region
“For Nigeria to make progress, there must be holistic political, economic, and social restructuring of the country. We demand complete resource control by the federating units of the country and payment of tax to the centre in a restructured Nigeria.
“Any presidential candidate in the 2019 election that doed not believe and would not restructure Nigeria after the 2019 elections should not come to the Niger Delta region to campaign for votes,” he added.
The region’s youths also called on incumbent President Mohammadu Buhari to fulfill its promises of cleaning up Ogoniland in line with UNEP’s report as well as the presidential directive on oil multinationals to relocating headquarters to operating environment.