Atiku’s Endorsement Divides PANDEF

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Emmanuel Addeh in Yenagoa

There was a crack in the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) yesterday after the youth wing of the body disagreed with the parent body over the endorsement of the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.

While distancing themselves from the action of the elders, the youths said there was neither a meeting nor a forum where the issue of supporting any candidate was discussed.

The National Publicity Secretary of PANDEF, Chief Sara-Igbe Anabs, said the action was futile since the constitution of the pan Niger Delta body barred the organisation from partisan politics.

“As far as I am concerned, we have not met as a body and besides, the constitution of PANDEF bans the forum from being partisan,” he said in a statement.

Also, a statement signed by the National Youth Coordinator of PANDEF, Famous Daunemigha; leaders from Edo and Delta States, Don Ben and Abule Ateh, described PANDEF as apolitical.

According to them, “PANDEF is a well-organised body, made up of a very well-enlightened people cut across all the Niger Delta states.

“PANDEF has a constitution and we are apolitical. PANDEF never had any meeting or congress where we agreed to endorse any political party.”

He added: “It’s very clear that we cannot use PANDEF to endorse anybody. The constitution says that we should be apolitical. We all have rights to support whatever political party we want but we are not allowed to endorse any person or a candidate.

“PANDEF has not met; we never had a congress at any time to decide such endorsement.”

He called on well-meaning and law-abiding youths Niger Delta to disregard the purported endorsement, stating that such an act was capable of eroding the credibility of the group.