Chairman of the Niger Delta Amnesty Commission, Kingsley Kuku has described as false and disturbing media reports that while he went to the USA on official trip he made statements threatening violence if President Goodluck Jonathan is not re-elected in 2015.
Kuku, who just returned from his trip addressed the media and debunked the claim saying: “The reason I decided to discuss with the press is to clear the wrong notion that I threatened that if Jonathan doesn’t win or get re-elected in 2015, there would be violence in the Niger Delta.
“I have been a peaceful Nigerian even in the days of the Niger Delta agitation and militancy. My roles then were always pacific. I was never part of those that pursued their cause through alternative means. That is the reason I was always in the delegations that negotiated with the government to end the skirmishes.
“Now I am saddled with the duty of making peace by advising Mr. President on Niger Delta and the task of rehabilitating the ex-agitators, which is solely on peacemaking, I can’t just be the one to advocate war or see violence as means of settling scores or winning a contest.”
Kuku said he was aware that President Jonathan won the mandate to lead Nigeria at the polls. “There was no violence involved. And in a democracy, what wins is persuasion, so how could I be the one to threaten violence unless he wins again? What brought Mr. President to power was the electorate and only the electorate would do that again. Why then should I know these facts and be among foreigners and start making inflammatory statements that would not be good for the image of the nation?”
The amnesty chief said what he had done over time with the amnesty project was a task of creating a good image for the nation.
“I advise the students and trainees we send abroad not to breach the laws of the countries they go to for their training and studies. I am mindful of the good image of the nation as I always urge them to. Should I turn around to tell foreigners that we would resort to violence if someone does not win election? What would the students under the amnesty programme say of me to hear that, even when I advise them strictly against anything that breaches peace in Nigeria and abroad.”
He noted that “what I said is that President Jonathan has done his best to implement the amnesty programme initiated by the late President Umar Yar’Adua, a step that has ensured peace in the Niger Delta. I still argue that to maintain the peace, it is wise to vote him again into power in 2015 because that would give him ample time to pursue to a conclusion the terms of the amnesty agreement.
“I am a Nigerian and from the Niger Delta, so naturally as an individual I would wish he completes his tenure as president according to the law.
“And in my call, I was not even speaking for Mr. President because he never mandated me or any other person to do so. He has always stated that it is early to start lobbying for 2015 when the present mandate is still on. So I spoke as a citizen of this country in the exercise of my right to expression. Such right does not permit me to advocate violence and that I never did.
“The facts are they that the South East gave Mr. President more block vote than even the South-South. The South West and indeed all sections of Nigeria voted him overwhelmingly. So why the issue of threat of violence now? The people voted and not under coercion, it is the same people that will still vote him if he makes up his mind to contest in 2015, and only persuasion based on facts and appeal to reason would make that possible again,” Kuku said.