We never endorsed Buhari – Ex-Mend commanders
By Emma Amaize & Jimitota Onoyume
The Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta, MEND, may have been hit by a crisis, following the purported endorsement of General Muhamadu Buhari (rtd) of the All Progressives Congress, APC, for the presidential election, as a former leader of the group, ‘Gen’ Reuben Wilson, has called on Nigerians to disregard the said endorsement.Buhari
He said that the ex-militants were all for President Goodluck Jonathan in next month’s presidential election.
But Jomo Gbomo, who speaks for the group, has lambasted the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, and Ijaw Youth Congress, IYC, for questioning its credibility and describing MEND as a ghost organisation because of its proclaimed support for Buhari.
Gbomo said: “MEND views the recent question and statement credited to the PDP National publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, as very callous and irresponsible. The question: ‘Explain your connections with MEND’ further confirms and vindicates our views about President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP.
“MEND strongly denies any links with the APC and has never been approached for anything, at any point in time, by the party, as alleged by Olisa Metuh.”
Wilson, on his part who spoke for the ex-militant commanders, called on Nigerians to ignore the Buhari endorsement story, describing same as part of the APC, propaganda ahead of the general elections.
Reaffirming the support of ex-militants in the region for the second term bid of President Jonathan, Reuben who is now a Pastor, said: “MEND ceased to exist from the day we all keyed into the amnesty programme of the Federal Government,” adding that what they had as Jomo Gbomo was a pseudonym used by the ex-agitators to prosecute their crusade as MEND years back.
“We challenge the Jomo Gbomo to show his face on a national television the way we will do, as we have always done. Since we left the creeks, we have integrated into the society, contributing to the development of the country. We have stopped all forms of militant activities under any guise, including MEND activities.”
He added that at the moment there was nothing like Jomo Gbomo or MEND, stressing that they owned MEND and also collapsed it after they embraced the Federal Government’s amnesty programme.
“We have read and heard of reports in the media on the purported endorsement of the APC presidential candidate, Buhari, and have decided to inform the public that we, the former leaders of militant camps, who owned and controlled the activities of MEND, did not and could not have endorsed Buhari as our candidate.
“We are aware that the APC and their presidential candidate are desperate for power and are ready to do anything to mislead the public as part of their desperate efforts to take over power this year. But it is criminal to use the name of MEND to score a cheap point and deceive the public.
“For the avoidance of doubt, let us put it clearly that we owned MEND and we never endorsed Buhari. Neither Buhari nor MEND can shave our head in our absence.”