Governor Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti has made mockery of President Muhammadu Buhari’s last minute decision to cancel his trip to Rivers State on Thursday, saying it proves the president, a retired Major-General, is fainthearted and not as brave as he portrays himself.
SEE ALSO: Presidency Denies Canceled Ogoni Trip
The president was scheduled to be in Rivers to flag off the clean-up of Ogoni land yesterday but had to cancel with Vice President Yemi Osinbajo representing him at the epoch event.
Twenty four hours to the botched visit, the Niger Delta Avengers had issued a warning to Mr. Buhari, advising him to stay away from the region if he cherished his life.
SEE ALSO: Vice President Inaugurates Clean up of Ogoni land
There was no official explanation for the cancellation of the president’s visit just as it cannot be said with certainty that the threat by the Avengers informed the decision.
But Mr. Fayose reasoned the fear of the militants was the reason behind the last-minute change of mind by Mr. Buhari to flag off the clean-up of Ogoni land.
According to the Ekiti State governor, the decision to stay away from the event was a demonstration that the president had surrendered to the superior powers of the militants.
He, therefore, called on the president to dialogue with the Niger Delta Militants, especially the Niger Delta Avengers, so as to end hostilities in the oil rich region and save Nigeria’s economy from imminent collapse instead of sounding tough.
According to a statement issued by his Special Assistant on Public Communications and New Media, Lere Olayinka, Governor Fayose wondered why the president was not always interested in visiting States in the country as against his penchant for overseas trips, adding that it was time that Buhari stopped acting like a foreign president.
He said it was obvious that the president’s approach to civil unrests of any kind under the government was causing more security problems in the country, adding: “The president cannot afford to continue to talk tough on issues that dialogue can resolve”.
He continued: “Now that the President has surrendered to the threat and intimidation of the Niger Delta Avengers, he should emulate late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua by having a roundtable talks with the Niger Delta Militants.
“By not going to Ogoni today, because of threat from the NDA, our president has shown that he is actually afraid of the militants and the best thing to do in a situation like this is to dialogue with the militants so as to save Nigeria economy from imminent collapse.
“It also shows that the President’s ability to secure Nigeria and its people is suspect because if the President could succumb to threat from militants and abandon his official function for his deputy, ordinary Nigerians should seek help elsewhere.
“The President should therefore save Nigeria the agony of military misadventure in the Niger Delta by holding dialogue with the militants with a view to resolving their grievances.”
Fayose also reiterated that “the Niger Delta region as at today is still the golden goose laying the golden egg on which all other regions are surviving”, stressing that “Diversification as good as it sounds, takes time. We need to appreciate these regions as our only source of income”.