Prominent ex-militants from the oil-producing Bayelsa State announced a plan to contribute three months of their allowances to President Goodluck Jonathan's campaign funds and to purchase the nomination form for the 2016 re-election of Governor Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State. According to the plan, each of the 6,166 ex-militants from Bayelsa State will pitch in their monthly allowances of N65,000 towards raising N10.5 million in campaign funds for Mr. Dickson and President Jonathan.
Many of the ex-militants, who belonged to the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), had waged a fierce battle against Nigeria's security forces to push their demands for control of the crude oil resources in the area. But following an amnesty program initiated by the regime of former President Umaru Yar'Adua, some of the former militants have become stupendously wealthy even as the vast majority of their erstwhile foot soldiers, who received little or nothing from the amnesty deal, wallow in abject poverty.The decision by ex-militants to invest in Jonathan and Dickson's re-election campaigns, is seen as
a deft scheme to remain politically relevant in order to continue feathering their nests. Even so, many aggrieved foot soldiers are seething with rage and awaiting the election time to demand their pound of flesh by unleashing acts of violence in the delta.
One of the disaffected ex-militants told Sahara Reporters that the big profiteers from the era of militant resistance were seeking political patronage by investing in President Jonathan's re-election bid. He said the ex-militants wish to persuade Mr. Jonathan to extend the amnesty deal due to lapse in 2015.
The ex-militants stated that the decision to forego three months allowances was their expression of gratitude for what they described as noticeable infrastructural development and sound economic policies at both the state and the federal levels.
The group's chairman, Stephen Ebisintei, and deputy chairman, Salvation Rufus, told newsmen in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital, that they reached their decisions at a general meeting today.
The ex-militants described President Jonathan and Governor Dickson as catalysts who have accomplished unprecedented feat and thus deserve re-election.
"There is no vacancy in Aso Rock come 2015 and in Creek Haven come 2016," the ex-militants said. They added: "We agreed to contribute our three months allowance to support our father and leader, President Goodluck Jonathan's election, as well buy the expression of interest form for Governor Seriake Dickson for the 2015 guber election in Bayelsa.
"As far as we are concerned, no Nigerian leader has worked like the incumbent President."
They listed transformation in the energy sector, aviation, road rehabilitation, railway, as well as a peaceful political landscape as part of the achievements of the Jonathan administration.