FORMER warlord of the Defunct Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) and Chairman Movement for the Actualisation of the Dreams of Niger Deltans (MADND), Mr. Josiah Oyakongha alias Commander Oyimi in an exclusive interview has thrown his weight behind the re-election of Hon. Julius Pondi, Hon. Chief Thomas Eriyetomi, Hon. Emomotimi Guwor and Hon. Asupa Forteta.
In an exclusive interview with The Liberator Newspapers Worldwide, Commander Oyimi, opined he is proud of the achievements of Pondi, Ereyitomi, Guwor and Asupa; hence, they deserve re-election and his unalloyed support.
In this interview, the former Niger Delta warlord answers questions on the current issues bedeviling the creeks of the Niger Delta, politics and politicians where he endorsed Hon. Julius Pondi, Hon. Thomas Ereyitomi, Hon. Emomotimi Guwor and Hon. Asupa Forteta and advised Nigerians who are from Burutu Federal Constituency, Warri Federal Constituency, Warri South West LGA, Burutu North to massively support these four politician’s re-election bid, describing their representations as people- focused governance, inspiring and creek ambassadors.
Q. What is your name?
A. My name is Josiah Oyakonghan, popularly known as Commander Oyimi: I am paternally from Burutu Local Government Area and maternally from Warri South West Local Government Area.
Q. Why do people call you Commander Oyimi?
A. I am called Commander Oyimi because I was a freedom fighter, fighting for people focused governance in the creeks of the Niger Delta, the political and economic marginalization of the Niger Delta, coupled with environmental degradation with arms.
Q. Are you still a freedom fighter?
A. Yes, but now I am an intellectual freedom fighter.
Q. Were you not an intellectual freedom fighter then?
A. I was and I am, but there is change of operations. Please with all due respect I don’t want to give further details about this subject matter.
Q. You said, you were fighting for people focused governance, political and economic liberation of the Niger Delta, as well environmental degradation, are government policies addressing these problems?
Hon. Asupa Peter Forteta, Burutu North, Delta State House of Assembly
A. Well, first let me say that the issues about the Niger Delta, particularly the coastal communities are still glaring. Our polluted environment has not been addressed, people from these costal communities are dying of hunger, cholera and prevalent poverty. This is so because our ecosystem is gone. Our people cannot fish and farm and fishing and farming were the mainstay of our survival. As we are having this conversation the local economic lifestyle is gone because of the depleted environment due to oil exploration and exploitation.
Q. Why is there poverty if you say the likes of Hon. Pondi, Hon. Ereyitomi, Hon. Guwor and Hon. Asupa are performing creditably well?
A. First, let’s understand the function of a lawmaker. The responsibility of a legislator is to make laws and move motions that will be impactful on their constituents before their oversight functions. With regard to Hon. Julius Pondi, I can confidently say he has a plethora of live changing and progressive bills to his feather. Hon. Thomas Eriyetomi has made his voice known in our regional politics, he is doing incredibly outstanding in human empowerment and of course in bridging the gap of an heterogeneous federal constituency of Ijaws, Itsekiris, and the Urhobos working tirelessly for peace to be sustained because sustainable development can only be achieved in the presence of peace. So, he is doing very well, and for us in the creeks we are proud of him and Hon. Pondi. And this is similar to Hon. Guwor’s achievements in Warri South West LGA. Beyond his empowerment schemes he has an Environmental Conservation bill, so I am proud of these politicians who are giving people focused governance. And you have Hon. Asupa Forteta who has been extraordinary in infrastructure projects and human capital development. So, I use this medium to call on, His Excellency President Buhari to assent to the Maritime University’s Bill of Okerenkoko for the people of the Niger Delta to feel the presence of democracy more.
Chief Hon. Thomas Ereyitomi, Warri Federal Constituency.
Q. Are you endorsing these politicians?
A. Yes, I am endorsing them from my heart, this is also a medium for these politicians to know that I am closely monitoring their programs, and I am proud of their lofty achievements, so they should keep it up and even do more when they are re-elected.
Q. Do you think they deserve your endorsement?
A. Yes they do and I am pledging my unalloyed support for their various aspirations because I am proud of what they have done. These are the kind of representatives we need in government. Hence, I urge everyone from these LGAs to support their re-election bid because they have shown commitment to the development of our coastal communities through their people focused governance.
Q. How can you describe yourself?
A. A freedom fighter advocating for people focused governance.
Q. Your last words to these politicians?
A. I would say they should sustain their impactful representations because the creeks are proud of them.