With the emergence of presidential candidates for the 2019 elections, the stage is now set for Nigerians to choose who among the three major candidates-
Muhammadu Buhari of the APC, Atiku Abubakar of the PDP and Donald Duke of the SDP.
The trio emerged at the weekend. But of the three, it is only Atiku that emerged from a keenly contested primary. Against all odds, he emerged victorious after defeating even those that were well favoured by certain interests within the PDP.
The emergence of Atiku, as is being celebrated since the news broke on Sunday, appears to be the piece of news that everybody was waiting to hear from the PDP. There are many who have openly said Atiku is the only one who will be able to match Buhari in all its ramifications. Two of them are from the north, the region that is generally believed to be favoured to produce the next president.
Duke, a south-south candidate did well when he was governor in Cross River State. But whether he can make any meaningful impact at the polls is left to be seen in the coming weeks.
But in all of this, what is more important is for the people of the Niger Delta to be united in forging a common agenda in the interest of the country. As it stands now, there are divided interests. It ought to be so, though. Because people have their biases and choices.
Our view, however, is that whoever should be supported should be that person that will turn things around in the Niger Delta. For example, who is that man that will not play politics with the development of Ogoni land? The people of this long neglected area have long cried out, urging the federal government to undertake the clean-up of Ogoni. The current government took some steps in this regard. But as days passes by, it became clear, that they were not as serious about the clean-up as they wanted the people to believe. Till date, Ogoni has remained as messy as ever.
How about the East-West Road, the Calabar-Itu-Road, the Port Harcourt-Enugu Road? It is shameful that more than three years after it got into power, the change promised by the current government is yet to be translated into action in the roads in question. Till date, it is difficult for those living in Oyigbo, Rivers State, to access Port Harcourt, because that section of the Port Harcourt-Aba road has collapsed.
Only recently, a trailer fell and killed many people and also rendered others homeless. Those wishing to travel to Aba from Port Harcourt are now forced to make the journey a day trip, instead of 45 minutes that the journey should ordinarily last. This is because of the deplorable nature of the road.
It is our belief that the Niger Delta people should look inwards before casting their votes for anybody. They should properly assess the antecedent of the three major contenders, before giving them their votes. If the APC federal government cannot boast of one road they have undertaken in the south-south and south-east for about four years now, then the people should have a rethink, before accepting the fresh promises they would be coming up with, as they seek the people's votes again.
Those who are fond of selling their votes for a fee should also have a rethink. For, what shall it profit the Niger Delta, if the people decide to sell their conscience and lose development projects at the end of the day?
The Niger Delta people should take a stand against mouth-watering promises that would not lead anywhere. Never again should the people allow themselves to be deceived.