There were sharp divisions among leaders of ethnic nationalities of the Niger Delta over the choice of representatives of the region for the scheduled meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari, on Tuesday.
A prominent leader from the zone who spoke to one of our correspondents on condition fo anonymity on Saturday said while the leaders agreed to meet with the President to find a lasting solution to the crisis in the region, the various ethnic nationalities had yet to agree on who should be in the meeting.
It was learnt that some were of the opinion that leaders of thought should negotiate on behalf of the region while others argued that leaders of the various armed groups and activists should take the lead.
It was gathered that the leaders met in Abuja, on Saturday, to resolve the disagreement over the issue, as well as the agenda for the meeting.
The source said prominent people from the area had a meeting to harmonise three different lists from different groups from across the region.
According to the source, prominent Ijaw leader, Chief Edwin Clark, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Ibe Kachikwu and King Alfred Spiff, the Amayanabo of Twon Brass, were all presented with different lists.
The source added that among the members of the Pan-Niger Delta Forum, there were disagreements over the choice of those to attend the meeting.
It was further gathered that the PANDEF, led by Chief E.K Clark, was still dealing with the issue of how to harmonise the lists from the six states of the Niger Delta.
Investigations further revealed that the leaders suggested that each of the states should be represented by five persons.
“The meeting with the President will hold on Tuesday. There is no disagreement on the issue of the meeting.
“The only problem is that the elders and other leaders have not come up with a harmonised list for the meeting.
“Even within PANDEF, there is power tussle on the issue of who should attend the meeting. Other groups are also emerging and claiming that they should be represented in the meeting.
“Also, some of the young men who have been involved in the Niger Delta peace process are not disposed to the idea of putting the names of some elders on the list. They are unhappy that they are being left out of a meeting to determine their future when some of the problems we want to solve were created by their failures,” the source told SUNDAY PUNCH.
Saturday’s meeting was, among other things, meant to harmonise positions in order to approach the president with a unified agenda.
Meanwhile, one of our correspondents gathered on Saturday night that some leaders from the region met with officials of the Federal Government in preparation for the meeting.