A group, Assembly of Niger Delta Indigenous People (ANDIP) has said a confederal system of government will midwife a true federal structure where all units would grow at their pace in a dignified and equitable manner.
It canvassed early return to a confederal system, saying the current system was starving the people, as it promoted poverty and socio-economic retrogression.
The group’s Vice Chairman of Public Affairs and Communications, Sony Bernard, spoke on Wednesday with reporters in Abuja at the group’s presentation, noting that as a socio-political and cultural organisation, ANDIP would drive change and development in Niger Delta.
Bernard said the group had sent a memorandum to the Senate Deputy President Ovie Omo-Agege-led Constitution Review Committee to put together a constitution to usher in a confederal system rather than tinkering with the present ‘faulty constitution’.
The vice-chairman said the group expected positive considerations of its memorandum submitted a fortnight ago to the committee.
Bernard noted that ANDIP would free its people from their ‘’sub human existence’’, which had reduced them to onlookers in matters concerning their wellbeing.
He said the group would pressure the ‘repressive’ Nigerian state to right its wrongs by ensuring Niger Delta indigenous people take their rightful place in the nation.
According to Bernard, ANDIP was set up for all indigenous people of Niger Delta in six states: Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo and Rivers, to smile “real good without let or hinderance within a united and equitable Nigerian state.”
It said they were over 30 million people speaking more than 35 indigenous languages, inclusive of groups in the tributaries of River Niger.
ANDIP noted that the enemies of Niger Deltans were those who feed fat on misfortunes of the people who, it noted, had been impoverished since the creation of Nigeria.
The vice-chairman said distribution of the nation’s wealth was skewed in favour of a few, with the larger population left to eke out a living from handouts dished out by insensitive leaders.
He noted that the group would not watch Niger Delta, the nation’s cash cow, destroyed by poverty, environmental degradation, despondency, wickedness, killings, and insecurity.
According to Bernard, ‘’membership of ANDIP is optional just as our approach is persuasive and non-violent.’’
He said: “ANDIP is not a separatist group because its demands are unique and we have no enemy to fight other than reactionary elements who are beneficiaries of the status quo.
‘’Our traducers in this project to emancipate our people are those who will act as agents to sabotage our good intention to lift our people from their sorry state.
“We are no agents to any political organisation… including the politically volatile Nigeria, neither are we truculent, insubordinate, insultive, bellicose and incendiary…
‘’ANDIP shall play according to the rules of its engagement in a peaceful atmosphere without let or hindrance. The group is prepared to take the bull by the horns”, Bernard said.