18 November 2014, Sweetcrude, ABUJA – President Goodluck Jonathan has called for speedy resolution of the dispute plaguing the multi-billion naira industrial park in Delta State.
The President had personally announced his intention to perform the ground-breaking during his declaration for second-term a couple of weeks ago, but had to postpone after disputes by communities over land.
In a statement by the president’s spokesman, Dr. Reuben Abati, Jonathan noted with regret, what he described as unnecessary controversy and acrimony that had arisen over the postponement of the groundbreaking ceremony for the Gas Revolution Industrial Park at Ogidigben in the Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.
The president said he was deeply saddened by the very unjust, uncharitable and unwarranted accusations of nepotism and partisanship that had been made against him in the wake of the postponement.
According to the statement, Jonathan expressed dismay over the unseemly resort to the abusive denigration of his personal integrity and the whipping up of divisive ethnic sentiments by parties to the totally needless communal disagreement that resulted in the decision to reschedule the ground-breaking event.
The statement added that, “It should be apparent to all Nigerians by now that while Jonathan may be affiliated to the Ijaw ethnic group by birth, he knows full well that he was elected president of all Nigerians and had always shown by word and deed that he would always uphold the oath he swore on assumption of office to protect and promote the interests of all citizens with justice, equity and fairness to all as his guiding principles.”
The elders, community leaders and parties to the dispute over the location and ground-breaking event for the Gas Industrial Revolution Park who have resorted to threats and accusations of partisanship against the President in press conferences and paid adverts in newspapers, it noted, are therefore being most unfair to Jonathan, as well as doing a great disservice to continuing efforts to forge greater national unity and peaceful coexistence of all Nigerians.
As the leader of the nation, the statement stressed, Jonathan is not, and could not be on the side of any party to the avoidable dispute over the location and ownership of the site of the Gas Revolution Industrial Park.
The project itself was conceived for the benefit of all Nigerians, not just Itsekiris, Ijaws, Urhobos or other ethnic groups in its immediate environment, the statement said.
It further noted that in terms of employment opportunities, it is projected that the Gas Industrial Revolution Park would ultimately create up to three million jobs for Nigerians in its catchment area and other parts of the country.
The statement further noted that all the people of Delta State and Nigerians living in other parts of the country would benefit greatly from the project by way of improved power supply and other ancillary products such as fertilizers, petrochemicals and more raw materials to boost local industrial production.
Jonathan, therefore, urged all parties to the communal dispute over the location and ownership of the site of the Gas Industrial Revolution Park to cooperate fully with ongoing efforts by the Federal government and the Delta State government to peacefully resolve all outstanding issues so that the project can proceed apace for the benefit of local communities, all Nigerians and investors.
“For the avoidance of any doubt whatsoever, the postponement of the groundbreaking ceremony for the project earlier scheduled for last Friday was not in furtherance of any anti-Itsekiri agenda,” it stressed.
The statement explained that it was borne out of the clear need to give all concerned parties more time to achieve the communal peace, understanding and harmony that would greatly facilitate the project’s speedy actualisation for the benefit of Itsekiris, Ijaws, Urhobos, Igbos, Isokos and all other Nigerians.
“In the greater interest of the nation, Jonathan expects the respected elders and leaders of the concerned communities to heed the pleas of Federal and state government mediators and expeditiously resolve their differences for the good of all and the progress of the country,” it stressed.
According to the statement, President Jonathan looks forward to coming to perform the ground-breaking ceremony for the Gas Industrial Revolution Park very soon in conditions of communal peace, unity and harmony.