There are indications that the leadership of the outlawed Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta (MEND) is planning to join the All Progressives Congress (APC).
At the centre of the plan is Kingsley Kuku, former Special Adviser on Niger Delta and chairman of the Amnesty Programme under former President Goodluck Jonathan.
Leaders and ex-commanders of the disbanded armed group, hitherto led by Chief Government Ekpomupolo, otherwise known as Tompolo, had strong affinity with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) up till the February/March elections, having openly backed its Presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar.
A source close to the group said Tompolo had already directed his foot soldiers to be involved in the plan which will crystallise shortly before the November 16 governorship election in Bayelsa State.
“We will soon witness what I call mass movement by the former commanders of MEND to the APC because we cannot remain aloof for too long. Already, our leader who we call GOC (referring to Tompolo) has even directed us to join the APC to help deliver David Lyon with the Minister of State for Petroleum, Timipre Sylva.
“As we speak, we are mobilising and very soon, you will see action across the entire Niger Delta. As at last week, our brother Shoot at Sight from Ondo State was with the minister with assurances that he will mobilise people in his state to join the APC.”
It was gathered that the ex-militants have presented the return of Kuku to Nigeria as a condition precedent shortly after the Bayelsa election. “We have told Sylva that we will back him and indeed join the actors to help him deliver, but we want him to facilitate a soft landing for Kuku to return home. We want him and he has also agreed to join the APC as soon as he returns to the country. For now, his followers across the Niger Delta will be aligning with the APC pending his arrival,” the source added. (The Nation)