The much anticipated inauguration of the Presidential Amnesty Programme Cooperative Society Limited (PACOSOL) may have come and gone but the ripples of excitement generated by the event is still reverberating in the media space.
While the news of the new trajectory championed by Major General Barry Tariye Ndiomu (rtd) resonnates with men of goodwill, he seems to have incurred the angst of naysayers who I must confess are in the minority.
Rather than commend and applaud Gen Ndiomu’s visionary leadership and resourcefulness, these enemies of progress in our midst are busy castigating the noble intentions of the General.
We shall not be distracted by their antics orchestrated to derail the programme nor shall we be moved by their mischief spun to score cheap political points. The initiative which is the brainchild of Major General Barry Tariye Ndiomu, the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, is meant to open a new vista in the administration of the amnesty programme.
The Presidential Amnesty Programme Cooperative Society Limited promises to be a game changer as efforts are being made by the General Ndiomu led administration to redirect, re-engineer and revitalise the entire concept of the programme in tandem with the original intentions of the Federal Government 13 years ago.
It bears repeating that the Amnesty Programme was conceived by President Umaru Yar’adua as an interventionist programme aimed at curbing youth restiveness in the Niger Delta region due in part to the disruption of oil facilities and flow stations by militant groups.
Unfortunately, 13 years down the line, the programme is yet to achieve its set mandate nor has it fully kept faith with its cardinal objective of creating an enabling environment for self actualization by the majority of the youths in the region. Even so, we are not oblivious of its achievements in the academic ecosystem over the years.
It is necessary to point out with certainty that the programme had achieved some successes here and there especially with regards to the scholarship scheme which has become an open sesame for impacted communities.
The scholarship programme and its vocational training arm have all produced excellent results albeit with a heavy toll on its finances. Be that as it may, the programme has over the years produced first class graduates in various fields including the sciences, engineerings, legal profession, aeronautics, pilots, flight engineers just to mention a few.
Having said that, one must hasten to add that a clinical assessment of the entire programme would reveal a reversal of fortune despite government’s commitment to change the trajectory of the Niger Delta region.. The palpable chasm between input and output is glaring and inexplicable. It is difficult, not to hinge the agency’s woes on the doorsteps of past leaders who failed to provide leadership where necessary.
Those who midwifed the programme had compromised the system by derailing it either due in part to external influences and pressures or as a result of other primordial factors totally out of sync with the intentions of government. It is impossible to pretend that all is well with the amnesty agenda bearing in mind that the programme is in its last phase of reintegration. And that implies the programme may come to an end sooner or later.
It is noteworthy to assert, as it were that the avatar of change has been engaged by government to address these anomalies and defects in the system. General Ndiomu is in the process of refocusing PAP by charting a new pathway for the agency. This, without doubt is in consonance with the original intentions of government and that of the people.
It may interest you to know that no sooner General Ndiomu was appointed the Interim Administrator of PAP on the 15th of September 2022 than he began the process of putting in place an enduring structure akin to military tactical act and precision focusing mainly on the ex-agitators. His wide consultations and interface with stakeholders, donor agencies, elders and power brokers in the region has enabled him to synthesize the varying views and opinions from across board.
He believes quite rightly too that the real ex agitators have over the years received the short end of the stick by default. As a transformational leader adept in military command structure and democratic nuances, Gen Ndiomu is essentially focused in creating a new paradigm shift by setting the tone for a more robust engagement with the people.
Since his assumption of office he has left no one in doubt about his good intentions and obviously explains why he has continually insisted on excellence despite efforts to thwart his dreams. Gen. Ndiomu has refused to be steamrolled by individuals and groups of persons within the Niger Delta region who may not be comfortable with his commitment to excellence, accountability and his forthrightness. He does not speak from two sides of the mouth to ingratiate the opposition.
Indeed, the General has brought innovation, creativity and rational thinking into the management of PAP.
His overreaching objective is to maximise the potentials of the delegates by creating a brighter future for both the people and the environment.
No where else is this visionary leadership better exhibited than in the formation of the Presidential Amnesty Programme Cooperative Society Limited (PACOSOL). The purpose is to empower the ex-agitators through sustainable enterprises.
The PACOSOL scheme is “to transform ex-agitators into entrepreneurs and employable citizens who will become net contributors to the economy of the region and the country through effective collaboration with relevant public, private, development partners and stakeholders in the region.”
For the purposes of accountability and effective management of the funds set aside for the cooperative, credible sons of the Niger Delta region have been appointed as members of the board of trustees.
The Chairman of the Board is HRM Hon. Justice Francis Fedude Tabai. Others include Comrade Joseph Evah, a social critic and patriot and Brig. Gen Emmanuel Salubi (rtd). The inauguration of the PACOSOL this week will mark a new beginning in the management of the amnesty programne in the Niger Delta region.
It is the responsibility of all the beneficiaries of PAP as well as other stakeholders to cooperate with this administration to ensure that this legacy project is sustained beyond the life span of this administration.
Gen Ndiomu deserves our applause and commendation as PACOSOL takes on the life of its own.