High Chief Michael Johnny, an APC leader in Gbaramatu kingdom of Warri south west local government area of Delta state, is a pro Niger Deltan. His heart and all his life has been seeking the welfare of the people of the Niger Delta region. As an indigene of Okerenkoko in the Gbaranmatu kingdom, he has seen the challenges in the area and the pains of people living in the creeks. Following his knowledge of the area, he is in the forefront in the struggle for the creation of better life for the people of the region.
As an attestation of his desire for the good of the Niger Delta people, he displayed this rare quality when he was chairman of Egbema Gbaramatu Communities Development Foundation (EGCDF), a regional development committee established to foster development in the communities that constitute the foundation. The committee’s vision was to create a peaceful and friendly operating environment for economic activities, wealth creation, human capital and infrastructure development. And this, he successfully pursued with vigour, hence he made a great success.
The foundation aims at instituting sustainability, partnership, transparency and accountability in the management of community development projects. During his days as chairman, the community benefited in terms of infrastructure and non-infrastructure projects, capacity building and the GMoU it entered with Chevron fostered peace in the communities. So many people-oriented projects were executed and the people were happy.
The GMoU signed with Chevron created a common front for unity in the communities and brought accountability and transparency to bear in the community development process. In terms of projects, the EGCDF, during his tenure, executed over 116 projects s. The projects are in the areas of health, water and sanitation, education, transport and economic empowerment of the rural people.
The GMoU helped in sustaining the means of livelihood in the communities. The GMoU was a wonderful instrument for instituting sustainable community development in Niger Delta communities. The GMoU brought about the principle of sustainability assurance, transparency and accountability. It also helped to establish peace-building process and mitigating conflicts.
The GMoU he organized and signed with Chevron was replicated by many organisations in Nigeria and beyond. It is being recommended as a developmental framework for the Niger Delta communities. It was very transparent, effective and participatory. As chairman of the Egbema Gbaramatu Communities Development Foundation, Chief Michael Johnny made economic empowerment of his people a major focus of his administration.
Available reports revealed that he was the first former chairman of the EGCDF whose accounts were audited and given a clean bill of health by the Chevron Nigeria limited. This also proves that Chief Michael Johnny is not a man who will fraudulently enrich himself as has been the case with previous leaders of the amnesty office. Many of them today are facing criminal charges with the EFCC and others.
Michael Johnny is a transparent man, hence nobody has laid any accusation of corruption and fraud against him. This is what he will take to the amnesty office. The president can go to sleep and is assure that Chief Michael Johnny will deliver and will change the story of the presidential amnesty office. Year in and year out, Ex-militants have been crying of their stipends not being paid and students getting stranded in their various places of learning, this is what Johnny will not allow to happen as far as the funds are available.
Johnny is one of the few Niger Delta people who have the interest of the region at heart. Most people are interested in what they will gain for themselves, their families and cronies, but Johnny never thinks like that. In a gathering in Gbaramatu kingdom, he once told the people that the underdevelopment of the region was his biggest concern. He is heavily concerned over the peaceful co-existence of the people, security and infrastructural development of the entire region.
He is concerned over the welfare of the youths in the Niger Delta. For him, the youths must completely lay down their arms and allow, not just peace but permanent peace but permanent peace to reign in the region. The region has passed through turbulent times and he is not interested in more troubles for the zone. He has laid down strategies to bring every youth to order, equip them to find alternative life and create space for unfettered peace in the region.
Johnny was also a former member of Delta waterways security and anti-kidnapping committee. He is very much abreast with the happenings in the region from Akwa-Ibom to Rivers state through Bayelsa and Delta state through to Ondo state. So, he knows the creek and how to bring the youths to understand the programme of the federal government for the development of the region.
During the campaign for the presidential election, Johnny was the Coordinator of Delta South Canvassers for Buhari of the Delta APC. He consistently urged the people of Gbaramatu to go out and vote for Buhari and APC, adding that Buhari is a friend of Gbaramatu kingdom and is ready to change the fortune of the people.
He was endorsed by many Ijaw people and groups for the 2019 Delta south senatorial election. During his campaigns, he told the people that the PDP government failed in Gbaramatu and the entire Niger Delta region. He told the people that President Muhammadu Buhari has genuine commitment to the development of Niger Delta region. He spoke glowingly of the president’s plan for the region.
Various groups have been clamouring for Chief Johnny to emerge as the coordinator of the Presidential amnesty programme. The groups’ belief is based on the fact that he excelled in all the committees he has served where he performed excellently well. His achievements were transparent for the years he served, both in EGCDF and the Delta state waterways security committee. All these are proofs that Johnny is reliable, capable and can be entrusted with greater responsibility to serve the people of Niger Delta in the presidential amnesty office.
In 16th August, 2017 when the anti Buhari protest was rife calling on him to resign, Johnny was the only person that mobilized over 1000 Niger Delta youths for pro Buhari protest asserting that sickness is not a crime and has not violated any portion of Nigeria constitution. Johnny said no matter how many protesters swarm the nation’s capital, Abuja to protest against President Muhammdu Buhari in a bid to force him to resign, such protest does not hold water because his health challenges has not breached any legal or constitutional matters.
While addressing journalists Johnny stressed that there was no requirement for the removal of the President because he was sick, no matter the length of time. According to Johnny President’s illness can only affect his hold on power and stay in office if at least two third of the members of Federal Executive Council ( FEC) become convinced that the President’s illness has permanently incapacitated him from performing the functions of his office.
During the election, he worked tirelessly for the victory of President Muhammadu Buhari. He delivered APC in Gbaramatu kingdom. Johnny was coordinator of many groups championing Buhari’s campaign strategies in Gbaramatu kingdom. He was Coordinator of Canvassers for Buhari in Delta South Senatorial District. He presented Buhari to the Ijaw of the kingdom, advising that Buhari is the only person who has the mind of the Niger Delta region at heart.
He told the people that Buhari was interested in the human capital development of the people of the Niger Delta. He told them that with their level of commitment to the Buhari’s presidency, the president will not forget them in their quest for development.
He told them that President Buhari has good plans for the people of the Niger Delta. He was coordinator of Delta south canvassers for Buhari’s election. He told the people to move away from the PDP as the only hope is in the APC government.
Johnny, who was a core member of the Buhari Presidential Campaign council, moved the people of the area insisting that a vote for Buhari was a vote for the development of the region. His drive for the amnesty office is in furtherance of the actualization of the plan to transform the region and make the youths understand that President Buhari loves Niger Delta.
During the days of the battle for the Maritime University in Gbaramatu kingdom, Chief Johnny was one of those who spearheaded the fight for the establishment of the university in the Gbaramatu kingdom. He resisted moves to sabotage the president’s programme for the university.
Chief Johnny attested to Mr. President’s efforts and genuine concern to restore lasting peace in the Niger Delta, which according to him would eventually metamorphose to rapid human and infrastructural development in the region and make Niger Delta a beautiful bride.
Prior to the general elections, over 4000 indigenes of Gbaramatu kingdom defected to the APC and they were warmly received by Chief Johnny into the party in the kingdom. Though Gbaramatu had always been one of the strongholds of the PDP, home of the Delta state deputy governor, Kingsley Otuaro, many of the people embraced the party as hope in PDP had dwindled.
The vision for the presidential amnesty programme has not been completed. High Chief Michael Johnny is heavily poised to change the sad narratives from the office. If the president finds him good for the office, President Buhari is sure of Johnny delivering in all his programmes for the youths and the entire region. His administration is sure to restore the glory of the amnesty in all fronts.