January 8, 2008 (NSV)
Commander Abdel Aziz el Hilu is back in the country after almost two years of absence from political scene. At the time he left Sudan, SPLM and the whole country needed him most.
Abdel Aziz arrived at Juba airport at 5pm; having delayed his arrival for more than four hours in Nairobi where the plane carrying him went through some difficulties with one of the tyres.
Speculations on the fate of Abdel Aziz will end today as he lands in GoSS headquarters. His long awaited return will be a big boost to SPLM, especially to the people of the Nuba Mountains who stood strong against repressive NIF government.
Abdel Aziz was received by highly empowered delegation from GoSS and some Darfur's revolutionary movements still consulting and unifying ranks in Juba. "We took him to Grand Hotel here in Juba where he will be staying for some times," revealed an excited aide. Abdel Aziz is expected to address CPA's commemoration tomorrow at Dr. John Garang's Mausoleum in Juba.
"He is the most senior SPLM in Juba now, serious preparation is underway. Dr. Riak Machar, Pagan Amum and President Salva Kiir are all in Khartoum," Samuel Lado, a jubilant Juba citizen told NSV. It is expected that Abdel Aziz will proceed to join CPA grand celebrations in Wau.
Asked what his expectations are after now returning home for business, Abdel Aziz replied, "We have to strengthen CPA and politically, SPLM should work hard in the coming days. NCP, as a major partner should help in implementation of CPA so that services can reach the marginalized."
On Darfur Abdel Aziz said; "Peace must be brought to Darfur because SPLM is struggling to bring peace in the region, peace that will be enjoyed by every Sudanese. Powers must come through democratic process with free election. Citizens must stand with CPA."
Abdel Aziz Adam el Hilu who replaced late Yousif Kuwa Mekki in March, 2001 as the governor and SPLA commander of Nuba Mountains is the most prominent figure from the area. During negotiations that led to CPA, Abdel Aziz represented his people throughout the peace process which gave Nuba people the right of popular consultations and a state government with their involvement.
His most successful period was when he visited Julud, western front in the Nuba Mountains with Dr. John Garang in late 2004. When SPLM and NCP formed national unity government on 9th July 2005, Abdel Aziz became Deputy Secretary of the SPLM, Northern Sector based in Khartoum.
With heavy task and limited budget, Abdel Aziz went to the US for personal reason that involved treatment. His abrupt disappearance was circulated by NCP press that he resigned from the SPLM. The man had remained silent but only cited concerns for his health. SPLM delegations visited Washington at least twice. Each time the delegation was there, Abdel Aziz was among them, giving hope that he was still in the movement.
Being from the Nuba Mountains, though CPA never satisfied his people fully, Abdel Aziz stuck to SPLM vision and manifesto. He avoided what Cdr. Telefon Kuku and Nuba veteran politician Philip Abbas Gaboush did by saying; "SPLM and south Sudanese used the Nuba people and dumped them."
With Daniel Kodi Angelo in the Nuba Mountains and now Abdel Aziz at home, SPLM is being revitalized to help bring services to the citizens of the Nuba Mountains and the whole marginalized areas.
It is to be recalled that as a young officer in May 1991, Abdel Aziz accompanied Daud Yahyah Bolad to open new front in Darfur. That mission ended in tragedy when the Fur unanimously rejected SPLA in the region. Bolad paid the ultimate price while defeated Abdel Aziz retreated back in the bushes of southern Sudan where he played a role in security section within the movement until his new call after the passing on of Yousif Kuwa Mekki in 2001.
When SPLM ministers rejoined government of national unity on 27th December, 2007, rumors went wild in Khartoum that Abdel Aziz was on his way either to become a minister or become SPLM's Secretary General, replacing Pagan Amum, the current man occupying that post.
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