“But my concern remains that, appointing politicians, that served in the last administration in their various states and have nothing more to show in terms of ideas, innovation, and willpower, leave some of us from that region uncomfortable . There are technocrats who understand the real problem of the region and have the capacity to rebuild the region with the available resources”.
By Mark Orgu, August 30, 2023, News/Comments
The Niger Delta freedom fighter, Major Isaac Jaspa Adaka Boro (1938-1968), and his lieutenants fought gallantly in the interest of the Niger Delta people. He formed the Niger Delta Volunteer Force, an armed militia with members consisting mainly of his fellow Ijaw ethnic group, including Ogoni people. They declared the Niger Delta Republic on 23 February 1966 and fought with federal forces for twelve days before being defeated. They were later charged and jailed for treason but his ideas were not jailed, were not imprisoned, were not killed hence, it was a strength for the Niger Delta people.
Boro and his comrades were tortured and humiliated for asking what belongs to his people. His spirit resurrected in 2000 and 2008 after so many militants caged the region and brought the Nigerian economy to its kneel, by blowing up oil installations in creeks, as oil price dropped while the economy suffered as at then. The militants continued to fight like the Spartan soldiers of the Greek enclave, who never quit or surrender until they all died in the battle field but their names immortalized. That was what Boro and his comrades stood and died for, yet his agitations for a better Niger Delta people and development is still in moribund state.
However, Wikipedia had reminded us that the minorities of the Niger Delta have continued to agitate and articulate demands for greater autonomy and control of the area’s petroleum resources. They justify their grievances by reference to the extensive environmental degradation and pollution from oil activities that have occurred in the region since the late 1950s. However, the minority communities of oil producing areas have received little or no currency from the oil industry and environmental remediation measures are limited and negligible. The region is highly underdeveloped and is poor even by Nigeria’s standards for quality of life. It continued:, “sometimes violent confrontation with the state and oil companies, as well as with other communities has constrained oil production as disaffected youth or organisations deliberately disrupt oil operations in attempts to effect change. These disruptions have been extremely costly to the Nigerian oil industry, and both the multinationals and the federal government have vested interests in permitting uninterrupted extraction operations; the NDDC is a result of these concerns and is an attempt to satisfy the demands of the delta’s population”.
No thanks to former President Olusegun Obasanjo who ordinary knew the struggle of the region and knows the torture the late Major Boro went through on the account of fighting for the developmental liberation of the Niger Delta people but refused to allow the region breathe in 2000 and beyond, until the late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua came to power in 2007, and by September, 2008, he announced the formation of a Niger Delta ministry with the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), including parastatal under the ministry.
However, one of the purposes of NDDC is to train and educate the youths of the oil rich Niger Delta regions to curb hostilities and militancy, build capacity in the area of technical skills, ensure youth social development, while developing key infrastructure to promote diversification and productivity.
These are the opposites of what the commission is, as politicians have always hijack the good intentions of establishing the commission and tried to eat where they did not labour; or contribute to the fight of a better Niger Delta freedom of development, which has denied the region equity and justice- very unfortunate.
Isaac Boro in his book, twelve-day revolution had told us the prevailing circumstances:, “An Ijaw nationalist finds that a state for his people is more of a necessity than a mere desire. A Niger Delta state is a clear case as the people concerned have distinct historical silhouette. Such a demand becomes all the more compelling when the area is so viable, yet the people are blatantly died development and the common necessities of life. If Nigerian governments refuse to do something to drastically improve the lot of people, inevitably a point of no return will be reached; then evil is afoot”.
The truth is that, the basis of establishing NDDC has not yielded its objectives after almost 15 years, but only yielded more corruption, foresight-less of personnel who have politically enriched themselves, friends, families, while living in affluent to the detriment of the Niger Delta people. This has continued from one administration to the other, defeating the purpose of establishing the commission. The current appointment of Board and Management members of the Commission by President Bola Tinubu is good and timely, as urgent attention is needed to revive the dying purpose of establishing the commission. But my concern remains that, appointing politicians, that served in the last administration in their various states and have nothing more to show in terms of ideas, innovation, and willpower, leave some of us from that region uncomfortable . There are technocrats who understand the real problem of the region and have the capacity to rebuild the region with the available resources. these names. Just look at the appointment of President Tinubu of NDDC team:
Mr. Chiedu Ebie – Chairman – Delta
Dr. Samuel Ogbuku – Managing Director / Ceo – Bayelsa
Mr. Boma Iyaye – Executive Director (Finance And Admin) – Rivers
Mr. Victor Antai – Executive Director (Projects) – Akwa-Ibom
Ifedayo Abegunde – Executive Director (Corporate Services) – Ondo
Sen. Dimaro Denyanbofa – State Representative – Bayelsa
Mr. Abasi Ndikan Nkono – State Representative – Akwa Ibom
Rt. Hon. Monday Igbuya – State Representative – Delta
Chief Tony Okocha – State Representative – Rivers
Hon Patrick Aisowieren – State Representative – Edo
Mr. Kyrian Uchegbu – State Representative – Imo
Victor Kolade Akinjo – State Representative – Ondo
Chief Dimgba Eruba – State Representative – Abia
Mr. Asu Oku Okang – State Representative – Cross River
Hon. Nick Wende – Zonal Representative – North Central
Hon. Namdas Abdulrazak – Zonal Representative – North East
Sen. Dr. Ibrahim Abdullahi Gobir – Zonal Representative – North West.
I wish them well, as, Niger Delta people must hold these management team to account and ensure that, a repeat of self-serving agenda, awarding of non-existing projects does not come to play again. The Commission must turn the region to world class development and train its youths on human capacity while creating employment, better health care system, good road community network, water, and establishing of technical training centres across local governments and communities.
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