Wake Up! Niger Delta Region, Wake Up!!
By Okenyi Kenechi
The Niger Delta region is sleeping on duty. Any day they wake up, Nigeria will disintegrate. There is no other factor holding this country together than the inability of the region to get hold of itself.
In the 60s, Isaac Adaka Boro wanted a Niger Delta Country because most companies operating in the region had their headquarters in Enugu. Today, the companies operating in the region have their headquarters in Lagos. Decisions for the resources of this region are made in Lagos and Abuja.
I have followed up with the issues of OML25 in Kula between SPDC and Belema Oil. I have been observing keenly the situation between OGBELE, UBUMEZE and OSHUIGBOKO communities and NDPR.
If this region is good to be polluted due to oil exploration, what makes it not good for these companies to have their headquarters in the region? Why should NNPC have its headquarters in Abuja? Is there oil in Abuja? Why should NOSDRA have its headquarters in Abuja? Why should Hyprep have its headquarters in Abuja? Why should the MNCs have their headquarters in Lagos?
When you relate these headquarters outside the region to jobs, you will understand that the region is the highest marginalised in the world and they don’t seem to care.
The loud excuse given is insecurity but insecurity in the Niger Delta region is a federal government project. Agriculture and other sustaining lifestyles are dying. In Gokana coastal communities, people can’t fish any more. Worse still, battle for survival due to bunkering has skyrocketed killings in the region.
While MNCs fund entertainment programmes in Lagos, they largely do not care about artists in the Niger Delta. These artists are forced to relocate to Lagos in order to be heard. Burna Boy, Timaya, Timi Dakolo, Duncan Mighty, et al. The Seki Dance didn’t garner much attention because it happened in PH.
But the region is losing in more ways than one. Belema Oil, during his fight to take over OML25 from SPDC had to go to Sokoto and Katsina to build schools, dig bore holes and build roads so as to be in the good books of those in power but the state of education in his home state is nothing to write home about. Yet, I won’t deny knowledge of his scholarship program and those he has sent abroad for studies but the state of primary and secondary education in the oil rich Rivers State is abysmally poor.
Niger Delta has access to sea but are rendered dormant for one state to thrive. They have oil. They have gas. They have everything needed to be a country but don’t have the will to say this is what I want. That is why their resources are being used to feed the rest of the country while they die.
Dangote is building his refinery in Lagos but won’t source his crude from Gombe. Why was the refinery not built in Ahoada West to create jobs for the local population suffering pollution from oil exploration?
The civil War ended not because of the gowon’s military might but largely due to the cooperation of the region with federal government. The animosity between Niger Delta and her Igbo neighbour lingers up to date due to the abandoned property saga.
Any day that the Niger Delta region says “We take back our resources, we nor do again”, this country will break up or be forced to restructure.
Forget the gra gra from Buhari and his brothers. They are largely enabled by the inability of the Niger Delta to decide.
Now is still morning.