As a patriotic citizen of Nigeria, my actions and inactions have always been geared towards upholding the integrity, prestige and the progress of my country in general. This inert consciousness has always stimulate in me, an extraordinary urge to write and make conceited attempts to draw our attention to and remind us of the rot that we have acquiesced to, and the consequences lurking at the corner.
Further down, I am, according to the Nigerian geopolitical parlance, a Niger Deltan from the South South extraction and whenever i remember that the biggest oil fields lay in the vast Southern swamps of the Niger Delta, it also occur to me that I am supposed to be happy. I didn’t know at the time, that oil drills suck up natural gas with crude, and that the pollution was turning a natural Paradise for birds, insects and uncommon diseases.
Historically, it is to be reminded that the name “Nigeria” was taken from the “Niger River” running through the country. This name was allegedly coined in the late 19th Century by a British Journalist Flora Shaw who later married Baron Frederick Lugard, the Colonial Administrator.
It is to be noted that Baron Lugard found a serene home in Itu, the Southern swamps area of what is now known as Nigeria. The location has long been geographically defined as a territory in the oil rich Akwa Ibom State.
Niger Delta should be Nigeria’s star. Its oil reserves and supplies is the biggest in Afrca. Within its borders is some of Africa’s best farmland, and of its coast some of its richest seas. But for most Nigerians, this has been less than stellar.
Every era has its own peculiar needs. In the 80’s it was environmental exploitation issues, and Kenule Saro Wiwa was there to show it to the world. In the 90s there was need to increase the percentage of the Niger Delta enclave, from the resources derived thereunder and Victor Attah, a Governor of one of its states was there to answer the call.
In the 20th and 21st Century, the challenges exploded more than tripling. The area slipped ever lower after in global rankings of health and poverty, and life expectancy reduced to insignificant number, around two thirds of its citizens still live in absolute poverty with polluted water and lack of serviceable roads. It was in the news recently that flood has taken over the former President Jonathan’s village. This is even after six years as Nigerian President and recent discovery by the EFCC of cash, amounting to billions and in dollars in his wife’s bank account.
Why did what should have been a National collossus becomes a continental embarrassment?
The main reason is not the atrocious government, it is the attitude of its present generation of youths. I was still in High School when the the duo of Henry Okah and Asari Dokubo started the Movement for the Emancipation of Niger Delta and Niger Delta Volunteer Force respectively. Their struggles yielded positive results as it led to some reforms and the establishment of NDDC and subsequently, Ministry of Niger Delta. However, we lost our mojo when they agreed and accepted the late President Yar Adua’s Greek gift of amnesty, training and reintegration of what they call Ex militants. From this moment, we lost our mojo, out of greed.
Amnesty connotes a negative antecedent for the recipient and a bad precedent for the future. It is to me, a sort of an anathema against the future, and so you see the Avengers bending their stance at a slightest promise of amnesty by the Federal Government. Because It has beçome a yardstick for measuring the struggle. It has become the Summum Bonum of the struggle. The struggle for the emancipation of Niger Delta was lost since 2003 when the fighters accepted to dine in Aso Rock in return of their struggle instruments, it was lost when they chose to live rather than die like Saro Wiwa, it was lost when they decided to betray the common pains and shared experiences of pains and sorrows. Have they ever asked themselves why their activities do not over awe the President? It is because he knows the price tag. Minister Amaechi has already started the process and sooner, Niger Delta Avenger will be a thing of the past while the rot iñ the area continues.
It is imperative that we stay resolute in our determination to emancipate the Niger Delta if we are to regain our mojo. It was not this bad when Southern Sudan pushed and opted out of Sudan, it is time,perhaps, to remind Nigeria that in the dirt- poor Southern Delta, where the resources of the country are gathered, the deprivation has turned into a full fledged anger and that it takes only a social revolution to tear down any Federal apathy.
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