Whether we like it or not, bad governance and political irresponsibility have never constructed the greatness of any human society. The peace, progress and development of every nation are forever predicated on, and guaranteed by responsible and visionary leadership which pilot the affairs of the state with enormous sense of duty. These foregoing cannot be divorced from the present quest to redesign the Niger Delta as a region that has become increasingly hostile to its inhabitants.
History testifies to these facts. Niger Delta as any challenged enclave in the world has not yet found it bearing simply because good leadership has eluded the region. Men of honour have not been in the vanguard of administering and championing its course.
Historically, one can confidently equate the Niger Delta conundrum to Great Roman Empire, America after the Great Depression, Great Britain after the Nazism and Germany after the war. whereas record has it that Caesar was reputed to have found Rome a city of brick, but left it a city of marble, while Franklin D Roosevelt (FDR) gave America the new deal which not only brought it out of the great depression, but jump stated a socio – economic renaissance that today, was reputed to have brought America at the pinnacle of global dominance, while Winston Churchill led Britain during its darkest hours ; leading it to victory from the jaws of the Nazi death and destruction, while Konrad Adanauer and Friedrich Ebert inspired the Germans post war miracle which today set Germany out as one of the world’s economic giants, the Niger Delta and Nigeria’s problems have however become as complex as astronomy (apology to Eddy Edivwri of This Day) in this 21st century world simply because we lack icons of history to make legendary and remarkable impact to solving the region’s problem. Also, china that we all admire today was carefully and rigidly managed by men who nursed a vision of socio – economic dominance.
After a careful study of the Niger Delta crisis, it is rather unfortunate that the travail of the region, the socio – economic disequilibrium, militant anxiety and the secessionist agitations in the region are direct consequences of bad governance occasioned by league of buccaneers that have held the people hostage for the past years. It is rather unfortunate that some Presidential Aspirants are even canvassing for the creation of ministry of Niger Delta to ensure the perpetuation of looting in Abuja – Nigeria’s supreme axis of pretense.
Leadership as observed by one public commentator is more than a compilation of some delirious meandering of synaptic import. It is important to see leadership as a call to serve the masses and the zeal to inspire fellow citizens with apostolic zest unlike the nebulous college of looters that parade themselves in the Niger Delta as messiahs. Leadership is for true patriots. In summary, leadership is all about giving. Ask JF Kennedy! From Presidential to Local Council candidates, anybody that lacks the will to give a purposeful leadership in the troubled region should be rejected by the politically awaken people of the region as leadership changes hand.
For instance, each presidential candidate has seen reason to rent the air with statement such as; I will change the fortune of the Niger Delta people without concretely stating how to go about it. The brazenness of governance in the region in the past years is so naked that the rural populace drink from the water they defecate in. this, I am saying from experience as a development worker in the region. It is therefore rational to situate the crisis in the region in the precedent years as failure of governance across all level of our national life. J F Kennedy observed long time ago that if a free society cannot help the many who are poor; it can never save the few who are rich.
If hunger wakes the poor to insomnia, fear will invite the rich to awake. That is the law of social existence. The present insecurity and other sundry agitation in the ruined region is a clear manifestation of the above long time axiom where the elite in complete concurrence with expatriates steal every resource thereby leaving the poor to swim in abject poverty and crumbs.
This writer’s experience in the region’s communities as regards social infrastructure that is totally lacking has further reinforced the level of incompetence and insanity of a bunch of leaders so brash that dominates our country despite the huge resources therein! How can a man be in the midst of water and yet have no water to drink? Isn’t this the sorry irony of the Niger Delta?
For instance if all the oil producing region has to advertise is hostage taking, absence of electricity, health care, roads, mind boggling poverty, street filled with filth, and refuse, why then should we contest the fact that, when the likes of Richard Gozny say leadership is the bane of the region; when it is obvious that the past and present day misrulers have helped them arrived at such conclusions.
The most important aspect of this development is the opportunity the present democratic transition offers. It is rather very instructive for the people in the delta to choose candidates that look, sound and exude credibility. Considering the absence of plausible leadership, monumental avarice, brazen inequality and social dissension in the region, supporting the candidates of these largely failed and profligate governors to access and control their resources legitimately - certainly means their rendezvous with greatness is automatically postponed ad infinitum.
It is terribly bad that hospital in even some of the states capitals are practically out of drugs and equipments and few Doctors loitering around will watch you die if you have no deposit. Bearing in mind the enormous wealth embedded in this poverty stricken land, there exists no logic, excuse or circumstances that can justify the level of misrule and crass incompetence prevalent in the region in terms of administering governance except if the will is lacking couple with desire for self aggrandizement. The above statement defies all explanation and constitutes the greatest example of the colossal failing of mankind and man inhumanity to man especially from the outgoing leadership in Nigeria. Today the region and by extension Nigeria has become a huge paradox of everything that is evil, wrong and hopeless.
Recently the senate president, Ken Nnamani was quoted as saying all the countries Nigeria took off together in nationhood have tragically left us behind. One can even safely the ones with criminally bad record of terrorism, dictatorship and lack can boast of functional and efficient basic infrastructure and services with good level of social welfare in spite of their meager resources. Ours is a direct opposite – poverty amidst plenty. Or can someone explain the fact that despite the records amount in our coffers we still grope in perpetual and endless dungeon of poverty?
I enjoin all our Presidential Aspirants and respective aspirants from the following areas to pay a campaign visit to Tamigbe, Ozobo, Agbogene in Delta State and Ayama, Aleibiri, Isampou, Peretorugbene, Gesmiebo all in Bayelsa State and Akaolu in Ahoada west, Obele, Rumuekpe in Emohua; Rivers states to see the dehumanizing condition in which the Niger Delta people tragically find themselves. It is a case of total disconnect in the following Ogoni land in Rivers state – Bere, Teemana, Agbani – Lueku, Gbe, Giokoo, Kira – Tai and Kporgor. I can go on and on. These ironically are the three richest states in Nigeria in view of their federal allocation and sundry incomes.
In these communities, one can witness the extent to which the Niger Delta governors with the full cooperation and facilitation of the oil companies and Federal Government have held their subject; who were seen as slave rather than as citizen in contempt. These “leaders” have demonstrated more self-centeredness than anything else. Infact, Nigeria has failed the Niger Delta!
To end with, as these governors and their collaborators exit the various Government Houses, all effort must be stepped in to bring the full hammer of justice on those leaders that have failed the people. This will serve as deterrent to the in coming leadership.