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Rivers AC’s Melting-Advise on Petroleum University

By Odimegwu Onwumere

We heard the governors of the South-South are calling for the support of all Niger Deltans to withdraw from the amnesty plan of the Federal Government, if the interests of the region are not protected. The governors were reportedly saying that the Federal Government need to address the issue of post-amnesty plan as well as present a sustainable development plan for the region. According to reports, Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta Statecondemned in strong terms the relocation of the University of Petroleum Technology from Effurun to Kaduna and advised the retention of the institution in Delta State. He said the Petroleum Industry Bill in the Senate should contain provisions like specific allocation of resources, royalties or proceeds from oil explorations that will benefit the region. Governor Uduaghan said in Opuraja, Okpe Council area of Delta state during the traditional marriage between Miss Stella Oyovbaire, daughter of former minister of information, Prof. Sam Oyovbaire and Mr. Jonah Ejenavi, some few days to the end of the month of July. But Governor Uduaghan wasn't alone in that call, Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), Chief Thompson Okpoko, commended him and his colleagues in the South-South geo-political zone for the bold and courageous decision taken to address the issues troubling the zone.

The Rivers State Chapter of AC also threw its weight behind the South-South governors decrying the FG's t idea as a news received with misgivings owing to the fact that the decision ab initioto site the Institutionin Warri was because of its strategic location in the oil rich/crude exploration hub of the nation. One then wonders what Kaduna has to offer in this regard. The AC chieftains therefore said they would like Dr. Rilwanu Lukman the Minister of Petroleum and Dr. Sam Egwu, the Minister of Education - who no doubt as Mr. President's advisers had a hand in mooting this idea, to understand that if this relocation idea is a ploy to justify their appointments or remain in the good books of those behind their appointments, then they have misfired as such an unpopular move will not do the country any good.

“We would however like to advise them to occupy themselves with worthy initiatives that will strengthen their different portfolios. For Egwu, we advise that he intensify negotiations with ASU to call off their strike and allow our children back to their schools. In this regard, We as a party wish to commend and congratulate the South-South Governors Forum for rising from their slumber and recognizing that the PDP-led FG policies are largely anti South-South particularly on this issue of relocating the University of Petroleum, Effurun , Warri to Kaduna State. We urge them to continue to resist every ploy to spite the collective aspiration and integrity of the South-South region. In the same vein, we urge the National Assembly to throw out the Petroleum Industry Bill whenever it is presented before them, as it is not only anti-community but also a slap on the face of the oil producing States and truth be known, the bill has nothing good to offer the country except spell doom,” Chief Eze Chukwuemeka Eze, the party's Publicity Secretary in the state said.

The AC's antagonism came barely four days it enlarged its Executive meeting comprising the elders, Youth Leaders, LG Chairmen Forum, Women Leaders and stakeholders held at the State Secretariat in Port Harcourt on 23rd July, 2009. The Rivers State AC set up 6 key Committees to strengthen the party in Rivers State. The State Chairman of the party, Hon. Badey Suage in his welcome address commended the Leader of the party, Prince Tonye TJT Princewill for his leadership acumen and pragmatism in raising the Party's profile in the state as well as making it a worthy reference point to other AC Chapters around the country.

Buttressing the party's point, Chief Eze went further to say that the FG's idea to relocate the institution is, anti progressive in its entirety, capable of truncating the peace efforts in the Niger Delta and ultimately throwing the region into chaos. As a party desirous of a viable, egalitarian, just and progressive Nigeria, its concern stems largely from the brazen disregard of due process by a government that preaches and constantly expresses its commitment to due process and the rule of law. Furthermore, he said, no peace loving Nigerian can be expected to approve of – leave alone justify — this idea.. We therefore see the whole idea as part of a sinister plan to quicken the disintegration of the Nigerian nation. Worldwide, Trade institutions are located in the immediate vicinity of its production bases, for ease of training and industrial attachment for students. For example, Ship building schools are located along the coast, iron smelting schools in the iron ore belt and Petroleum Institutions where crude exploration is done. There is no gainsaying the Economic benefits accruing from the Strategic locations themselves. We therefore do not understand why the government would choose to conceive such an unpopular idea at this time directed at a region that is still coming to terms with its seemingly marginalization by the FG.

Odimegwu Onwumere is the Founder of Poet Against Child Abuse (PACA), Rivers State. 08032552855. [email protected]