Niger-Deltan Governors Should Go Into Commercial Fishing—Super Comrade Evah
Super Comrade Joseph Evah is the coordinator of the Ijaw Monitoring Group (IMG) and a Niger-Deltan activist with a difference. He is one of the articulated voices in Nigeria whose activism and views have helped to provide a notable platform for the Niger- Deltans.
In this exclusive interview with Godday Odidi, he spoke extensively on the recent #30 million empowerment of Niger- Deltans in Lagos through the incumbent Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Dickson Seriake and other related issues affecting the country.
How will you evaluate President Goodluck Jonathan's leadership at this present security challenges in the Northern parts of the country?
Well, President Goodluck Jonathan should work for the people and that is all. Security challenges will not prevent Jonathan from not contesting election in 2015. If he works for the masses, they will vote for him.
The Chibok girls' abduction by Boko Haram members recently prompted the USA authorities to offer security assistance to Nigerian government; do you see it as a welcome development in Nigeria?
Yes of course! USA is going to offer Nigeria an intelligent network to fight against terrorism in the country. Since 2001 terrorist attack in USA, they have developed new strategies of dealing with terrorists in the world. We don't want what happened in Pakistan or Afagistan in Nigeria because of our population. We want the USA to train our military officers on intelligence network to deal with these criminal elements.
Can you tell us about the #30 million empowerment from the incumbent Governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Dickson Seriake to Niger-Deltans in Lagos recently?
We have been giving empowerment before now in this noble office of ours to support the Niger-Deltans in Nigeria. The governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan sent his Commissioner for Poverty and Alleviation to give us empowerment before. For the past 7years, this office has been giving empowerment to Niger-Deltans in Lagos.
Those in government felt that what I am doing personally to reduce suffering from our people, they need to support it that was why the governor of Bayelsa State, Hon. Dickson Seriake told the people that the money is not free. It is not money meant for lazy people to dine and wine with but you have to pay back any money given to you.
Most of the money are given to the cooperatives which they are paying back in due time. If they don't pay back, the government will sanction them. Today most money given to these Niger-Deltan cooperatives, they are paying back. This #30million is not for all Niger-Deltans but for people who are in cooperative societies.
The money is not for unserious people without vision but people who will use the money to work and refund to the government. A lot of people are criticizing the present Bayelsa State governor that he does not share money for people, they give a lot of complains against the governor but he does not believe in sharing free money like that than hard work.
He believes that you must work before money. That is why they say I should stand as a mediator to the money and nothing else. Our people in Lagos are hard-working and so they know what to do with the money. We are not afraid not to give money to our people and they will definitely pay back to the government.
You are one of the major Niger- Deltan Supporters who has used his resources to help the poor people, Have you able to reduce poverty in the land?
It is not easy to eradicate poverty in Nigeria; we are just trying to adjust the situation. You cannot even eradicate poverty in advanced countries like the USA and United Kingdom. Three years ago in UK, some youths looted shops and killed people due to joblessness in the land and it was not terrorism and government was able to curtain the situation. A friend of mine also said to me that Ukraine is far better than Nigeria in terms of food security.
The Chibok girls' abduction is not just poverty but as a result of idleness of youths in that parts of the country. If the youths over there are engaged, they cannot involve in such deadly mission. We cannot eradicate poverty but we can minimize it to some extent. Even I have criticized Hon. Dickson Seriake's government and others in the Niger- Deltans who are not investing on fishing business in the region.
Even in Lagos, they encourage fishing; even most of these fishes are from our Niger-Delta States. We don't have fishing trawlers in Niger- Delta to encourage commercial fishing to prevent youth restiveness in our states. We have great potential fishermen in the region not encouraged by these so-called political classes. But we have to start from somewhere now.
What is your advice for President Goodluck Jonathan?
I have said it before; he should work for the people to get his votes in 2015.