Niger Delta Brains of Valor take a Back Seat to Militants
 By Farouk Martins Aresa

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This is not a fair world, as you can see the fingers are not equal. Take it or leave it was an advice of a Jewish friend who learned from his parents. Where we part is, accepting it. We have brothers and sister of valor from Niger Delta who went to the best schools in the world and command the respect of all of us. Yet, they are not the one negotiating for their area today. Brute forces are in control. Men of valor can only negotiate if there are men of the same caliber on the other side.

The failure of the educated and the broad minded in that region to get adequate concessions for their people have put boys who can neither read nor write in the driver's seat, demeaning those with brains and valor. They learned something from the late strongman of Ibadan. Thugs can take charge and play politics with their oppressors instead of letting politicians do it for them. So, those who used to be political thugs graduated to negotiators with the Head of State.

They are so powerful, they would sack any politician that represented their areas who did not pay homage to their new found might. Most of them were courted from the village heads to the governors. If you have never heard before, like the strongman of Ibadan, they claimed security votes belonged to them if the governor wanted peace in the state. Like Anambra State, militants dictated to governors which state taxes they would collect and engage in oil bunkering.

Indeed, any reasonable Niger Deltan who did everything their parents asked of them to become respectable man or woman in the society, played by the rules and paid his dues must be wondering where they went wrong. The ones that never finished schools and went astray are getting all the educated and not so lettered girls. It is not so clear-cut, as some ruffians mix with the broadminded.

Believe it or not, girls play a very important role in the development of boys. They follow the smarts boys in schools, at least in our days. Girls can spot a boy with a promising career, a future provider with good prospect. Now that graduates are jobless and militants are laughing all the way to the banks, it does not take a very smart fellow to predict where the advantages are. Militants now go abroad for medical checks and vacations.

The numbers of militants have grown in every village in Nigeria for fear of outside militant dictating to the locals. Apart from political militants, we also have religious and social militants all over the Country. Some people have equated the demand of political militants with that of Boko Haram, religious militants that were equally dealt with in the North; claiming double standard. Most Nigerians can objectively distinguish between political militants on the defensive and religious militants on the offensive trying to replace one foreign influence with another all over Nigeria.

There is a problem though. Those without brainpower and foresight live for the day. It takes more than a day to plan a community, a state or a country. If this is restricted to Niger Delta alone, we may think that only that part of the Country is in danger. The whole of Nigeria is. Violence in our Country has become the first method of offence or defense. We have constituted and organized crude form of violence only short of nuclear attack. That is the language of the day.

As we reward militants because we cannot come up with alternate solution like investment and development in the Niger Delta area as we did in Abuja, we bribe militant boys the same way we bribed their political leaders who failed; hoping to buy more time before this failure becomes obvious. We know better, we know we are being selfish, we know the problem will not go away until we do what is right.

Recently, it almost provoked a civil war within the children of Oduduwa. Ignorant militants could care less if they were Ijaw or Yoruba. They just wanted the most publicity while evil wishers urged for more sabotage in areas controlled by one another. If they could kidnap, maim and kill their own innocent grandmother and babies, what difference would it make if you were Ijaw, Itsekiri, Yoruba, Urhobo, Igbo or Hausa?

It will be disingenuous to ignore those who think we can go on bribing the poor people to work against one another, fight and kill one another until they run out of resources. A Yoruba proverb says that a baby that keeps the mother up all night will not sleep either. Oppressors have nowhere to run to and nowhere to hide. They will come after you and your children even in your sleep.

The plight of those in Niger Delta is more pronounced because they are being raped first by politicians and now by militants while their environment is degraded at the same time. The amount of money their politicians got and the amount that were negotiated with militants may be big for an individual but small compared to collective dues. We cannot identify the good use of the money in their area.

It has been noted that if each of our politicians or militricians had chosen a cause and devoted each of their loot to that single cause, we would have had some electricity, local roads, some housing, many farms with storage capacities and could have enjoyed cell phones before Togo or Benin Republic. We are so helpless, if any of our governors plant flowers, clean the environment, or pay salaries, we are ecstatic. Please do not make fun of us, we have been deprived for too long.

We cannot eradicate corruption completely and no country has. Despite that Indonesia, India, Pakistan and Singapore built infrastructures creating employment and luring capable citizens from outside back to their countries to contribute to the development needed to leap into modern age. The prospect of a few half-devils Nigerians who got rich one way or another as the new waves of hopeful, solid and reliable source of infrastructure is a new sign of helplessness.

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