Ijaw Youths Protest: Why Not Mobilize Us To Occupy The National Assembly/aso Rock Instead? That Is Where Our Problems Are Conjured From.
The activities of the Niger Delta Development Commission(NDDC) is similar to that of the Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission(OMPADEC) and its likes.
The OMPADEC was set up in the '90s to develop the rural and urban areas in the Niger Delta. The NDDC is just a remodeled interventionist' development' agency to cover the length and breadth of the Niger Delta region.
Unfortunately, after 21years of the creation of the NDDC, it has become everything corruption, but development to the Niger Delta region and the people. Simply put, the NDDC is indeed a cesspool of corruption in Nigeria. In fact, I make bold to say that the agency is created to fail.
It is common knowledge that in the last 21years, the NDDC is tactically used to rather develop Lagos, Kano, Katsina, Sokoto, Kaduna and Abuja. It is known fact that, thieves, stooges and persons with questionable character always tops the list of the board's appointment in the past 21years.
Bizarrely, the current administration deviced a means of stealing the NDDC funds with a Nom de plume called "Interim Management Committee(IMC)... Although pundits have argued that this IMC is alien to the Act that created the NDDC, but these pleas have been proven abortive by the Buhari administration.
For 'only-God-knows' reasons, the Buhari administration treats all the agencies that should develop the Niger Delta region with calculated levity. A classical example is the Presidential Amnesty Program(PAP) which ought to have a substantive Cordinator, but the Buhari's administration prefers to make light of that program by reducing the powers of the Cordinator to what it now calls 'Interim Administrator'. This is another wonderful Greek gift from this government to the Niger Delta people.
Today, the Ijaw Youth Council calling for the appointment of a substantive board of the NDDC is indeed very welcomed. In fact, this call should also extend to the appointment of a substantive 'Cordinator' of the Presidential Amnesty Program(PAP)', however, it is the President's prerogative to do so.
NOW, TO THE CRUX OF THIS POST.
As much as I sincerely salute the courage of the leadership of the Ijaw Youth Council on their recent engagement, I want to differ a little with the model and approach.
First of, bull runs are made in designated places because matadors do not fight bull runs in the market place.
Let me explain:
This call for evacuation of the IOCs and their personnel from the Niger Delta region within seven days is like turning the Niger Delta region into a war zone. If my mind is not playing tricks on me, the pattern of this protest will cause more harm than good to the region.
On the one hand, we are all calling for the IOCs to relocate their headquarters to the region, then on the other hand, we are coercing them to evacuate their personnel out of the region because we want to 'force' Buhari to appoint a substantive board for the NDDC. As beautiful as this call is, the approach is wrong and not well thought out in my opinion.
I repeat, I support the call for the constitution of a substantive board of the NDDC, but neither would President Buhari or any of his aides will bat an eyelid if the East-West road is blocked for days.
Instead, you can mobilize us to occupy the National Assembly(NASS) and the Presidential Villa where the people who cause us this pain reside.
The powers the IOCs have in causing all the exploitation and despoliation of our land, seas and waters all come from the NASS and the Presidential Villa. This protest should be targeted at them not to further impoverish the people you claim to fight for.
Think about the emotional, physical, economic and social stress this protest would cause on our people. Besides, strategically, no one takes fight to his land. A good and strategic fighter takes the war away from home to the enemies camp.
This protest is not necessary in the Niger Delta, take it to Abuja where the decision would be made. Do not forget, the Nigerian Government is not only recalcitrant, but lawless and anti-people. Plus, the security agencies are never professional, they will always take laws into their hands.
Every non-strategjc protests in the region ends up becoming another holocaust day for the Niger Delta region; as this government will not hesitate to seize any opportunity to unleash terror on the armless and defenseless people. This protest happening in the Niger Delta is nothing but an attempt to light up the flame of another avoidable crisis.
We should not give more reasons to the IOCs to leave our region. Just recently, the the SPDC subtly profiled the Niger Delta as unsafe for them to do business, hence, their resolve to further divest all assets and move deep offshore. Very soon, other IOCs will follow the SPDC's pattern.
Protests are good and this one is commendable, but the approach and pattern should be revisited.
The need for critical analysis is imperative.
As always, I come in peace!
Maobuye Nangi Obu
Former IYC Presidential Candidate, 2020.