by Nwokocha Noble
After the election of President M. Buhari in 2015, the crisis rocking the nation has persisted even as they were amongst many others the campaign promises of the ruling All Progressive Congress (APC). These problems include but not limited to the Boko-Haram insurgency, Niger Delta Militancy, Dollar-Naira Dominance, Fuel Scarcity, Economic Recession etc. But it is a bit scary and unexpected that these crisis that was mitigating against the Nigerian populace still, and we don’t know how long it will take to clear these things.
My emphasis will be on the supposed negotiations between the Niger Delta Avengers, Niger Delta People, Nigeria and the Nigerian Government.
According to the Niger Delta Avengers, they emanated to fight for the emancipation of the Niger Delta people. Because, according to them (and it’s clearly visible), the Niger Delta is highly neglected, marginalised, and made to beg for the things that nature or God deposited to them in their own lands. First of their agitation is the owning of oil wells by the Northerners and some influential people from the South-Western part of Nigeria.
It was, it is, and if not taken care of now, it will still be owned and possessed by these few elites.
It is imperative to state that the owners of the Lands have no share as even the 13% derivation is used to do other projects even outside the lands.
Whether or not the fight being fought by the NDA is a just one, they have bombed pipelines and other oil facilities and generally it has affected the income and well being of the various states, the region and Nigeria at large.
Well meaning Nigerian have at various times called for the NDA to sheath their swords and embrace peace but they didn’t. The federal government also called for a dialogue so that a truce can be reached. Initially, the people running the affairs of the Niger Delta Avengers refused but at the long run, the Avengers have agreed to come to terms with the Federal Government.
Last week, one of our finest Elder Statesmen Chief Edwin Clark was mentioned by the NDA to lead the discussion and negotiations between them and the Government. Already, Elder Clark has earlier called for a South-South stakeholders meeting before this his appointment.
But since that appointment, a lot of controversies have emanated. Major reasons being that, he- Clark- was mentioned by some aggrieved militants that he was among the people sponsoring the Niger Delta Avengers alongside President GEJ, Gov. Wike and other top politicians in the region; also that Elder Clark has for decades enriched himself from the struggle of the Niger Deltans and he has been declared unfit to lead this truce breaking delegation. Though, these issues raised are done by just members of the Niger Delta and not the participants or the engine room of the NDA.
I believe (that’s why I am writing this piece) that the delegation been sent to the government now is too early and it is not presently in the best interest of the Niger Delta People. I am not say that the people selected are bad or unfit for the position but the reason for the supposed negotiation is small and not enough. Otherwise, it will benefit a few of the avengers, elders and politicians and some other big boys from the Niger Delta.
If the Niger Delta Avengers have been and are still fighting for the Niger Deltans, then before this delegation should go to Aso Rock, an expanded stakeholders meeting should be convened. These stakeholders meeting should comprise the following delegates:
1. All the youth bodies from the villages where there are oil and gas deposits.
2. All the students’ bodies from the villages where there are oil and gas deposits.
3. All the women leaders of the villages where there are oil and gas deposits.
4. All the chiefs of the villages where there are oil and gas deposits.
5. All the households that have oil and gas deposits.
6. All the LGA chairmen where there are oil and gas deposits.
7. All the local and major research centres in the villages or LGA or states that have oil and gas deposits.
8. Representatives from the current government in the LGA, state where there are oil and deposits.
9. Representatives from at least three leading opposition parties in the LGA, state where there are oil and gas deposits.
10. Representatives of all the tertiary institutions situated in the LGA and state that have oil and gas deposits.
11. King of Clans and Kingdoms where there are oil and gas deposits.
12. And at least 10 elders from each state that has oil and gas deposits.
Points to Note
1. It is salient to differentiate if this meeting is for the entire Niger Delta Region which includes the South-South States, Imo, Ondo, and Lagos (which was added week(s) ago) or just the South-South states alone (since that is where the agitation is coming from).
2. If a particular community or village as may be called is having both oil and gas mineral deposits such communities should have two delegates from the aforementioned list.
Any decision gotten at the end of such meeting should be what to send to the Federal Government, the President in Particular.
I know that a lot of people will call this writing greedy, malicious or self centered but sincerely speaking, it is the truth.
Come to think of it, if the delegation is just the one sent by the NDA, it will take yearning (welfares) of the NDA alone or those people. But if the all encompassing meeting is called, then the students, women, youths, etc. will know their stands in such negotiations otherwise as usual, the elders will go, discuss among themselves, take decisions and the details (DETAILS with emphasis) of such agreement will not be made. Known and those privileged few that attended will benefit out rightly and within a short while, the boys will go back to the creeks.
I call on the media houses to propagate this message with the intents it has so as not to be confused and also for the governments to look into it.
Op–ed pieces and contributions are the opinions of the writers only and do not represent the opinions of Y!/YNaija
Nwokocha Noble writes from Omoku, Rivers State and can be reached on Twitter via @harcourtnoble