Â LAGOSâ€“ THE Bayelsa State Governor, Chief Timipre SylvaÂ made a strong case for the next President to come from the Niger Delta.
According to him, the region was very ripe to produce the President in 2011, and that he was proud that at last the region has produced a President, in the person of Dr Goodluck Jonathan.Â Â
Governor Sylva who spoke at the public presentation of ‘Dear Baby Ramatu and Mandelaâ€™s Bones and Other Poems’ written by Chairman, Editorial Board of The Nation, Mr Sam Omatseye said: â€œWe deserve to be considered to carry on with the leadership of the country. The Niger Delta deserves this opportunity. The Niger Delta should be considered for presidency in the coming election.
â€œWhatever zoning arrangement is being made, we should realise that the Niger Delta is ripe for Presidency,â€ he said.
As the governor was being ushered out of the hall when he leaving, as passed the podium, he bent towards the microphone and said: â€œI wonâ€™t leave without reminding you to remember to give the Presidency to the Niger Delta in 2011.â€
He recalled that the region has been a very important part of Nigeria . It was part of Oil River Protectorate, and after the amalgamation, it played a major role in the fight for independent.
Nigeria, he said, became an oil-producing country in 1956 and two years later, became an oil exporter â€œbecause of the existence of the Niger Delta.â€ Today, he added, Nigeria is recognised in the comity of nations â€œbecause Niger Delta continues to play its role.â€
When they were called upon to drop their weapons and embrace amnesty, they agreed, he said. â€œThe Lord has been on our side. Now, nature has opened the door to a leadership that is from the Niger Delta,â€ which he said deserves to go beyond this term.
On the books, Gov. Sylva lauded Omatseye, describing him as one who has carved a niche for himself. Addressing the author, he said: â€œIt is you I have come to praise. Welcome home. You have come home to the mother of all literary forms.â€
He said the poems have brought back the beauty of poetry into hearts, adding: â€œI enjoyed the racy style. You ignored punctuation marks, which is good, because it represents Nigeriaâ€™s political style which races on without full stops and punctuation marks. Things happen so fast that if you donâ€™t pay attention, you may miss the point.â€
Also, the former Lagos State Governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, represented by former Commissioner for Information and Strategy, Mr Dele Alake, said the problem with Nigeria was that it lacked leaders with strong intellectual base.
He said the country had never had knowledgeable and visionary leadership, until the late President Umaru Yarâ€™Adua assumed office as the first university graduate to do.
â€œThe failure of governance in Nigeria has been due to lack of intellectualism in governance. If we bring in eggheads to man our political offices, thereâ€™s no way we wonâ€™t have a working country because intellectuals reason differently.
â€œWe should all, like Omatseye, make intellectual contributions to our society; at the end of the day, Nigeria will be the better for it. This intellectual event is a small pointer to the direction the country should move.â€