By Jide Ajani
Just imagine President Goodluck Jonathan, Governors Rotimi Chibuike Amaechi and Seriake Dickson on the Abuja Airport Expressway sitting on the sidewalk at about 8:15 tomorrow morning – a Monday.
Then imagine the three men of South South extraction, suddenly sensing that vehicles are not close by on the four-lane major highway in the direction of the Federal Capital City, FCT, Abuja, dash into the centre lane, sit down, and start rolling dice.
Then imagine this game of suicide is only to prove who among the three is the bravest.
Mind you, there is a prize to be won.
Again, you then imagine, is it not the one among the three that survives from the necessarily impending ghastly motor accident on that highway that would enjoy the prize money?
That is the best way to demonstrate the folly in what the three men have embarked upon.
But for the late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua’s Amnesty Programme, Nigeria’s production capacity and total crude oil output may have dropped to less than 500,000bpd of crude oil. Now that the Amnesty Programme appears to have restored production (not necessarily that it has worked perfectly), the other flank of discontent is majorly the North East geo-political zone of the country, with occasional disruption in the lives of those in the North West zone.
Therefore, in a country of clashing socio-political and economic interests, nay a discombobulating ethno-religious scenario, how else can any sane person describe the sound of the drums of war occasioned by an act of commission on the part of the Federal Government of Nigeria, over which Jonathan presides? It is into this already deadly mix that the two state governors and a president are spoiling for blinded righteousness like heirs of disaster.
Indeed, if for nothing else, it is shameful that all three men are from the South South geo-political zone.
It becomes even more shameful that the three men belong to the same scourge that has continued to rape Nigeria, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Yet, a simple matter of boundary adjustment between two states has now become a matter in which a president, the President and Commander-in-Chief of Nigeria has been insinuated into – mind you, with insults flying from different corners by those who should know better!
In a country where allocations to governments are not necessarily felt by the masses, the correlation between what Bayelsa and Rivers are pushing for and the rolling of dice on the highway is simply that they might all get consumed.
All the sides have recruited people who would speak for the people; people who are concerned because of their standing in society and therefore, their slice of whatever accrues or had always accrued.
On the last day of October, traditional rulers took to the streets in Rivers State.
The bone of contention is the Soku oil fields/oil well that produces about 300,000 barrels of crude oil per day. The unfolding drama, no doubt, requires some degree of diplomacy to handle so as to prevent it from snowballing into bloodletting.
Bayelsa State was carved out of Rivers State in 1996.
The 1st to 10th edition of the administrative map, which depict both states, had always placed Kula, Elem-Sangama, Soku, Idama and Abissa in Rivers State, with the boundary being River Santa Barbara. But the 11th edition of the map moved the boundary and changed all that. Now, the new boundary is River Sombreiro in Nembe area of Bayelsa State, when the provisional 12th edition of the administrative map was released.
Both sides are laying claim to the Soku fields. They are mobilizing their people.
The Revenue Mobilisation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC, has come out to say the allegation that it moved five oil communities from Rivers State was misleading.
Bayelsa State government insists that the latest map shows the oil fields on its territory. Rivers State is claiming that the Federal Government admitted that it made a mistake in the 11th edition of the administrative map and that it promised to correct it in the 12th edition which it has not.
The critically honest question to ask are: Was there a war in Nigeria recently with debilitating effects as to cause a boundary adjustment?
Was there an earthquake or other such seismic activities of gargantuan proportions as to engender the need for boundary adjustment?
Who are the individuals who made the mistake in the 11th administrative map?
What sanctions or punishment would be meted on them for incitement and possible breach of peace in the Niger Delta?
For now, what is going on is no different from the scenario painted above, of a president and two governors rolling dice on the highway – might we add, at rush hour.