By Tony Uranta
â€œAn error does not become a mistake until you refuse to correct itâ€â€¦Orlando Battista
Dear Prime MinisterÂ GordonÂ Brown, Britain is back in the news in the Niger Delta following the revelation by Nigeriaâ€™s Minister of State for Defence that you may still send military aid to that hellish nation in response to the lowered production of crude in the Niger Delta (read this as â€œthe reduction in supply of energy sources to the industrialized nationsâ€).
Will this be in the form of submarines or SAS troops to shoot the canoes or commando-style kill the agitators in the creeks respectively?
Whilst we know that Britain has never stopped overtly and covertly empowering the military might of the Nigerian state, we wonder if you are ready to pay the possible price of being seen, at this moment in Nigeriaâ€™s history, as the main backer of a nation that is perceived as being at war with a section of its people; especially given the fact that Britain is the original cause of the current genocidal actions in the much_maligned and oppressed Niger Delta.
Yes, we know it suited the ethos and practice of â€œRule Britanniaâ€ for Britain to intentionally force non-complementary disparate entities together and call it â€œNigeriaâ€ (thanks to a bored or drunk Mrs. Lugard).
And that you helped the North of this nation-space (which, advanced in Arabic education and governance, shunned your initial overtures to â€œwesternisationâ€) gain predominance over the less-cohesive West, East and South which quickly grasped the pseudo-importance of being â€œwesternisedâ€, and so became Britainâ€™s cultural minions even before independence in 1960.
Everybody knows how, when the North even tried to secede in 1966, your High Commissioner influenced a young impressionable Colonel Yakubu Gowon to change his secession speech into one of compulsory unity, after you had earlier in the â€˜50s succeeded in getting the Sardauna of Sokoto, Alhaji Ahmadu Bello to make the North gain a putative superiority in the Nigerian Army. And how, since then, in your successful neo-colonial bid to keep Nigeria beholden to you through your â€œdivide and conquerâ€ tactics and strategies, you have been ever-present in the continuing play-out of sometimes heinous, but always selfish, policies and practices that have kept the North in power so far.
The North had control of the bullets and gained dictatorial political national power through military coups; then it used the bullets to acquire the influence and affluence of corrupt bullion and gained corrupt ballots superiority which translated into dictatorial civil governance.
Even when General Obasanjo became President and tried, helped initially by General T. Y. Danjuma (a â€œnorthernerâ€), to change the balance of things, many know of Britainâ€™s covert role to see that things reverted to what Downing Street considers â€œnormalâ€.
Of course, much of the blame must be shared by the Southâ€™s political elites who had become so used to playing second (or third!) fiddle that they did not know how to capitalize on the new potential inertia offered by Obasanjoâ€™s opening moves in 1999.
Unfortunately, in all of Britainâ€™s calculations you always discountenanced the groans and cries of oppressed South (now called the South-Southâ€¦or, better still, the Niger Delta).Â Who would have thought that those peoples (typically typecast as lazy, drunks, womanizers, and illiterate) would one day fulfill the prediction of the Willinks Commission, put in place by Britain itself, that the Niger Delta would become a theatre of strife if the peoples and environment were not urgently attended to?
And so we have come to this pass today, where the common people of the region are up in arms and are crippling Nigeriaâ€™s oil and gas production capacity in response to a calculated series of pseudo legalistic and increasingly genocidal attacks on their space and freedoms.
The latest of such genocidal actions is the ongoing carnage and razing of Gbaramatu Kingdom which were supposed to bring the peoplesâ€™ justified agitation (armed and unarmed) to a conquered halt, but resulted instead in an increase in a campaign of attrition against the nation_spaceâ€™s oil economy!
So PM Brown, you and your brothers of the G8 cabal of industrialized nations (a manifestation of the global industrial-military complex) have summoned Nigeriaâ€™s President Yarâ€™Adua to your meeting in Lâ€™Aquila in Italy, definitely to reassure you chaps as to how he is loyally prosecuting an agenda to secure the Niger Deltaâ€™s energy resources for your use, at least until you fully replace those carbon-based energy requirements with sustainable and viable alternative energy sources.
We know you will all probably make polite commendatory noises regarding the Yarâ€™Adua governmentâ€™s much-touted Amnesty plan which has so far been rejected by the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND) which claims (and rightly so!) that all government is offering is band-aid for a cancer!
That the issues that brought about agitation have not been addressed; and that rather, governmentâ€™s offer amnesty is an insult amounting to asking them to â€œsell their birthright for a mess of pottageâ€!
Please allow us to advise the G8 and President Yarâ€™Adua on what needs to be done to bring about immediate peace in the Niger Delta region, and thus secure the oil and gas resources you all need: YARâ€™ADUA MUST IMMEDIATELY COMMENCE THE HOLISTIC IMPLEMENTATION OF THE RECOMMENDATIONS OF THE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE ON THE NIGER DELTA!!! Yarâ€™Adua has not shown sincerity to the issues raised by Niger Delta peoples. He keeps contemptuously treating them like moronic babies who cannot tell shadow from reality.
For so long as he continues to play ostrich with the destinies of the peoples of the Niger Delta, for so long shall he be seen as a negative factor to the resolution of the regionâ€™s crisisâ€¦and for so long will hiccups and eruptions militate against the G8â€™s easy access to the regionâ€™s oil and gas.
Please ask President Umoru Yarâ€™Adua what he is hiding by not releasing a White Paper on the Technical Committeeâ€™s Report submitted to him over seven months ago?!! Or is his administration afraid of anything or anybody?
We do not believe it is in your interest for you to be dealing with an administration that is not transparent. Or could it be true, as many are beginning to wonder aloud, that Britain (and your cousin, the United States of America) is covertly urging on the ongoing genocidal acts and amnesty charade?
It is only through a White Paper wherein the President publicly commits to issues regarding the immediate withdrawal of the JTF through an armistice, the increasing of the revenue derivation ratio to 25%, and the payment of ALL funds statutorily due/owed the region through the Niger Delta Development Commission, in the interim, can the agitation in the region end.
At the moment, all that is happening is that a putative amnesty (whichâ€™s terms are still, patently, confusing to even the government!) is separating the criminals from the true agitators for justice, equity and development.
President Yarâ€™Aduaâ€™s initial error in despising the Report of a Technical Committee set up by him at the instance of the peoples of the Niger Delta can still be corrected so it does not become a gross mistake.
If not, pikin wey no gree im mama sleep, im sef no go close eyeâ€¦which is pidgin (Nigerian patois) for what the great Rev Martin Luther King Jnr. meant when he said â€œJustice is indivisible; injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.â€ Egberi fa.