Former Bayelsa State Governor, Chief Diepriye Alameseigha, has said that the Federal Government’s inclusion of degree programmes on its post-amnesty project, helped eliminate the initial suspicion leaders in the Niger Delta had of the programme.
Alameseigha spoke as 75 former militants, under the post-amnesty programme left Lagos, Wednesday, for Moscow, Russia, for under-graduate programmes.
According to him, university programmes remained the only training that will prepare youths of the region for decision making roles expected of them.
He said that when there was so much talk about training of the former militants in such skills as welding and seafaring, amongst others, leaders of the region wondered if that would prepare them for managerial positions in the oil and gas sector.
“Initially, we, leaders of the Niger Delta, were disturbed when training of youths of the region who accepted amnesty was limited to welding, seafaring etc, but now that it has been extended to university education, we are happy.
“Education is the only way we can be part of decision making. The next struggle in this country is intellectual war, not guns. All of us can carry gun; I carried gun for 19 years, but it didn’t take me anywhere,” Alameseigha charged the youths.
The former Bayelsa governor charged the youths to play their own part as government had fulfilled its own part of the bargain, saying “if the government is investing in you, we expect some returns at the end of the day.
“The return is the contribution you will make to the development of the Niger Delta and country at large.”
By Kenneth Ehigiator
Alameseigha, who described education as the best poverty alleviation programme, said since the resources of the country were few and far between, the rivalry for attention by the different geo-political zones had intensified.
According to him, it is only those who have the education to control political power that would have the might to also participate in decision making where such limited resources are appropriated.
He charged the beneficiaries: “ Today, by God’s providence, we have a President from the Niger Delta. He is sending you to study to explore your potentials; he wants you to grow and participate in the development of the Niger Delta.