*** Says his visit was meaningless, FG must go for genuine peace in the Niger Delta
By Henry Umoru
ABUJA- FORMER Minister of State for Education, Olorogun Kenneth Gbagi Tuesday took a swipe at Vice President, Yomi Osinbajo, saying that oil and gas will last for another hundred years in the Niger Delta, just as he stressed that persons in government must seek information where they do not have such.
Gbagi who described comments by Vice President Osinbajo as political statement without foundation that in no distant future, the country would be in grave danger if it continues to rely on oil as the product would soon dry up, said that at least 97 percent of the nation’s economy today is rested and shoulder heavy on oil and gas.
Speaking with Journalists yesterday in Abuja, the former Minister who described the Vice President’s visit as fruitless, meaningless, a personal visit which is akin to a visit to the Olu of Warri, His Majesty, Ogiame Ikenwoli, said that the federal government took the people of Urhobo for granted for not visiting the area which is the hob of gas production, adding that it was against the grain of reason for the Vice-President to visit other ethnic strongholds without stopping over at Ughelli, the political headquarters of the Urhobo nation.
Gbagi said that the visit was not beneficial to the people because no political statement was made that was geared towards having lasting peace in the zone.
According to him, the government’s refusal to visit Ughelli in Urhobo land, was a replay of what happened in 1971 when the former Head of State, General Yakubu Gowon had scheduled a visit to the Midwest which is now part of Delta State, but the secretary, an Itsekiri did not allow the former head of state to visit Urhobo land.
Gbagi said, “While we are looking for peace, the sensibility of Urhobo people should not be taken for granted, the Urhobo people have been taken for granted for too long in the scheme of things.
“A similar situation happened in 1971 when Gowon was to visit Midwest which is now Delta, the Secretary then was an Iteskiri man and they crafted a similar visit to exclude the Urhobo nation, it is on record that Urhobos hold the bedrock of gas company, Otorobo that is the major source of electricity in Nigeria today talk less of all the oil wells, pipelines across the entire Urhobo nation. Urhobos being the 4th largest nationality in Nigeria have been for sometimes now neglected and relegated to the background because of their peaceful nature.
“While it appears that trouble makers, violent and gun tooting get greater reward in Nigeria, the school of violence, agitations does not belong to any ethnic group. I see the visit of the Vice President as irresponsibly put together as it is not in the interest of the much desired peace, I congratulate the Orodje of Okpe Kingdom and all those who walked out from that gathering of shame.
“Iam reliably informed that the Programme which originally was to see the Vice President’s visit to Gbaramatu, the Olu of Warri and the visit to Ughelli where the oldest traditional ruler, the Owhorode of Olomu who is 100 years resides to host all the traditional rulers in conjunction with a meeting with the Vice Presidenr was truncated by the governor of the State and the deputy. We should root foe genuine peace to support the good initiative of Mr. president and stop playing lip service or waste the economic base of Nigeria.
“Quoting the Vice President, at least 97% of the economy today is rested and shoulder heavy on oil and gas, his claim that oil will soon finish or dry up is a political statement without foundation, the gas situated on Otolobo at least will last for another 100 years, tax payers earners like the Vice President and persons in government must seek information where they don’t have them and still heating the polity. I will grant a statement on the second year of the administration in Delta as I have done in all previous governments. Urhobos will make our position known to the government at the Centre. The visit of the Vice President is meaningless, made no statement, it is akin to a personal visit to the Olu of Warri as there is no policy statement from the government addressing the issues at hand.”