By Chux Ozulu
COMMENTS by Juliet Vanderberg in Vanguard of Friday, September 13, 2019, regarding our protest against the announcement of a new board in which same ethnic nationalities that have been favoured in NDDC board appointments since inception in 2000 once again maintained their unending run, made interesting reading.
That with this demography of Urhobo five (three MDs, one EDP and one Rep), Isoko, four; Ijaw, three; Itesekiri, three; and Ndokwa/Delta North 0 and yet our harmless protest can be described as uninspiring is the height insensitivity.
To her, the Ndokwa and the entire Delta North should be contented clapping when our meritorious brothers so divinely endowed are enjoying all fruits of oil production.
We deserve nothing good! As we continue to appreciate being beaten and denied cry, someone claiming to preside over Niger Delta people (including us), should have researched more and presented more verifiable facts; some humility should not be too much to expect.
We would not have bothered, but the messianic fallacious claims based on pure bigotry we saw are worth a rejoinder to save the gullible from falling prey or allow her to win more converts considering the dangers her comments posed in an already charged atmosphere.
It is a pity Nigeria of today is now one of permissiveness where people are prone to doing just as it pleases them. In normal times, the authors, and beneficiaries of the conspiracy of appointments should be having their day for the impudence of taking everybody for a ride. Surely, that is why we are where we are! Our Sister from far away from Canada coincidentally knew Elder Odubu, Ben Okumagba and all the appointees up to the inner recess of their hearts to know how passionate all of them are about community development. We expected more specifics in her narrative than just blowing hot air into an already vulnerable balloon of condescending adulation to sound convincing. She did not and we will help her.
Elder Otubu as deputy to Oshiomhole was mostly anonymous for the eight years they ruled. It is this acquiescence now interpreted as loyalty, which in today’s twisted Nigeria is the major determinant to high office that most qualified our brother for NDDC chairman. We cannot forget in a hurry, the debts he and his boss plunged Edo State into which Governor Obaseki is still grappling with.
Ben Okumagba “has never hidden his passion for the development of Niger Delta”. Good talk, but in what form did he exhibit this passion? Unless he only did it for his Urhobo, Ndokwa-East Local Government till date remains without any access road. Rather he helped sink the rich Delta State into huge debt and left backlog of unpaid salaries that Governor Okowa inherited and couldn’t pay till bailout came from the Federal Government.
As we write, Delta State is still servicing excruciating debts left by Uduaghan and Okumagba, the man that will now take Niger Delta to Eldorado. Charity could not begin from home.
The only notable signature project that administration undertook for eight years, the Asaba-Ughelli road dualization could not attain 40 per cent completion before they left. That same man will be the one now being tempted with managing NDDC honey pot.
It is the protest we made challenging the present status quo and calling for a chance for our people to also be tried for a change that Juliet is attacking. Yet the same person is accusing us of being afraid of changing the status quo. Duplicitious insult by a vengeance Mars bent on hanging us at all cost! Okumagba and Odubu were parts of governments that nominated members of NDDC boards in the past. They, therefore, can’t be absolved of their failures. Juliet believes in the vision of enthroning a new era of accountability by new men with new promise, not men of yesterday. She should please join us.
If diversity is really the strength of any society as our sister proclaimed, can we say that demography that excludes one group, while allowing the others benefit multiple times is truly diverse? If truly Juliet wants us to emulate the US that does not care where you come from, why don’t we as well scrap resource control agitation and NDDC that is region-centric? What is wrong in inclusiveness where everybody gets small and all are happy? Why would someone like rotation to states but hates cascading it down to tribes and communities? Why would some people be getting leaner from lack of opportunities while others get fatter swimming in ocean glut of surplus in a multi-racial enclave like ours? Of course, Commonwealth will always be better in the pocket of Britain! We know when we are being insulted.
It is good to hear that Niger Delta militants siding with the oppressed are now blackmailers. Good talk. In case her sojourn in Canada has made her forget, she must be reminded that it is this same agitation, which she now calls blackmail that made the Federal Government reluctantly approve NDDC in 2000. While the likes of Juliet and her co-travellers were in the comfort of their successful private businesses and in the corridors of power head hunting for positions of advantage, these brothers were risking their skin to bring what we all are now queuing to benefit from.
We should not start this fight just because we want to please men of today for personal gains. We can’t win it because they are voices of truth. We who want to reap the labour of others must learn to be humble to the benevolent spirits that cracked the palm kernel we are earnestly seeking. If these people are truly blackmailers, then they are good ones.
A strong man must learn to use his advantage sparingly. If a lion shows itself every day, it turns to a goat. It is graceful to concede some things to others, despite your shouting advantage. It is strength and not weakness. This winner-takes-all mentality will kill us.
We hope this swagger and undying disrespect for others’ feelings stop now. Let the wise hear it now that enough is enough!