By Cleric E. Alaowei
Kingsley Otuaro embarked on several people-oriented programmes to change the fortunes of Nigerians across board, especially in the Niger Delta region. He used his divine charisma and messianic leadership qualities to douse the renewed oil crisis in the region.
At the wake of the militants’ struggle being championed by the Niger Delta Avengers (NDA) in 2016, Otuaro put his position at risk in liaising with all critical stakeholders in the region for the purpose of restoring peace to the volatile region.
To this end, the Delta State Government led by Sen. Ifeanyi Okowa in collaboration with the Federal Government of Nigeria setup a Delta State Advocacy Committee Against Vandalism of Oil and Gas Facilities in 2016. The committee was headed by Kingsley Otuaro who used his Godly wisdom to bring all contending parties to a round table for the purpose of resolving the skirmishes.
Other members of the Committee are: Dr. Chris Ekiyor (Secretary), Hon. Asupa Forteta (Member), Barr. Bosin Ebikeme (Member), Hon. Kelly Pinawou (Member), Chief Boro Opudu (Member), Hon. Mofe Pirah (Member), Hon. David Tonwe (Member), Chief Dan Ekpebide (Co-Opted Member) and Mr. Smart Asekutu (Co-Opted Member).
In line with some of the demands of the aggrieved youths in the region, he recommended to the Federal Government for the award of the oil pipeline contract to the indigenes of the oil producing communities as well as employments of youths from the host communities as Oil Pipeline Surveillance Guards.
Not only has the Federal Government considered and approved his recommendations in addition with other sundry demands of the Niger Delta people, it has also collapsed its (Federal Government) delegation headed by the Minister for State of Petroleum, Mr. Ibe Kachikwu to the region in the Otuaro’s led Advocacy Committee.
In a similar vein, the Delta State Advocacy Committee also work in consonant with the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF) for the latter to present its historic 16-point demand bothering on true federalism, resource control, ownership of oil blocks, immediate commencement for academic activities of the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko e.t.c to the Federal Government of Nigeria in November 1st, 2016.
In commending Otuaro’s effort in bringing peace to the region through the Advocacy Committee, Okowa said, the effort also brought peace to the entire nation. : “Fortunately, in the past six (6) months, I must say that resources have improved due to the peace achieved. With more resources, we can touch more lives”, Okowa had said
Otuaro also used his office and his divine wisdom to resolve the militants crisis in Ondo, Ogun and Lagos States. While at the peak of insecurity in these affected states through the activities of armed youth at the river belt, some of the armed youth invaded a Model College at Igbonla, Epe in Lagos State and kidnapped six (6) final year students.
They were kidnapped on the 25th of May, 2017. After spending about 60 days in the hands of their abductors who were recalcitrant, Otuaro waded in the imbroglio, paving way for the release of the children in exchange for presidential amnesty for the armed youths.
He did not just end his peace mission at the release of the school children; he also took steps to end the ravaging militants activities in the states mentioned above. In his position as the leader of the Advocacy Committee, he sought an audience with the then Acting President, His Excellency Prof. Yemi Osinbajo and suggested to him the need to grant presidential amnesty to the restive youths in the riverine parts of Ondo, Ogun and Lagos States.
The Acting President bought into his idea having seen the fruition of his peace overtures that doused the raging tension in the Niger Delta.
Consequently in pursuance of the above, amnesty was granted to all armed bearing youths in Ondo, Ogun and Lagos States who hitherto surrendered their weapons to the Federal Government through the Ondo State Government to embrace the offer of presidential amnesty.
In following his boss, Senator (Dr.) Ifeanyi Okowa’s SMART agenda in encapsulating strategic wealth creation project and provision of jobs for all Deltans, meaningful peace building platforms aimed at political and social harmony and more, Deacon (Barr) Kingsley Burutu Otuaro has evolved more than a few measures to define the peace programme of the SMART phenomenon.
Kingsley Otuaro is not only an academic pundit but also an expert in crisis resolution. He accordingly bagged a Masters Degree in Peace and Conflict Studies from the University of Ibadan. His Masters Degree in Peace and Conflict Resolution was propelled by his quest to learn new ways of achieving peaceful environment, the comprehension that properly fit him into the implementation of Okowa’s SMART agenda, principally pivoted on peace-building.
For the five years in office as the second-in-command to Dr. Okowa, Otuaro, bearing in mind that no meaningful agenda can succeed in an atmosphere of rancor, has not relented in making sure that every community and communal conflict is matched with adequate and appropriate actions to maintain cordial relationship.
Following the shutdown of Nigerian Petroleum Development Company (NPDC) operations by host communities, Otuaro moved in, held meetings with presidents-general and other community leaders to reconsider their decision and re-open the shut down oil facilities of NPDC for operations. According to him while addressing the communities, “We have come a long way, we have a common future and together we must salvage this common future.
“You cannot do it alone and government cannot do it alone; so there is need to be a great synergy among us in order to move forward. While frantic efforts are been made at the top level to resolve this matters, the communities and government must work hand in hand until the issues are resolved”.
Of course, there are several dimensions of communal conflicts, community disputes and oil companies/ host communities feud, as well as traditional stool tussles, kingship and administrative struggles, orchestrated as if to truncate the peace and smooth leadership of the Okowa-led administration, but with Governor Okowa acting as the General, giving matching orders, his Lieutenant, Barr. Otuaro, armed with his expertise on conflict resolution and peace building, readily availed himself to wade into the storm of disputes from across the State whose services even benefited other States in the Niger Delta and beyond.k
From the chairmanship tussle at Ojobo Community in Burutu Local Government Area, the leadership dispute at Alagbabiri in Ewu Kingdom, Ughelli South Local Government Area, land and boundary dispute between Ozoro and Oleh communities, Isoko South and Isoko North Local Governments respectively, Ofagbe crisis, Emuebu and Obiaruku dispute, Nsukwa Patriotic Union and Obi of Nsukwa, Aniocha South Local Government imbroglio to mention just a few. Otuaro, acting on the orders of his boss, spared no bound at nipping the conflicts in the bud.
As the general, Okowa found his lieutenant a veritable asset in energizing the peace-building plan of the Federal Government. He was in the thick of the earlier efforts by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr. Ibe Kachikwu, and later the Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, to return peace to the region.
The behind- the- scene moves culminated in the fact-finding mission of Osinbajo to the Niger Delta, as endorsed by President, Muhammadu Buhari.
The endeavors are already paying off, ranging from the firm assurance by the Federal Government on the take-off of the Nigerian Maritime University, (NMU), Okerenkoko. Osinbajo’s order on oil companies to relocate their headquarters back to the region; willingness to support establishment of modular refineries and collaborate with illegal oil refiners and lots more.
Okowa’s confidence in Otuaro dates back to the very beginning of their Government. This explains the understanding and partnership between the two, which has placed the State on the path of prosperity, despite daunting economic challenges.
Not long after they took over the reins of administration of the State, Okowa permitted Otuaro to chair the first State Executive Council meeting of the administration, a testament to Okowa’s liberal disposition and his assurance in Otuaro’s loyalty.
And sooner than later, he went on a two-week leave, but not many Deltans knew in point of fact that he went on leave because they did not sense the void. This was due largely to the bond between the duos.
Consequently, Okowa had delegated many demanding assignments on his Deputy, ranging from representing the Governor at Nigeria Governors Forum (NGF), National Economic Council Meetings and other notable Federal functions. Another very rare act of Liberalism from a Sublime General not minding what those who do not understand the power at play would say.
Like a committed Deputy who would never betray the trust of his Commanding Officer, Otuaro, during the absence of his principal, re-enacted the wisdom of the Biblical King Solomon at the Unity Hall, Government House, Asaba, at one of the sessions where feuding factional women leaders of a market women association in Asaba threatened to pull down the roof.
The ensuing fierce altercation almost disrupted the event, as the two women claiming to be the president of the association wanted to respond on behalf of the women to the statement of the Federal Government that the State had keyed into the initiative.
Protocol officers and security personnel battled to return the situation to normalcy, but to no avail. Calmly, Otuaro called the protocol officers and implored them to allow both women to speak in turn. This diplomatic and democratic resolution immediately brought tranquility and you could hear a pin drop in the hall.
By the time Otuaro mounted the podium to explain the programmes encapsulated in the SMART agenda of the Okowa-led administration in a down-to-earth manner to the people, what followed was a manifestation, as even commissioners and other government officials in the hall wondered if Otuaro sat down with his boss to plan the prosperity blueprint before he made him his Deputy.
For Deacon Otuaro, political office is not and cannot be a hindrance to the Lords work. To this end, he has continued to champion the redemption of souls through ministerial messages in the vineyard of God. Interestingly,
Kinsley Otuaro’s introduced mental rehabilitation courses in the various schools of learning for the purpose of engendering moral sanctity in our body polity. By so doing, he has engaged the relevant authorities in the educational sector in the Country for the purpose of introducing some Christian books in the various schools of learning in Delta State.
One of the Pastor Chris Oyakhilome’s materials, “Power of the Mind” was introduced in the curriculum of polytechnics in the State.
No doubt that this book will form as a catalyst in rehabilitating the thinking faculties of our youths which have majorly been influenced by the growing societal propensity for modern development.
He is a lawyer and was called into the Nigerian Bar as a Barrister and Solicitor of the Supreme Court of Nigeria in the year 2005.