Today is Tuesday the 7th of June 2016. If you are a keen follower of activities across the country you will remember that this is the day Niger Delta Avengers threatened to blow up strategic facilities in the country and decimate the Nigerian nation. After a prolonged prayer session for the nation last night I stayed awake into the wee hours of the morning doing some research and afterwards placed calls to associates of mine as well as kith and kin across the country inquiring about their welfare and urging them to be very careful wherever they are. When I woke up this morning the first thing I said to those around me is “I hope we are still in Nigeria.”
I said that to underscore the seriousness of the Niger Delta crisis and the importance of finding a lasting solution once and for all. Let me say here that I believe in the Nigerian project, and I believe we can stay together as a nation. But if we must stay together, certain fundamental anomalities must be addressed. Our institutions must be strengthened and allowed to operate at optimal capacity. Organs of government must discharge their duties effectively. The Rule of Law must prevail. The war on corruption must be across board not the selective persecution we are presently witnessing. Northerners must respect other tribes and recognize their right to existence. Everyone has a right to life. This should be respected. Resource control has to be revisited. Let States control their resources and pay royalties to the centre.
This piece is not a justification for the violence in the Niger Delta region neither is it an excuse for the persistent suppression of the region by successive administrations at the Federal level. Rather, it is a call to reason. As one who has been imbued with the critical mindedness of philosophy, I believe that man was endowed with rational abilities in order to proffer solutions in order to help him realize the limitless possibilities of his existence. As a nation, we have not really explored our rational abilities as regards the issues militating against us. In the light of this, I invite you to think with me.
Have successive administrations done enough to address the colossal environmental degradation suffered by residents of the Niger Delta region as a result of oil activities? Are present day Niger Delta activists really concerned about the development of their region or enriching themselves using the struggle as a cover?
Ponder on these as we move to part two of this article.
-Comrade Ubon Marcus
June 6, 2016.