Editorial: Democracy Day Celebration and the Niger Delta Question

By GbaramatuVoice Editorial Board

As the nation marks nineteen years of uninterrupted democracy in the land, it calls for celebration particularly when one recalls the socio-economic difficulties it had waded through within the last three years.

Fresh in our memories is the harsh economic recession and its exit.

Also in our views, it will be germane that as this is ongoing; the day will also necessitate having a moment of deeper reflection for all as a nation and majorly for the people of the Niger Delta region in order to ascertain how well we have fared as a people.

For instance, within this period under review, Niger Delta, as a region, was greeted with high scale hostility resulting from the deliberate attempt by the oil majors to circumvent due process with the support and backing of the regulatory agencies of the Nigerian led Federal Government; a development that was met with stiff resistance from the youths from the region.

However, despite the relative peace that has returned to the region as a result of the palliative steps so far taken by the Federal Government of which the amnesty programme for the youths remains a glaring example.

Despite this development, GbaramatuVoice newspaper still observed that it is clear that the region is not marching forward but gropes and stumbles, divided and confused.

A development many say is attributable to the lack of unity among the people of the region, the insincerity of the oil prospecting companies operating in the region and the government lacking in the political will to implement, regulate and enforce compliance by the operators.

From observation, the situation is made worse by the squabbles among the ethnic/tribal groups, and traditional rulers in the region with each trying to be more Niger Deltan than the other.

Such in our reasoning may not build the Niger Delta of our dreams.

Against this backdrop, it is our submission that all the ethnic groups in the region should realize that the development of the region should be paramount than their ethnic inclination or personal ambition.

In the same vein, public office holders of Niger Delta extraction at the states and the federal levels should begin to consider their positions a trust for the public good as against personal gain. Such spirit is urgently needed to move the region forward at these critical moments of its existence, especially now that 2019 general election is around the corner.

It is therefore imperative that all must team up and fight the common enemy called under development that is currently ravaging the region.

The oil companies on their part should realize what the importance of good corporate citizenship is all about and the need to operate according to international best practice.

It is also of a higher importance to this discourse that the Federal Government rises to its responsibilities to ensure that these corporate organizations operate with a human face in such a way that will benefit the host communities.

Part of this measure in the newspaper’s views will fast-track the development of the region through the Federal Government’s direct involvement in the creation of jobs for the teeming youths in the region.

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