By Binebai Princewill
Pan-Niger Delta Progressive Youths Leadership Foundation (PYLF) has called for the inauguration of ‘United States of Niger Delta” where ethnicity and tribal sentiments will not be used as criteria to help one another in our quest to achieve sustainable socio-economic development of the region.
Speaking at the inauguration of Delta State chapter of the foundation in Warri recently, Founding National President of the body, Chief Adams Ogomugo Marbo, regretted that “Whereas ethnic diversities in the Niger Delta should actually serve us as a blessing, the political leadership has rather been characterised by ethnic bias and favouritism, and citizens are thus treated unequally in many respects, particularly when it comes to resource allocation and political representation”.
“This breeds resentment and creates conditions for an ultimate rejection of the some leaders by the frustrated and politically conscious masses. It is also tantamount to corruption, weakening the ability of the state to function efficiently, and is therefore anti-developmental”.
He however, commended the youth development initiatives of the present administration in Delta state, pointing out that the passion of the governor, Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa for youth empowerment will create the needed jobs for the teaming unemployed youths in the state and thereby reduce crime rate in the state.
He also called on youths in the region to de-emphasis ethnic sentiments, which rather divide the region more, and concentrate their youthful energies on issues that can foster unity to enable the region forge a common front as a people with common developmental challenges and destiny.
He lamented that “partisan politics in the region has not fostered unity, rather, it has divided us more than bringing the youths in the region together”, saying that his organization, which is made up of vibrant youth volunteers from across the nine states of Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, Cross River, Imo and Rivers, stands for ethnic integration, informing that the organisation had earlier inaugurated chapters in Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Bayelsa and Edo states with a mandate to sensitise and mobilize youths for selfless community development projects.
He reiterated that Progressive Youths Leadership Foundation which represents all ethnic nationalities in the region, works in collaboration with relevant security agencies to ensure that a peaceful atmosphere is created to attract meaningful investments, noting that “there was urgent need for a paradigm shift in our approach to achieving sustainable development in the region”.
According to Chief Marbo, “before Nigeria, there was a united Niger Delta region where the people lived in harmony under a peaceful atmosphere.
“We want to see ourselves as “United States of Niger Delta”, He reiterated.
He maintained that the enemies of the Niger Delta region, were “those that are fond of betraying the people of the region because of their greed, to the detriment of the area”, pointing out that “Unity of purpose among progressive youths should be the way forward in the Niger Delta region, just as he called on the youths to rally round the Deputy Senate President, Senator Obarisi Ovie Omo-Agege, rather than allowing themselves to be used as agents to pull him down.
He said his group will always canvass for ethnic integration, saying that poverty and underdevelopment do not belong to any tribe.
In his remarks, Chairman of Delta state chapter of the foundation, Paul Toruwei Epumokumo, thanked the founding President for giving him and his other colleague in the state executive council to serve, even as he promised to work according to the constitution of the foundation.
Other members of the newly inaugurated state executive council, include, Mene Laju (secretary), Edafe Igben (Assistant secretary), Okotie Omasan (PRO), Goodluck Omokaro (Financial Secretary), Ebah Samuel Oghenerhiboru (Mobilisation Officer), Abraham Itima (Treasurer), Oruware Ebideseakemefa (Woman leader) and Moses Ebi Florence (Student representative). Highpoint of the event was the handing over the organisation’s constitution to the newly inaugurated state chapter chairman.