By Binebai Princewill
A leading Niger Delta human rights activist cum philanthropist, Amb. John Dekawei has urged South-South Governors in the Niger Delta region to unite for its development.
Amb. John Dekawei made the call via a powerful press statement issued to newsmen in Abuja on Monday while reacting to the International Peace Day, a copy of which was sent to The Liberator Newspaper.
The renowned global advocate of good governance while speaking on the gains of peace noted that a peaceful atmosphere remains the mother of all development, adding that people must learn to always embrace peace at all times.
Using the Niger Delta as a reference point, the young philanthropist stated that peaceful approach to the region’s development remains a key method for its prosperity, stressing that the days of violence is long gone.
The peace advocate noted that most of the violence in the Niger Delta region is as a result of a failed system of government, attributing it as failure to engage youths on a productive venture.
He said it is high time Governors of the Niger Delta region unite for the common interest of developing it, stressing that they must collaborate with all Niger Delta intervention agencies to make life meaningful in the region.
Dekawei continued that all state Governors in the Niger Delta region must also take employment of the youths more serious as ‘the idle mind is the devils workshop’.
In his words: “Niger Delta Region often regarded as the most economically viable region that accounts for a large percent of our economy in the country with natural endowments such as Oil and Gas that have overtime become the mainstay of the country’s economy despites its rich endowment remains the most underdeveloped and poverty ridden region. This is more worrisome even as on the part of the federal government, various agencies, ministry and commisions have been created to take care of the region’s development challenges.
“The environmental suffering, violence, and degradation that the Niger Delta is undergoing have remained unabated. There is no gainsaying the truth that the Niger Delta is suffering. There is also the reality that much of the sufferings and abuses to which the Niger Delta peoples and its environment are subjected are manmade, avoidable and unjustified.
“The environmental problems that have pervaded the Niger Delta include oil spillage, gas flaring, corporate deforestation, poverty, loss of biodiversity, etc. Oil companies in their prospect for oil and gas resources have also caused a lot of human rights violations and deprived people of their right to water, a healthy environment, livelihood, indigenous ancestral sites, etc
“The reality on ground is that the various state governors, intervention agencies, ministry and commisions have not done enough in changing the ugly developmental narrative of the people, if years after the creation of these agencies by the federal government of Nigeria to develop the Niger Delta and yet the region remains shamefully underdeveloped, then Niger Deltans needs to look inward and begin to hold political leaders in the region accountable for its underdevelopment.
“This is so as it is Niger Deltans that have overtime overseeing the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Amnesty Program, Niger Delta Ministry, 13percent derivation.
“If the claims of these agencies are true, how come evidence of poverty, infrastructural decay, unemployment, lack of good water supply, environment degradation , epileptic power supply, are still clearly visible?
“A pertinent question at this juncture is, who is to be blamed for the woes of the region. Is it the government who has put in place many intervention agencies to ensure that the underdevelopment of the area is addressed , or those who directly or indirectly oversea these development policies and projects?
“Remember, large chunk of political appointees and officers who head these agencies and ministry are indigenes of the area.
“It is time for the people of Niger Delta to look inward and tell each other the honest truth, blaming the federal government alone for the underdevelopment of the area cannot help matters , the fact remains that the underdevelopment of the region is firmly rooted in the systemic corruption that has almost become a sub- culture among some public office holders.
“This places an urgent call on the political leaders of the Niger Delta, the traditional institution, the clergy and all stakeholders to prioritize the development of the region.”.
Amb. John Dekawei is President general of the revered Niger Delta Socio Cultural group under the aegis of Delta Ijaw Youth Movement for Political Advancement (DIYMPA), raising the banner of good governance in Niger Delta and Nigeria at large.
Meanwhile, It would be recalled that Amb. John Dekawei is the founder and chairman of the John Dekawei Foundation (JDF), a Non Governmental Organisation (NGO) he has used in transforming the lives of many across the World.