Niger Delta Governors
Niger Delta state governors have been accused of not being dynamic and resourceful enough to bring the region to a level of development and prosperity desired of the region. They are therefore blamed for the underdevelopment and lack of infrastructural development in their states.
Mr. Moses Siloko Siasia, Chairman of Nigerian Young Professionals Forum NYP made the observation while speaking with newsmen on the sidelines of the just concluded Niger Delta CEO’s Conference in Port Harcourt, Rivers state.
Siasia said instead of tackling the infrastructure decay and development in education and health, the governors are busy creating armies of jobless youths who will soon rise up and consume the region.
Siasia lamented the underdevelopment of the region despite the available resources in the hands of the governors and also the potentials that are lying idle and wasted in the region without a coordinated effort to turn them into growth and prosperity.
He called on the leaders of the region to have a changed mindset and begin to work and harness the energy and ideas of young people for rapid progress and development. He listed human resources, agriculture, oil and gas, blue sea economy and ecotourism as some of the key areas of economic viability that needs exploration in the region.
According to Siasia “There is no society globally that has advance without its human beings. The greatest resource or asset of every society is in its people.
“I have met a lot of experts and professionals from the Niger Delta region who are doing extremely well in different fields of endeavor.
Mr. Moses Siloko Siasia
We must ensure that we identify and engage them. Countries that have advanced such as China, Singapore, Malaysia, and others looked at their best brains and how they can actually make them contribute their expertise to engineer economic growth.
“As key stakeholders, we must urgently harness the mas energy and idealism of our young people into productive ventures.
“Agriculture also has great potentials in the Niger Delta region. We have great soil for cassava cultivation and rice production. We can have all three seasons of rice production in a year without any form of irrigation.
“But in Northern Nigeria today that have taken the glory for rice production, it is difficult to do three seasons of farming without irrigation. So we must tap into this.
“On plantain which is our crops, we must ensure we do a lot of plantain plantation and also encourage local governments to go into the production of plantain. We also have Ogbono, pepper, vegetables and many others. These are crops that can grow in our region and we can use them for the collective good of our people.”
Siasia also lampooned the lack of capacity of the Niger Deltans in the production and exploration of oil and gas which abound in the region and express regret that other regions in the country have taken over the assets and management of oil and gas which is owned by the Niger Delta.
According to him, Bayelsa state alone has 75% of gas deposit in the entire country but this has not been harness either by the federal government nor the state.
“Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Iran, and many other big countries do not have the level of gas reserve Bayelsa state has today. So we must be able to tap into the oil and gas industry and create jobs for our people who have been impoverished.
“There are a lot of our people who have been trained either as Welders, Civil engineers, Underwater divers but have not been engaged. We must prepare our people to take over the oil and gas sector, “Insists Siasia.
Siasia uses the occasion to appeal to the state governors in the region to do more to uplift the standard of living of the people in the region. This they can accomplish by providing incentives for young business within the framework of our comparative advantage. Providing and guaranteeing low-interest loans for young business owners among others.