A war of words has broken out between two Niger Delta rights activists. MujahidAsari Dokubo leader of the Niger Delta Peoples Salvation Force had thrown the first salvo at the frequent visits of the Vice President to Ijaw land and question its usefulness insisting that the right thing to do was to leave the Ijaw oil to the Ijaw people. Dokubo also called on other tribes in the Niger delta to allow Ijaw people benefit from its armed struggle against the Nigerian Nation.

Rev David Ugolor, a Niger Delta activist and Executive Director of African Network for Environment and Economic Justice, ANEEJ did not hesitate to join issues with Mujahid Dokubo. The Rev faulted the statements of the self-styled “Mujahid” and questioned the impact former President Good luck Jonathan an Ijaw man who served as president of the Nigerian nation for 5 years made in the Niger Delta region.

Rev. Ugolor further accused the Former President Jonathan of only concentrating on pleasing his wife and close relations to the detriment of developing the Niger Delta region. According to Rev David Ugolor, Asari Dokubo should avoid making provoking statements and actions which tend to divide the Niger Delta region rather than to unite them as it would be disastrous to all. He wondered how Dokubo who is regarded as one of the celebrated leaders of the Niger Delta struggle could reduce his role now to a leader of Ijaw struggle.

He said Niger Delta struggle is a common agenda for all the ethnic groups in the region and should not take an individual ethnic coloration. All the ethnic groups namely the Urhobo, Ogoni, Itsekiri, Isoko and others have also played their role in the struggle. Gun is not the only option Rev Ugolor cautioned.

The Rev further cited the sacrifice made by Ken Saro-Wiwa, Comrade Sunny Ofehe of the Hope for Niger Delta Campaign as groups who are not carrying guns but their impact is greatly felt as regards the Niger Delta struggle. He also mentioned Nnimmo Bassey as a contributor to the struggle against the neglect in Niger Delta without using guns.

According to Ugolor “We in the Niger Delta need to be careful not to play into the hands of Abuja Agenda. Even when Jonathan was a President he did not deal with Niger Delta question: What was responsible? He managed to take care of his wife and close relations. If Osinbajo’s visits will turn around things for the Niger Delta people which include the poor Ijaw: not the self-centred war entrepreneurs,  we should all rise up and support him and allow new thinking to shape the future of the region. “We cannot continue to create division and think we will succeed”.

Ugolor again faulted and condemned the interview Asari Dokubo granted the Vanguard newspaper insisting it is in bad taste and will not move the region forward but rather create disunity and unnecessary tension. He advised Dokubo to use his position and goodwill to strengthen inter-ethnic co-operation and also give chance to the Vice –President to implement the new agenda: Ugolor said it is time to try another agenda if all former efforts in developing the region have failed.

“We have suffered enough, and the billions that went to NDDC, Ministry of Niger Delta and Amnesty have only benefitted few people. After more than three decades of environmental degradation and injustice, I think we should begin to explore an alternative development model that will give voice to the victims which cut across the entire ethnic group” Ugolor submitted.

NEWS COMMENTARY:

We agreed 100% with the advice and submission of Rev Ugolor. For more than ten years now when the NDDC and Ministry of Niger Delta and Presidential Amnesty Programme for Niger Delta militants were set up and funded with several billions of naira. The Region has not changed as it is still underdeveloped and poor.

The sad truth is that all the activities of these numerous agencies have only benefited a few people in and out of the region. The dubious and corrupt contractors used over the years end up doing poor and shoddy jobs and they, with corrupt and wicked supervising government officials, smile to the banks at the expenses of the majority poor Niger Delta people. This is Very sad indeed and should not be allowed to continue.

This is why the recent proposal by the Vice President Yemi Osinbajo should be appreciated and supported. The new visionary plan for the region is a game changer that will directly benefit the poor and create wealth in the region.

Converting illegal refineries to Modern modular refineries alone has the effect of transforming the whole economic atmosphere of the Niger Delta region.