To discountenance the intellectual aspect of the Niger Delta struggle, is to discountenance the entire contribution of Ken Saro Wiwa to the struggle. Otherwise, Alhaji Asari Dokubo of all people ought to know that Urhobos and many non Ijaws complemented the Ijaws by contributing immensely intellectually to the Niger Delta struggle.
Where were guns when James Ibori and Obong Victor Attah were championing the resource control struggle? How many guns have you carried to ensure the 13% derivation? Why not shoot your way to ensure the derivation principle is now increased to 50% ?
What about the contributions of the likes of Dr. Akpo Mudiaga Odje, Dr. Ogaga Ifowodo, Prof. G.G. Darah, Prof. Itse Sagay, Rex Ekiugbo Anighoro , Rita Lori Ogbebor and a host of other non Ijaws too numerous to mention ?
For the your information, the intellectual aspect of the Niger Delta struggle precedes, outweighs and is far more potent than the violent aspect of same. In fact, it was Niger Delta activists who brought the plight of the region to international consciousness; they provided the propaganda that justified the arms struggle, without which the militants would have been tagged mere bandits.
It counts for nothing now that the likes of Dr. Akpo Mudiaga Odje held countless meetings and conferences with the likes of Pa E.K. Clark, HRM Pere Ayemi Botu, Dr. Oboko Bello, even Asari himself at the tick of the struggle. My elder brother in the struggle Rex Anighoro can testify.
I know of at least two conferences organised in London by Dr. Akpo Mudiaga Odje to draw international attention to the plight of the Niger Delta, not mentioning the countless ones held here in Nigeria. About 5 of Dr. Odje’s books are on Niger Delta, not Urhobo.
Then barrister Frank Oseya was the secretary of the Niger Delta Democratic Union, facilitated by Dr. Akpo Mudiaga Odje. I learnt of how they went to court to challenge Obasanjo to appoint a Minister of Petroleum resources from the Niger Delta then. We know our contributions to the establishment of the Ministry of the Niger Delta and NDDC.
To think that the Urhobos and others are even working on a bill to alter section 162(2) of the 1999 constitution to increase the derivation to 25%. So, if this one sail through for instance, tomorrow Sir Asari will come and tell us because I am not Ijaw or because I didn’t bear arms we have done nothing.
We are taken our time because I fear, you may just be expressing what is a popular sentiment among majority of my Ijaw brothers. Is this why Urhobos and other Niger Deltans were totally excluded throughout the amnesty program? Is this why Urhobos and others are marginalised at the NDDC and Niger Delta Ministry ? Are we no longer one Niger Delta people ? This is a really sad moment for me.
Whilst I express my disappointment on how the matter is going in discountenancing other ethnic groups in the Niger Delta, I honestly salute his courage in coming out clean and speaking your mind. It is high time we sincerely had this conversation and set the records straight.
BY EFEMENA UMUKORO, UPU YOUTH PRESIDENT