After a rigorous planning that lasted for over nine months, the Delta Online Publishers Forum DOPF, a group of seasoned journalists oganised the 2021 convention and awards that gathered eminent personalities across the Niger Delta region for a lecture titled: Niger Delta Economy, Building a new face for the region.
Among the personalities who graced the event were former governor of Delta state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa who was represented by his chief of staff, Ovie Agas, Deputy president of the Senate, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege, who also represented by one of his aides, Annkio Briggs, one of the known activists in the Niger Delta.
Others are National president for the Committee for the Defense of Human Rights (CDHR), Comrade Kehinde Taiga, Delta State Chairman of NUJ, Comrade Michael Ikeogwu, Professor Patrick Muoboghare, Delta state commissioner for higher education, Faith Nwadishi, Dr. Ignatius Ezoem, former provost of Federal College of Education, Asaba, interim Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission NDDC Effiong Akwa and a host of others.
The event was a yearly gathering of members of the online publishers in Delta state where issues of national importance are examined and solutions are proffered. This year was no less different. The issue discussed this year was the need to build a new face for the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, the region that has been plagued by oil crisis over the years.
The Orchid banquet hall was well packed with guests who converged to listen to Dr. Uduaghan who took time to dwell on the Niger Delta issue. Uduaghan, a former governor of Delta knows the challenges in the region. Hence, he was explicit on what the crisis is and the way forward.
The topic of discussion was Niger Delta Economy: Building a New Face for the Region. Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, who contributed greatly to the current peace in the volatile region, did justice to the topic.
In the lecture, the former governor dwelt on issues of development, security and building bridges of unity among Niger Delta member states and creating intra and inter trade collaborations within the region.
The former governor insisted that for development to thrive in the region, there must be peace and security. He said previous
governments invested heavily to maintain peace and security and successive governments have continued to build on it.
According to him, the days of Niger Delta being described as hotbed of violence had passed, hence he said it’s time now to focus on attracting massive growth and development to the region.
He noted: “Achieving this is now the new face we are trying to wear our resource-rich region and the growing list of online publishers and writers have a key role to play in shaping this new face for our region.”
Dr. Uduaghan identified five key areas which are essential for a new face for the region. He identified
Investing more on human capital development programs, fostering collaboration for inter and intra regional trade and building peace and security.
He also hinted on diversification of the Niger Delta economy “which I initiated as Delta Beyond Oil when I was in Office as governor,” and investing heavily in the development of infrastructure.
The former governor warned against deliberately blocking investors through the actions and inactions of the people of the region, especially youths and some actions of government.
Hence, he noted: “We must deliberately allow more industries to come to our region but I must add a caveat, we as a people must have a receptive attitude towards industrialization.”
Being an expert on issues of the region, he held the audience spell bound as reeled out the challenges and the way forward to the Niger Delta imbroglio.
He advised online publishers and writers to be care of what they post as social media does not forget.
“In all we post as online publishers and writers, we must not forget that social media does not forget. Be careful what you report. Malicious reportage, fake news and half-truths put our region in terrible light before the international community. They are also online watching all your activities.”
Awards were given to deserving Niger Deltans who excelled in their fields of calling and have impacted lives in their sphere of influence.