Since the first part of this article was published last week, many people have contacted me from far and wide to respond to it. It is interesting that many people felt that what I initiated was a timely and worthwhile debate.
Since the results of the Presidential election were announced with the emergence of the General Muhammadu Buhari, many people have voiced one form of concern or another. In particular, the results took many people by surprise, especially in the South-South and South-East.
As we prepare for this year’s Earth Day on April 22nd, 2015, the questions on my mind are; where are the leaders of Environmental Movement in Nigeria? Whose turn is it to lead in Nigeria? Where are the next leaders in ‘governance for sustainable development’? Who will be the next Minister for Environment?
The Aridolf hotel in Yenagoa is an unlikely monument to kitsch on a reclaimed swamp in Nigeria’s oil-producing Niger delta. In the lobby, Louis XIV furniture is accompanied with bowls of plastic fruit, faux Dutch landscapes and a grotesquely gaudy chandelier. The hotel is redolent of the riches on display in a region that for half a century has generated the bulk of Nigeria’s wealth.
As a young Ogoni in the 90s and at the peak of the State and sHELL’s persecution of Ogoni people and their environment, it was that name “ORONTO” that we started hearing as the new “driver” of our legitimate struggle, especially as every active Ogoni at the time, has either been driven into the bush by then Col Paul Okuntimo, sent on forced exile or to their early graves.
Last week, democracy won a handsome victory in Nigeria. An election that had everybody on edge for fear of internecine killings involving militants from the two main competing parties, against a backcloth of the war of attrition waged by the nihilist, extremist, Islamist movement Boko Haram, led pundits to fear the worst. It did not happen. Nigeria gave of its best. Indeed, the real winner was the loser, the present president, Goodluck Jonathan. He graciously phoned the winner, Muhammadu Buhari, to concede the election. His attitude to his defeat kept the peace.
When President Jonathan was elected (?) the President of Nigeria the Ogoni people gushed about his presidency. They thought that hAbachae was their human messiah that was coming to walk on water, turn their water into wine and make old things new again.
The Niger Delta region occupies a central position in the political economy of Nigeria. The oil and gas sector in Nigeria has assumed an increasing significance since the late 1950s when oil was discovered in the Niger Delta. The volume and importance of oil has increased over the years.
Whenever Ogoni is in the news one is tempted to fret and be nervous. Ogoni has been more of a news item than what it’s originally made to be. Ogoni is not always in the news for any good reason. Ogoni has for the past couple of decades been converted into a killing field by the Nigerian Government and the Monstrous Shell international.