The South-East Development Commission Bill and the Ogoni Issues

About a week ago, I came across a Nigerian news headline with a caption “Chaos as House rejects S’East development bill.” Given the above caption, I was keen to read further. Because I wanted to know what this bill is about. As I read further, I came to know that the Southeast members of House of Representatives had brought a bill to the House of Representatives floor, in the Nigerian National Assemblies.

The bill is referred to as “South-East Development Commission Bill” and if adopted, it is expected to be a development propeller for the Southeast Region. The bill will be bankroll by the federal government of Nigeria. And it would be seeing as another effort by the government, to compensate the Igbos for the destructions they suffered as result of the Nigerian Civil War. The bill appeared to be modeled from the Northeast Development Commission bill.

The main reasons for these bills especially the Southeast bill reminds of the longstanding issues with the way government businesses are conducted in Nigeria. Though, in fairness, it could be say that there is nothing wrong with development bills. However, the problem is these bills lack accountability, transparency and fairness, which is the case with the Southeast bill. Especially, if this bill is tie to the civil war and its destructions in terms of human lives as well as properties.

I do not think there is anyone that would say that the Igbos did not suffered as result of the civil war. As reported, many Igbos suffered during the civil war. However, the Igbos were not the only group impacted by the war. They were not the only group victimized by the war. Groups that were under the then Eastern Regional government also suffered as result of the war. Some of them suffered the same or similar fates as the Igbos, or even more depending on proximities to the war. Ogoni was brutalized and devastated by the war and should be included in any such development bills. If not included, Ogoni should demand for her own versions of these bills, to develop Ogoni and its environs, as one of the victims of the civil war, as well as many other catastrophic events caused by Nigeria.   

Ogoni should begin by demanding for answers for these injustices. And that begins with the Ogoni people demanding to know from their House of Representatives members about things such as this Southeast bill and their view. The time for Ogoni people to demand for answers from Senator and House of Representatives Members representing Ogoni region is now. Ogoni leaders and politicians should explain to the people about the actions they are taking, to protect the Ogoni people in Nigeria. They should explain to the people why Ogoni should continue to call themselves Nigerians under these brutal treatments they are receiving.

Ogoni as an ethnic group cannot survive through the usual politicking in Nigeria. The politics of Nigeria is extremely toxic and useless and the worse avenue for Ogoni people to rely for survival. The true is, the Nigerian political system is no different from organized crimes and criminalities and Ogoni as a minority will not survive for too long in such environment. Ogoni is face with existential threat as part of Nigeria and we need to do something and everything before Ogoni is slowly and steadily drifts out of existence. The time to act is now. The time to seek new course of actions is now.

Ogoni may not have the sheer population. They may not have vast ocean of wealth. They may not have diplomatic ties and influences. However, if Ogoni as a group can come together and commit themselves to the Ogoni course wholeheartedly. If Ogoni can do away with over focusing on the useless bloodsucking politics of Nigeria but focus on the Ogoni course environmentally, politically, and economically. If this course can be reinvigorated, rededicated and pursuit religiously. If only it can be pursuit with consistence and persistence but transparently will Ogoni rise to the occasion and once again take the world by surprise. Only then will Ogoni be able to break even the hardest chains and shackles of mental and physical enslavement. Only then will Ogoni be able to free herself from the ongoing victimization, internal slavery, and threat to extinction she faces. Ogonis are being poison as result of Nigeria.

If the Biafrans (or the Igbos) had a quarter of the case and issues the Ogonis are confronted with, they would have been gone without much fuss. No one will fight the Ogoni course for the Ogoni people but the Ogoni people themselves and the time to rethink is now.  

This piece has been contributed by Livinus Inordee. The views expressed does not necessarily reflect those of


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