My People Perish For Lack Of Wisdom

wisdomTHE 2015 Elections have come and gone, and we now have a new party in power – the first time in the history of our country, where a sitting president has voluntarily acquiesced to the collective will of the people – some progress I believe.

On the other hand, the election and our democracy continues to be about people and personalities – The Igbos of the South East and the South South voted en mass for incumbent president, I believe on three basic premises – firstly and most significantly is that Goodluck Jonathan is a South Southerner with a South Eastern name “Ebele” – and therefore more of their own than the country’s leadership selection process has ever thrown up; Secondly, he was voted for partially and belatedly announced accomplishments;

Thirdly – and I venture to say this with some hesitation – that the South Easterners and the South Southerners having never experienced “democratic change as a possibility” stuck with what they knew to be an incumbent –after all, incumbents always win!

They did, however, flex some collective muscle in Lagos – where their collective strength threatened, but did not overturn the status quo.

Nigeria is not so much a country, as a collection of tribes and peoples living amongst each other – with a collective, yet completely separate ideologies.

The solution to the South South and South Eastern Conundrum remains that unless this geo-political zone has its own urban magnate – a concentrated urban area that is self sustaining in employment, culture, life – this zone will continue to lag behind the rest of the country – and its young will continue to export themselves to Lagos, Abuja – and beyond… or for those left behind, continue to resort to kidnapping, armed robbery and its close cousin political thuggery for sustenance.

So, the Igbos of the South East, and their South Southern minority cousins, instead of seeking “a candidate” in the office of Senate President, or even president, should use whatever political clout they now have – which in the face of new political combinations – is now fast waning – to seek for a new “Delta City” in the region – to be built as a Federal Territory.

The Delta City should be a modern city – invested with all the infrastructure that makes for a modern mega polis – deep sea ports, modern airport, universities and colleges, good roads, water, transportation.

Additionally, and more importantly, The Federal Government should make it mandatory for the Ministries of Petroleum Resources, the Nigerian National Petroleum Company NNPC and all its subsidiaries and regulatory agencies to relocate there.

All ministries and government parastatals and regulatory agencies related to the maritime industry should be relocated there.

The Naval HQ should be in this Delta City. More importantly, the Government should make it mandatory for all Oil Companies, Oil Service Companies to locate their Headquarters and their Executive teams in this city/region. The immediate effect of this will be massive job creation opportunities in the region on a scale never seen before.

It will have the added benefit of diminishing the “importance” of Lagos – and redistribution of the wealth and job creation opportunities more equitably across the country.

No longer will fresh graduates, upon finishing their exams seek to get on the next bus to Lagos to squat with a friend while they either hustle, or make the rounds of employers.

Now we will collectively be giving them a myriad of options of urban areas in the country, and lets face it —- urbanization is real – people prefer to be in urban centers – they create opportunities.

Furthermore, a newly created Delta City will concentrate investment, and make it meaningful and impactful.

The people of the Niger Delta can grow wealthy in construction, real estate and real estate agency, Insurance brokerage, legal, financial and other advisory services to the oil industry, agency services of all kindsetc. – the very same thing that has made Lagosians rich.

This is a wider-spread form of wealth creation versus the “awarding of oil pipeline protection services” that are currently awarded to a select group of people of the Niger-Delta.

With the creation of a Delta City with its own deep-sea port and its logistics distribution base, no longer will it be possible, or even necessary for “area boys” tax south-easterners excessively as soon as they open up shop in Alaba market. No longer will their goods perish or their lives put in perpetual danger on the Sagamu-Ore road.

As a matter of fact, Nigeria will balance out nicely, with the three major geo-political zones each with its own sizeable urban mega polis to serve its urban hungry youth.

Rather than idolizing individual politicians, or clamoring for non-useful political posts, the people of the South South, and South East should be far more strategic in determining what will truly be of benefit to them and their future generations.

Former President Goodluck Jonathan’s non-action in this sense is perhaps his worst failing, of both the country, and his immediate constituency. • Ndili wrote from Lagos.

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