Urge regional leaders to rise up against ethnic champions
BY SIMON EBEGBULEM & GABRIEL ENOGHOLASE
THE leadership of the National Assembly and Governor Adams Oshiomhole, yesterday raised an alarm over what they described as alleged attempt to destabilize the nation through the activities of militancy in the Niger Delta and the South East and urged elders and leaders from the zones to rise up and secure the unity of the nation.
While the Senate President, Bukola Saraki expressed worries over the number of deaths being recorded both in the Niger Delta and the South-East due to the latest uprising by militants in the Niger Delta and agitators of the state of Biafra, Oshiomhole declared that Nigerians must rise up against all ethnic champions, saying that a united Nigeria is better than a divided nation.
The leaders bared their minds when the Senate President who was represented by his Deputy, Ike Ekweremadu and other Senators, paid Oshiomhole a condolence visit yesterday on the demise of the Oba of Benin, Oba Erediauwa. The Senators also paid condolence to the Crown Prince of the Kingdom, Prince Ehenede Erediauwa at his palace in Uselu.
While regretting that the Oba’s demise happened now that the nation is facing serious security challenges, the Senate President who addressed Oshiomhole said, “We are particularly worried that he is no more at this particular time that we are faced with challenges. We know the role he has played in the past, we believe that if he was with us today, he will help us in resolving most of the national questions confronting us today.
“We are having challenges of insecurity especially in the Niger Delta. We are worried with the resurgence of militancy in the Niger Delta. I believe that as leaders in the Niger Delta, we have to come up with solutions as to how to resolve it. Because he who wears the shoes knows where it pinches. We are worried about several conflicts now in the country, we have conflict in the North East, South South and now in the South East.
“ We are not only worried in terms of the economic implications but the number of lives being lost because the life of every Nigerian means a lot to us. We are worried about the social implications it means to us as a nation. We want to appeal that the best we can do for the late Oba is for the leaders to rise up and find solution to the problems. We have had challenges in the past and our forebears were there to resolve the crisis, and now that it is our time the people of Nigeria expect us to find brilliant and workable solutions to our national questions. We believe that people like you and our colleagues here will find solution to these problems” he stated.
He described the Oba as a “global citizen, a citizen of Nigeria, who performed his duties beyond the Benin kingdom. He is well known for his exploit in public service, he was indeed a man of peace. We want to assure you that as we mourn with you, we miss him too and Nigerians will also miss him “.
Responding, Oshiomhole who commended them for their visit, expressed regrets over the violence being experienced in the region saying it was capable of destroying the economy of the people of the region and the nation as a whole.
His words: “I have had conversation with many of my brothers and sisters in the South South, trying to convince ourselves that it is up to us to convert our natural endowment to blessing and that we can also choose to convert it to burden and that will be a huge shame. I believe that pipeline vandalization is like inflicting wounds on our own flesh because my worry for our sub region which I have canvassed severally is that the pollution of today, the kind of revenue we will need to restore the environment, by the time the oil well dries up, like our brothers in Jos can testify, the cost of restoring it might be beyond our means.
“So on a good day we all must ensure that those involved in oil exploration stick to international best practices in ensuring that the environment is clean. To compound our problem by breaking pipelines, destroying state assets, holding the country to ransom, it is only those of us in the South South who will be worst for it”.
According to Oshiomhole, “Nothing justifies the destruction of public property and I hope that our leaders, traditional rulers and community leaders will try to prevail on us to say that these assets are ours, no investor will come to a place that is not safe. It does not matter who is responsible for the insecurity. And if there is one thing we badly need in the South South it is to have the real direct foreign and local investment, not only to take crude and export but to reform it and establish petro chemical industries that will create opportunities so that a lot of things that we are importing today, we can begin to produce them here and even export them. And this is the only time we will be able to create jobs for our youths.
“I don’t believe that the long term solution is the hand out they call amnesty for our youths, people want to work and unfortunately these very worrisome headlines coming from this region can only scare away those who are already here not to talk of bringing in new people. But I am very proud that on this issue, across the divide I have not heard any one celebrating what is going on. And we should rise to condemn all ethnic champions, whether they are South South or South East or the North, I believe that our diversity is a source of strength” Oshiomhole said.