It is a total shame and a national disgrace to the people of the Niger Delta region, and indeed the entire country, that it is their sons and daughters, who have been opportuned to head and manage the enormous public funds yearly allocated/budgeted to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), meant to develop the region and uplift the living standard of the people, were/are the same set of persons who have deliberately stolen, mismanaged, misappropriated and made a complete mess of why the NDDC was set up in the first place. Who has bewitched us as a people? How can our own people be the ones responsible for the gross level of backwardness and underdevelopment evident today in the Niger-Delta areas? And yet, some persons will be pointing to the center and other factors, as to the reasons why we are where we are today.
While I agree with the fact that the Federal Government and the Presidency have their own faults and share of the blame in what has been happening in the NDDC since its inception till date, but the truth still remains that our own Niger Delta people who were given the responsibility to judiciously use all the huge amounts of money yearly given to the NDDC to develop the region and make life a lot better for the masses. But what have they been doing? They have made the NDDC a conduit pipe for the pilfering of public funds to enrich their private pockets. What a shame!
Is it not a big shame to the Niger-Delta region that since the inception of the NDDC and the Niger Delta Ministry, it has been our sons and daughters who have been running them. No Fulani/Hausa has ever headed the NDDC; no Yoruba has ever headed it and no Igbo has ever headed it either. The NDDC has always been run and managed by our Niger-Delta people, majorly from the South-South. And they have been the ones stealing all the hundreds of billions of Dollars and Naira meant for the overall, and collective good of their own people.
Shame on these Niger-Deltans who have cheated and impoverished their own people, and then still have the audacity to shout for marginalization, deprivation and neglect. And to make matters worse, it is our own people that will still cover them up for their crimes against us all. Take the case of the former Acting MD of the immediate past Interim Management Committee (IMC) of the NDDC, for instance, Mrs. Joy Nunieh, who, like many others in the Commission like her, have became billionaires overnight. A look at her Port-Harcourt home in Rivers State, makes one to wonder. What did she do that have earned her the billions of naira to own that kind of luxury compound with the luxury cars and space in Port Harcourt? And the same question goes to all the former and current Executive and Board members of the NDDC.
We can glaringly see that our problems in the region, is not from anyone or anywhere else, but from our people, and majority of the BLIND AND IGNORANT FOLLOWERS, who have refused to ask questions that aggressively demand for answers. We hear and see them everyday, blindly defending these public thieves. The usual language is: “Na our brothers, na our sisters. Leave them alone. They are not the only ones who have stolen.” And it makes one to wonder that how can a people daily sell their birthrights for a pot of porridge? How can a people prefer immediate gratification of their wants, and then put in jeopardy, the future of their own children?
Rather than being a channel through which deliberate development can be brought closer to the general masses in the region, the NDDC is now seen as ‘a gold mine’ by the powerbrokers and elites of the Niger-Delta areas. It is just pathetic! A pity! Especially to our future generations.
I have always reiterated the fact that our problems in the region are not the Fulanis/Hausas, Igbos, Yorubas, or other tribes out there. The minority tribes of the South-South areas, are the real problems of the region. Shame on them! And a big shame to all those who run after them for peanuts. These are the people who have deliberately caused and worsened the existing abject poverty in the Niger-Delta region. What were the likes of Timi Alaibi and Emmanuel Aguariavwodo doing before they entered the NDDC? What were their state of wealth and standard of living before the NDDC? Apart from Mr. Godwin Omene, the first Managing Director of the NDDC, who was the first blackman to had risen to become Shell (SPDC) Manager, the rest after him in the NDDC, are nothing to write home about as regard their integrity and accountability. Omene was also the first blackman to be Shell Divisional Manager; first General Manager; first Shell Nigeria Deputy Managing Director (DMD); and he also graduated with a First Class Degree and other post graduate courses in mining Engineering in the prestigious Imperial College in London.
As such, he is a Shell scholar. As the then Shell DMD, Omene rose to the peak of his career, and the DMD was actually the person managing Shell operations in Nigeria then. But he was forcefully removed by political interests that wanted to use the NDDC to actualize their selfish enrichment. Even the locals themselves, rather use oil companies’ initiatives like GMoU to develop their oil host producing Communities, they have hijacked the program to enrich their private pockets.
Why can’t our people ask themselves critical questions, especially on the recent happenings in the NDDC, and also answer the questions by themselves? Rather than heaping blames on other major tribes. Until we start telling ourselves the BITTER TRUTH, we will continue to have some few in the public space, stealing our collective wealth, and still lording it over the rest, and keeping them forever impoverished. Our destiny is in our hands, and posterity will not forgive us, if we allow this waste of public funds to continue without making those responsible to pay back, and be dealt with the full weight of the law.