……. Says NDDC acting MD sponsoring empowerment programmes that empowers nobody.
The immediate past senator representing Rivers Southeast Senatorial District at the National Assembly, Senator Magnus Abe, has attributed the root causes of insecurity in Nigeria to politics.
Abe spoke at the 2019 Niger Delta Chief Executive Officers; (CEO) summit, with the theme: “Economic Revitalisation for Sustainable Development,” at the Hotel Presidential, Port Harcourt in Rivers State.
Abe also described as shocking, the statement by the Acting management director of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, Prof Nelson Bambraifa, where the NDDC boss disparaged the summit for political reasons.
He urged all political leaders to commit themselves to the principle that they will not send their followers on any errand or mission that they themselves will not undertake and to which they will not send their own children.
According to him: “Politics is one of the root causes of insecurity. If you doubt me, simply look at the level of violence in the Niger Delta on election day and during the campaigns.
“We cannot armed boys, feed them, instigate violence during elections and then after the elections we begin to talk and pretend that we do not know what is going on or when the society begins to fall apart, we act as if we do not know what is at the bottom of it.
“If we take violence out of our politics, violence in the society will reduce to manageable proportions. There is violence everywhere in the world, but violence can only spiral out of proportion when it is state-sponsored or state tolerated.
“If we take violence out of our elections, it will not only solve the problem of insecurity in the Niger Delta, but we will enthrone good governance, because it will substantially reduce godfatherism as it will become impossible for any leader to singlehandedly handpick every member of the House of Assembly and every local government chairman.”
Abe explained that that if the law was fairly and impartially enforced, and effective mechanisms for review of state actions were created, progress would be made.
He said the state actors that violated the rules should be punished, while the private actors that compromised the system should also be sanctioned.
He said: “The scenario I will like to point out, about the issue of insecurity in the Niger Delta, is to say that insecurity in this region started out of the insincerity of the political leadership.
“It is sustained in large part by political leaders who are determined to control the rest of us by all means, fair and foul, and so, they sponsor and protect violent youths to intimidate the rest of us and control the political space.”
Abe also expressed shock over a statement credited to the Acting Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Prof. Nelson Brambraifa, that sought to disparage the Niger Delta CEO’s Summit for political reasons, describing the statement as unfortunate, unfounded and uncalled for.
He said: “I was shocked and stunned beyond words, that the Managing Director of NDDC issued the statement, because he was not politically comfortable with some of the persons invited and I asked myself; how can we develop the Niger Delta with this kind of thinking?
“If you did not want to attend, you could quietly stay away. I was planning to quietly stay away. You could send somebody to represent you. If they asked you for sponsorship or for support and you did not want to give the support, it is your prerogative.
“You have been giving money to people in all sorts of empowerment schemes that empowers nobody. When I heard that, I said, I would come. We must all condemn the kind of behaviour that will place politics above development.
“It does not help the Niger Delta. We should have the courage to say what is right and insist that the right things be done.”
The former Chairman, Senate Committee on Federal Roads Maintenance Agency (FERMA), also urged the CEOs to join to make politics in the Niger Delta region right, in order to prevent politicians from using government to mess up their businesses.
The immediate past Minister of State for Agriculture, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, who chaired the occasion, in his address, called on CEOs in the Niger Delta to invest in agriculture, as an alternative to oil.
Lokpobiri described agriculture as the largest employer of labour, insisting that investment in agriculture would reduce unemployment and agitations/restiveness in the Niger Delta.
The facilitator of the Niger Delta CEOs Summit, Ernest Sorgwe, earlier in his address, stated that the programme was put together annually to stir up the right conversation among the people of the crude oil and gas-rich region.
Sorgwe said: “We do it (summit) to stir up the necessary conversation to change the narrative, because a place is not made by the name, but by the people who live in the environment.”