Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Pan Niger Delta Youth Leadership Forum has commenced an engagement with ethnic youth leadership across the states of the Niger Delta with a message of ethnic harmony and peace.
This, the Forum believed, would help in advancing common economic and political agenda through robust and objective political participation of youths in politics.
President of the group, Mr. Richard Akinaka said, in his message to ethnic youth leaders in Cross River and Akwa Ibom states, maintained that while there were clear issues of marginalisation of the region by the Nigerian state, but at the base of the numerous problems of the region were leaders that had failed the people over the years.
According to him, the Nigerian government had taken advantage of the polarisation of ethnic nationalities in the areas to perpetrate injustices.
Akinaka lamented that the Niger Delta region had the Presidency for six years and had nothing to show for it as issues of lack of development still dominate discussions on the Niger Delta.
Akinaka, who commended Governor Henry Seriake Dickson of Bayelsa State, for challenging the Federal Government on oil licenses for the Niger Delta, reiterated that the granting of oil licenses’ for more businessmen from the region would ensure stability in the region.
He urged youths of region to stop blind follower-ship but seek to participate in politics to elect leaders with the character and capacity to develop our region.
Akinaka, while insisting that there were lots of things going wrong in the region, stressed that the youths could not afford to sit down and watch things continue in the wrong direction.
Said he, “The problems of our region are not that of lack of resources but lack of leadership. Failed leadership in the region is evident in the ethnic disunity and unnecessary political rivalry of our political leaders to the detriment of the collective economic, socio political growth of the Niger Delta.
“We have found ourselves in a situation where we are so polarised along ethnic and unworthy political divides. As youths of this region we must put aside our ethnic difference and unite as a people with common destiny and get involved in the politics of this region to objectively purge out leaders that have failed us.
“This is because if leadership is not right everything goes wrong. We must deliberately seek to correct the problems of leadership failure and disunity that have denied us of the synergy to advance a common regional developmental and economic agenda. This we can’t do by following political leaders that are undeserving of our followership.”