From Femi Folaranmi, Yenagoa
The Niger Delta struggle pioneered by late Major Isaac Jasper Adaka Boro needs synergy among all stakeholders if it is to succeed.
These were the views of three university professors who spoke at annual Isaac Jasper Adaka Boro 2021 memorial lecture held at Kaiama, Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area.
The three university dons, Prof Seiyefa Brisibe, Dr Stephen Temegha Olali and Dr Philip Okolo were in agreement that the minority question and struggle needs more coordination to succeed.
Prof Brisibe in his paper, “Minority Right Struggles of the Ijaw in Nigeria: A Critique of the Human Capital and Infrastructural Development Implication”, noted that factors such as poverty, unemployment, poor development (Human capital and infrastructure), environmental degradation, socio-political inequlity, unfairness and injustice had contributed to fuel the struggles and activism in the Niger Delta region.
While noting that that the situation on ground as per human capital and infrastructure especially is a far cry from the expected achievement after Boro’s 12 day revolution, Brisibe submitted that the impact of the various government intervention programmes including the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Ministry of Niger Delta, Presidential Amnesty Programme have been uncoordinated and haphazardly.
Brisibe stated that going forward, the Ijaw and Niger Delta struggle should be strategic and innovative to record the desired success.
Among his recommendations includes Pan Ijaw cultural organisations to be knowledgeable and data-driven, creative.
He also advocated for a pan- Ijaw economic-political movement that would provide a manifesto and political ideology basically for the development
Furthermore he said the Ijaw political class and appointee should be held accountable and responsible for the collective development of ‘our land’.
In his paper titled “Environmental Rights and Eqiutable Resource Distribution Question in the Niger Delta of Nigeria: The Isaac Boro Legacy”, Dr Olali, Chief Historian and Archivist of Bayelsa State, argued that the Nigerian state has not learnt for the lessons that gave birth to the Isaac Boro revolution.
Olali took a swipe at indigenous stakeholders within the Niger Delta for aiding and abetting the underdevelopment of the region through corrupt activities,
He pointed out that though efforts to get an equitable distribution of the resources derived from its development are being scuttled by a coalition of external and internal forces, there is hope for the Niger Delta region.
Olali commended the formation of the Pan Niger Delta Forum and the recent meeting of the Southern Governors Forum as steps in the right direction geared towards forging common developmental agenda for the region.
Okolo, Associate Professor of the Department of Political Science and Director Institute of Peace and Security Studies, Niger Delta University, listed creation of states and local governments, creation of NDDC, 13% derivation, ascension of Dr Goodluck Jonathan as President of Nigeria, establishment of NCDMB gains of the Niger Delta struggle.
He called for synergy between all stakeholders in the region to work in collaboration with one another to overcome the circumstances they found themselves.