From TONY JOHN, Port Harcourt
The Ogoni Liberation Initiative (OLI) has said the ethnic nationality in Rivers State, is prepared to accept and work with any corporate organisation prepared to actualize the Ogoni template.
President and Chief Executive Officer of OLI, Douglas Fabeke, stated this at the Ogoni Empowerment Summit organised by the group held in Port Harcourt, the state capital.
Fabeke disclosed that the organisation has developed a template which covers core areas like job creation, youth empowerment, environmental restoration, with a view to restoring indigenous livelihoods (agro business), standard healthcare with state-of-the-art facilities and many other projects.
He said the cardinal objective of this summit was centred on addressing the various ways of revitalizing and revamping Ogoni economic activities in the areas of education, agriculture, Oil and Gas, environment, entrepreneurship, Information and Communication Technology (ICT), security, health and housing.
According to him, the summit was focused on changing the old narrative of relying on a single income source of economy to a diversified economy.
He noted that a diversified economy is the only and best strategy to encourage positive economic growth and development.
Fabeke further said that economic diversification was a fundamental component of economic development in which a country moves to a more diverse production and trade structure.
According to him, the absence of economic diversification is frequently associated with vulnerability to unemployment, insecurity, drop in Gross Domestic Product (GDP) and over-reliance on foreign aid through borrowing.
He declared: “We are ready to receive and work with any corporate organization that will help to actualize the aforementioned template, thus the need for the convening of this economic empowerment submit to chart a way forward for the liberation and development of our people.
“Achieving a robust economic diversification and growth requires that policy attention be paid to major sectors such as education, agriculture, oil and gas, environment, entrepreneurship, ICT, security, health and housing.
“However, this cannot be achieved without the economic awareness and empowerment of the citizenry for which this summit seeks to achieve. It has, therefore, been the major task of the Ogoni Liberation Initiative to systematically employ and implement strategies that will deliver the future we wish to see through development in the aforementioned sectors.”
OLI leader noted: “In recent times, the Niger Delta region has been engraved with serious environmental concerns. The oil multinational companies, in a bid to maximize profit at the detriment of the people, have continued to engage in activities that are further devastating to our environment.
“Our water has been contaminated, air polluted, aquatic lives destroyed and many others. The case of the Ogoni environment is a focal point. The continuous gas flaring, burning of greenhouse gasses has led to climate change resulting to flooding in most parts of the Niger Delta, irregular rainfall and many other damages that have hampered economic growth.
“The Ogoni Liberation has been at the forefront advocating for the restoration of the devastated and polluted Ogoni environment. We have engaged and we will continue to engage the stakeholders and other well intended groups to join force and fighting for the betterment of our people.
“It is well acknowledged that no economy can strive in the midst of insecurity. Security is, therefore, cardinal as far as economic development is concerned. To this, our organization has continued to engage our youths in meaningful endeavours such as skill acquisition training and various forms of entrepreneurships to keep them busy. The Ogoni Liberation Initiative is anchored on the development of our people.
“Our focused areas for development includes but not limited to: Oil and Gas, Education, Environmental Restoration through proper and world class remediation exercise, Agriculture, Employment for our teeming youths, Health care facilities amongst other projects.
“Our organization has strategically engaged oil bearing communities in Ogoniland, and their people through multi stakeholder consultation, to make sure that economic activities are restored in the various Communities for the best interest of the people who are the real owners of the resources. It is our desire and aspiration that the resources on our land be transformed into wealth and affects the lives of our people positively.”