In order to advance the cause of people from the riverine areas in Rivers State and bring development, the people should be united and have a common goal to win the governorship election in the state.
Reverend Asoliye Douglas-West made gave this charge in Lagos at the weekend during the recognition award ‘Ama-Belemabo’ (Lover of the Community) bestowed on him by the Ido Pregressive Union (Lagos chapter) as one of the emerging leaders among the Kalabari youths and a leading light in the succeeding generation.
Douglas-West disclosed that, at some point in time, some people had approached him that they had looked around and found peculiar characteristics in him and they believe he should step up his game and occupy a leadership role at the highest level in the state.
According to the cleric, whenever he has the opportunity to meet people in a gathering, he uses the occasion to sensitize Kalabari people that it is not just about him as an individual but it is about the Kalabari community and how he can advance their cause.
His words: “I believe that I have a role to play in leadership at the highest level in Rivers State, considering where I am coming from, and with the vast experience that I have garnered over the years. I need the support of our people. I want people to understand the challenges confronting the riverine areas, that they are quite enormous. God has blessed and endowed the riverine areas and we can evolve an economy with the resources that God has bestowed on us. The mangroove, water, oil are sources of wealth that we can develop to make our people economically viable, financially free and that is what my advocacy is all about.”
He recalled that when some Kalabari youths were involved in militancy, that period was a loss to the community: “Although the people made some gains as people from the Niger Delta, while some of the youths involved in it may have profiteered from the process, but, as a community, it was a loss to the people because then they ought to be in school and would have been in the process of human development but because of that loss, the negative consequence is going to be with the people for a very long time, which has now manifested in the low enrollment of youths into institutions. Our numbers have been declining, be it in education, military, civil service and other institutions.”
Going down memory lane, the cleric noted that the riverine communities had their economic activities, even before Independence, but, today there are no such economic activities anymore “and it is one of the indirect ways to measure if people have an economy or not.”