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Hope for Niger Delta

Posted by By PAUL OMO OBADAN (blessedpaul12@yahoo.com) on 2008/02/19 | Views: 420 |

Hope for Niger Delta


Although slender and diminutive in stature, Lola Amao’s dream is a very tall one. And that lofty dream is to bring peace to the people of the Niger/Delta. A Civil Structural Engineer by profession, Amao has a PhD in Computer Design in modelling. Hear her: “I work with a consulting firm Lonardek Oil and Gas consultants in Victoria Island.

Although slender and diminutive in stature, Lola Amao’s dream is a very tall one. And that lofty dream is to bring peace to the people of the Niger/Delta. A Civil Structural Engineer by profession, Amao has a PhD in Computer Design in modelling. Hear her: “I work with a consulting firm Lonardek Oil and Gas consultants in Victoria Island.

“They are the initiators of Vision 2020 youth empowerment and restoration initiative. Basically, we are involved in developing human resources for the oil and gas industry and now we are focused within the context of vision 2020 to develop youths for Nigeria as a country and to ensure that Nigeria becomes one of the top 20 countries by the year 2020.”

Vision 2020
“Vision 2020 initiative started in 2006. It commenced at the Shell Hall in Muson where we had 267 students from various secondary schools in Lagos and we had resource persons from the oil industry come to tell the children about oil and gas and we had seminars and workshops on what it takes to be successful in the oil and gas industry.

We gave out oil and gas career handbooks, maths set, writing materials, basically to enlighten the children and create awareness about the opportunities in oil and gas in Nigeria.
December last year we were challenged by a colleague in the oil and gas industry to actually focus on the Niger/Delta and that got us thinking that rather than going to just schools to gather children into halls, show them films on oil and gas and get people to come and talk to them, we should actually try and reach out to the grass roots.

Sometimes in the creeks, in the hinterlands in the Niger/Delta area, you can get the population of educated and literate kids who are in secondary schools. To actually achieve that we need to change the orientation of the younger children who have seen education as a viable means to success rather than militancy. We are now beginning to take a data base on the type of people there, there tribe, there population, there dialects, there native and cultural activities so that we can begin to see how best to touch the lives of age to 12 and the mothers who we believe are not militants and will be very receptive to change. So we are looking at the mothers, the aged and the 12-years-old in the Niger/Delta as being agents of change so that they can have a different mind set and a different orientation and effect the long awaited change in the Niger-Delta.

Challenges
It is a major challenge. At this moment we are meeting with major stakeholders in the Niger-Delta. We are making contacts with our friends in the industry who originate from the Niger-Delta. We are gathering GSM numbers of specific youth leaders – people who have been proven and tested as likely agents of change who we would want to work with to effect change in a very proactive manner.
The major drawback for the moment is we don’t speak the Language, we don’t know the terrain, so we are going to have to visit and see. I am told it is not an area were you go and speak grammar, it is an area were you are clad in native attire and approach the grass root from a basic point of view. We are going out and spending time trying to hear from the people in the creeks and the hinterlands to find out precisely what they need and what they think will give them hope and effect the change we are looking for.

We will explore Abonima, Yenogoa.
We believe that the problem of the Niger-Delta is so huge. We believe in relationship and partnership. So we are going to partner with our friends, colleagues and our clients as usual.
We are reliably informed that Agriculture is an area where people have suffered in the Niger-Delta. Also fishing and their original income, which is cash crop. And I understand the oil and gas activities may have depleted the natural resources in the environment.

Also I am informed that environmental degradation has led to the hash outlook and that quite a number of activities in the region have formed negative influence and we have some occultic attachments. So we are looking at things in terms of how best we can look at issues on the ground and how best to get this people turn a new leaf and put the past behind them, how to make them discard the pain and the anger and the aggravation, look forward to a future where there will be healing and restoration both in the land and in the lives of the very young ones.
I know it is an awesome challenge and task but we are believing God that we will find helpers and those who have an alignment with our vision and our purpose.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.