Posted by thetidenews on
In some parts of the world, the name, Niger Delta, represents all that is bad in Nigeria. Untrue as the impression is....
In some parts of the world, the name, Niger Delta, represents all that is bad in Nigeria. Untrue as the impression is, the international community may be tempted to respond to the Niger Delta struggle in a negative way if the records were not put straight.
Even within Nigeria, a lot of people who do not have the facts have formed the public opinion that brands the Niger Delta as being restive, destructive and lawless. With this branding many people have failed to see the injustices, previous and present in the region.
This has been made possible by the use of the old antics of calling a dog a bad name just to hang it. Instead of confronting the issues and demands raised by the people, the region and its people are branded and treated like trouble makers.
Unfortunately, every effort to make the federal government understand the issues and to deal fairly with the region had further complicated the problem and alienated the people the more.
That is why current efforts by the Niger Delta diaspora in Europe and the United States of America have become so imperative and very commendable. They have taken it upon themselves to explain the issues to the international community.
According to their plan, a conference would be held in Dallas, Texas, United States of America, through August 24-27, 2006 and would be used to address the economic, political and other legitimate demands of the region.
With the theme “Democracy, federalism and the Niger Delta,” they hope to entertain academic papers on the correctness or otherwise of the fate of the Niger Delta in Nigeria and to come up with strategic plan for sustainable development.
We are pleased with the involvement of the Niger Delta diaspora in the struggle that had been most mis-understood. Apart from the encouraging community sense, this effort would properly inform the international community and bring about popular support.
It is interesting to note that in spite of the bitterness generated by the subject, they have employed very peaceful and sensible ways of calling attention to the problem. We think that the problem of the Niger Delta has gone on for too long and deserves the direct intervention of the international community before things get out of hands.
This is even more imperative because of the mountain of mis-conception surrounding the problem. The idea of calling the Niger Delta restive and its people hostage-takers, destroyers, saboteurs, vandals and so on cannot help anyone.
The rest of Nigeria will need to deal with the real issues and prove to the world how democratic or how federal Nigeria is in the light of the Niger Delta struggle. The conscious effort of the people to steer the problem from the path of violence in this exercise should not be missed.
That is why we think the traditional and political leadership of the region should take part in the planned conference. With the participation of some world leaders, the people of the diaspora would need the legitimacy that the local leadership commands in this matter.
While we commend the Rivers State Government for keeping close working relations with our people abroad, we think that their involvement in the Niger Delta struggle is a challenge for the people to rally support for the government on every issue and bring the much needed development to the state and the region.
Finally, we are hopeful that with proper support for this conference, the difficulty of putting the concerns of the Niger Delta across would be eliminated as the international community would then be in better position to advise and assist.
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