The Oasis Reporters
December 22, 2019
I am currently in the Niger Delta. While I was still at Ofagbe, Isoko North local government area for the interment of Evangelist Celine Omasere, a fervent Christian who joined the saints triumphant at the age of 107, I ruminated on a few ideas I felt the emerging town and others in the same category needed.
That was before I got upset reading what erudite scholar and journalist par excellence, Simon Kolawole wrote.
He missed it when he started by listing a number of proposals today that may “interest anyone”.
Or upset anyone.
And here is what he wrote:
“One, I respectfully propose that we concession the Niger Delta to the Netherlands for 17 years. Do not change the revenue allocation formula. Do not increase the derivation formula; retain it at 13%. In fact, scrap the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) and the Ministry of Niger Delta. Just hand over the Niger Delta as it is now to the Dutch and ask them to “build, operate and transfer” the region by 2033. Just a change of leaders. The same followers, the same land, the same water, the same creeks, the same share of national resources and the same 1999 constitution”.
I did wonder about who would do the concession, anyway. Who are the ” we”, and on whose authority ?
Simon Kolawole certainly does know how to upset a set of people.
I traveled from Ibadan, through Osun state where the most visible signs of development from Ile-Ife to the boundary with Ondo state were billboards celebrating the ” Superlative performance of Governor Oyetola” as they celebrate his ” one year of outstanding achievements” after his electoral victory at the Supreme Court.
None of the achievements were listed. Then paradoxically, right beside each billboard is another discreet one, warning commuters to beware of bumps on the road.
Well, the bumps on that Ile-Ife to Ondo road, will definitely damage your car, if not outrightly kill it. And Simon Kolawole is from the South West !
Yet he said, ” we” will concession the Niger Delta…
It’s such a huge laugh!
Oh, by the way, the Niger Delta States on the aggregate have better roads than the South West, and Governor James Ibori distinguished himself, constructing roads, if we can ignore the fact that Ibori could have done much more, anyway, and they said that he stole so much.
“Let me fantasise: in just 17 years, the Niger Delta would have a massive network of well built roads, electricity would shine bright everywhere, schools would be brimming with brilliance, quality healthcare would be within the reach of the people — and the lives of Niger Deltans would be reformed and transformed. Let me fantasise further: skyscrapers, refineries, power plants and holiday resorts would dot the landscape. In fact, the bridge from Port Harcourt to Bonny Island would finally be built. Just a change of leaders. The same followers, the same land, the same creeks, the same share of national resources and the same 1999 constitution.
Did anyone concession Singapore before it was made to work ?
Here’s someone’s impression of the city-state.
“Singapore is on an unrelenting mission to leverage on scientific research to make emphatic statements to the rest of the world. They do not leave anything to guesswork, they engage people in critical thinking and research to solve problems. No problem is too small to be spent billions of dollars to find solutions. I can’t dispute any news of innovation coming from that country.
They recently leveraged on research to produce harmless mosquitoes and release millions of them to the environment. The produced mosquitoes will render the natural mosquitoes barren once they mate. So in a few years there won’t be any mosquito again in Singapore and the war against malaria and dengue fever would be won.
It’s all about knowledge and it’s application because I know that the breakthrough on malaria parasite sterilization research did not even originate from Singapore. I first heard of it from Mexico where the research first commenced. But Singapore became one of the nation’s to run with the idea. And it is set to work.
Niger Deltans do not lack intellectually sagacious citizens in their midst to carry out groundbreaking research to put it ahead in the race for development.
The region’s problem is the stifling grip on its neck by the center. After all, talk about refining crude oil, for instance, local boys do it in the creeks. And it is said to be just as good as the imported one from Singapore.
Restructure Nigeria and let the people take charge of their situation, and the region would be just fine !