By Osakhare Erese, Asaba
The Niger Delta Youth Association (NDYA), worldwide, has successfully held its maiden African Youth Development Summit in the United Kingdom with a call on governments at all levels to jettison god-fatherism in politics.
Speaking at the event which has the theme, “African Youths and the Quest for Leadership”, in United Kingdom, the President of Niger Delta Youth Association worldwide, Comrade Victor James, stressed the need for the establishment of Nigerian High Commission consulate in wales to alleviate the suffering of Nigerians travelling the long distance to London for new passports or renewals.
James, who is also the Convener of the summit, called on the Federal Government to provide jobs for youths in the Niger Delta and put an end to “god-fatherism” in order to pave way for youths involvement in politics.
Speaking further, Comrade Victor James, lamented the spate of environmental degradation of the Niger Delta region and the need for better practices by the multinational oil companies operational in the region.
The first speaker, Dr. Boma Douglas, called on the people of Niger Delta region to re-orient their thought process. He said, “the players at the helm of affairs both at state and federal levels should go back to the drawing board; to the original ideas of the elders in the 60’s and 70’s, where there was passion and a craving to advance the general livelihood of the youths and people of the region.
He also advised all stakeholders in the region to jettison any form of personal interest in order to pave way for a collective motion to drive the process. He also advised members of the Nigerian community in Wales to work for the growth and development of the community.
The Nigerian High Commissioner in Wales, Ambassador George Adesola Aguntade, lamented how Nigerian youths were being used by selfish politicians to cause chaos, violence and rig elections only to abandon them.
The High Commissioner, who was represented by Mr. Emmanuel Namah, argued that the problems of the Niger Delta region was not different from other regions in the nation, adding that selfishness and individual growth remained the bane of development in the country.
He hinted that the youths were assets to the nation and should not allow themselves to be used as tools for ethnic and religious wars, but suggested that they should demand qualitative education since a well-informed youth was not gullible and easily manipulated to cause such unrest in the society.
On the need for a High Commission office in Wales to cater for the renewal and issuance of new passports, Aguntade tasked all members of the Nigerian community in Wales, regardless of creed, ethnicity, the associations they belong to, to work together in peace and unity.
Speaking further, the high commissioner stressed the need for members of the Nigerian community to work as a cohesive unit, pointing out that it would eneble the commission to consider the application to establish a Nigerian Consulate in Wales.
Also speaking, Dr. Felix Tuodolo, stated that the people of the Niger Delta region were particularly concerned to experience positive changes in the area of quality education, equity and fairness to the distribution of resources.
He recalled with disdain, how the region’s freedom fighters for fairness and equity had always ended up on the wrong side of the law.
On the Niger Delta struggle, the Federal Government and the multinational companies operating in the region, Dr. Tuodolo stated that in Nigeria, there were different laws for extractive industries, which protects their environment and livelihood, while the laws governing extraction of crude oil in the Niger Delta, makes no provisions for better practices that safeguards lives, livelihoods and the environment.
He hinted that introduction of the same law that protects other regions with extractive industries in the Niger Delta would go a long way to restructure the area.
While stressing the need for the Niger Delta region to be treated equally in terms of justice, equity and fairness, the guest speaker revealed that it would be a step in the right direction for a greater and better Nigeria.
On his part, Barr. Pereotubo Roland Oweilaemi, described crude oil spill in the region as a “menacing venom”, adding that community after community, taking the Ogoni Odimodi kingdoms as a case studies, where multinational companies like Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC), Chevron, etc, due to their explorations with old equipment have caused spillage and explosions which have totally destroyed communities, lives and livelihoods.
“Due to weak legislation governing oil exploration in the region, the Federal Government of Nigeria has been unable to enforce laws to make sure these companies take responsibility”.
He said that there was a sigh of relief recently when the Federal Government stated that a cleanup of the Ogoni kingdom was about to begin, noting that unfortunately, till this moment there has been no further development of the region.
He added: “that pollution must stop especially from gas flaring, as concise action taken to start a massive clean-up, and, also, to compensate all the communities involved are necessary actions that cannot come soon enough. The Niger Delta region must be treated fairly and equally for peace to reign because an impoverished community is an agitated community”, he said.