Posted by By Femi Folaranmi (Yenagoa) & Emmanuel Ogboigbe (Warri) on
Prominent Niger Delta leaders have continued to react to the diatribe of the Northern governors on the oil resources and the crisis in the region.
Prominent Niger Delta leaders have continued to react to the diatribe of the Northern governors on the oil resources and the crisis in the region. Chairman of the 19 northern states’ Governors Forum, Dr Babangida Aliyu, had last week in reaction to Dokubo-Asari’s statement that Northerners were parasites, said the Niger Deltans could go to hell with their oil.
Aliyu maintained that the North does not need the oil from the Niger Delta to survive.
In his reaction, former Petroleum Minister, Prof Tam David-West, described as reckless the statement that provoked the reaction from the Northern Governors Forum.
Speaking with Sunday Sun, David-West, who is a professor of virology, reasoned that by law, oil resources belong to all Nigerians.
"Asari-Dokubo is my cousin but for him to call Northerners parasites was irresponsible," adding that the North was equally concerned about what is happening in the Niger Delta.
But, elder statesman, Chief Thompson Okpoko (SAN), wondered why the North has refused to understand the plight of people of the region, who he said have not only been marginalized but criminally neglected.
According to Okpoko, who is a former president of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), "the truth of the matter is that those people who made such a silly statement are not the true representatives of the North, because elders and leaders from that axis have been dealing with the people of the Niger Delta for many years."
On President Umar Yar’Adua’s replacement of the ill-fated summit with dialogue between leaders and stakeholders of the Niger Delta, the legal luminary also viewed the latest development as time-wasting and unnecessary.
"Why must we be wasting time with this effort that will not yield any positive result. We have held a lot of conferences since 1958 and it is advisable that the reports and recommendations of the conference be put together and implemented," he stated.
On his part, president of the Ijaw National Congress (INC), Prof Kimse Okoko, said the realization by Northerners that they do not need the oil from the Niger Delta to survive was a welcome development.
Speaking to Sunday Sun, he explained that it was good for the North to realize that all the zones of the country have resources, which could be developed to attract foreign exchange.
But Okoko faulted the system whereby everybody depended on oil resources from the Niger Delta, saying it was not healthy for the country.
His words: "They are right. I cannot fault them. It is a welcome development because it is good they are realizing that there is no part in Nigeria that does not have resources to develop. It is good because Nigeria cannot continue to survive depending on the resources of a region. No country can survive like that. It is a welcome development."