Posted by News Express | 1 August 2020 | 968 times
Have you ever been to the creeks in the Niger Delta? Have you ever experienced gas flaring?
If you have, you would understand the reason why the Niger Deltans are boiling with anger over the mindless looting by the members of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the commission that was set up to address the needs of the people in the area. Imagine a situation whereby you are a farmer and you have land but you cannot farm.
You are a fisher man and there is water in your environment but you cannot fish.
You are a victim of ecological hazards, environmental pollution and soil degradation, resulting from oil spillage and gas flaring. You are simply left with nothing to survive because your agricultural land and fishing waters have been made unproductive and yet you are being neglected in the sharing of the enormous wealth that is being generated from your own soil.
While the resources in your land are being exploited and others making a lot of money, building mansions and living in affluence, you, the owner of the land is living in abject poverty and under sub-human conditions. Even Jesus Christ would lose his cool in such circumstance.
The truth is that the members of the commission who are engaged in this primitive and mindless looting of the funds meant to address the numerous needs of the suffering masses in the Niger Delta may not necessarily be engaging in the wicked acts for themselves.
They might be storing the stolen funds away with the belief that they are securing the future for their children, grandchildren and even their generations yet to be born.
However, what they may not know is that wealth is not transferable. One can acquire wealth but he cannot transfer it.
The only thing that is transferable and it would stand the test of time is knowledge.
If you leave money for your children without giving them the right training, they would waste it. If you will estates and other properties to them without building the right capacity in them, they would sell everything within three years of your death and spend the money on litigations.
Whoever doubt this should take an inventory of our former public office holders both civilians and military who had looted our common wealth, where their children who must have inherited their ill-acquired wealth, where they are today.
The truth is that inherited wealth is like being born into a rich family. Being born into a rich family does not make one rich. It only puts one on easy street, gives one an easy start and makes one comfortable ,but certainly not rich.
What makes one rich is hard work, character, determination, focus and to some extent luck, that is the God`s element.
Whoever thinks that inherited wealth pays should look at the Chanchangis, the Ibrus, the Abiolas, the Nzeribes, the Ilodibes of Ekene Dili Chukwu, the Adebowales, the Arisikolas of this world, their children have not overtaken them financially. Even most of their children are struggling to survive.
But look at the Jim Ovias, the Tony Elumelus, the Femi Otedolas, the Jimoh Ibrahims, the Orji Uzor Kalus of this world, who did not come from strong financial background where they are today.
That is a big proof that being born into a rich family or inheriting wealth does not make one rich. The only advantage is that it makes things easier for you because you have a name that you can drop and doors would be open for you.
So, since we have seen that stashing wealth away for our children and grandchildren does not achieve the desired result in the long run and that nobody can take even a penny out of this world, we should try to retrace our steps and begin to practice moral over money and people over profit, knowing full well that our biggest achievement here on earth should not be how many billions of dollars that we made but the service that we rendered to our community.
For the NDDC, what is needed to bring peace and wellbeing in the Niger Delta is not an Abuja packaged commission, no matter how laudable it is on paper. It is not theories from institutions or organisations whose members have not experienced gas flaring ,ecological hazards, grinding poverty or environmental pollution. Professors in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology or the Harvard Public Disputes Programme at Harvard Law School in the United States whose members have never experienced gas flaring or grinding poverty cannot develop theories that would solve the problem in the Niger Delta.
This is because who knows it feels it. You can never give an expert advice on a situation that you not been in.
What is needed to put to an end the economic rape in the Niger Delta under the guise of Niger Delta Development Commission is the freedom of the people of Niger Delta to participate actively and fully in the harnessing of the resources within their region.
A situation whereby it is only the federal government that is in partnership with the oil companies that are operating in the area is not right.
This is because it has not only made the Niger Deltans strangers on their own soil, it has also robbed them of their intrinsic worth as authentic human beings, any wonder the youths some of the time behave like Rambo on the loose.
There should be direct participation of the indigenes of Niger Delta in the harnessing of the resources in their area. By this I mean that the business of oil exploitation and production should be between the oil producing states and the oil companies, while a certain percentage would be agreed upon which the states would be paying into the federation account.
However, if this view is on the extreme at the moment because of the totalitarian system of government that we are practicing now under the guise of democracy, then the oil producing states should be allowed to have equity in the oil companies operating in their areas.
This is the only way the economic rape that has been going on in the region would be stopped.
ABOUT THE COLUMNIST
Peter Anosike is a well-known journalist and development economist.
His book, Dangote’s Ten Commandments on Money (Lessons on How to Make Money from One of the World’s Richest Men), was rated as one of the best development books in the world by Wall Street Journal and FORBES. The book has been adopted as a workbook for grooming entrepreneurs by the Small and Medium Enterprises Development Agency of Nigeria (SMEDAN). Anosike’s other of his books include, How To Be The Best You Can Be and Look Forward and Lean Less On Your Past – all trending in Smashwords along with Dangote’s Ten Commandment on Money and How To Be The Best You Can Be. You can follow him on Facebook and Linkedin.
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