Who knows why the Niger Delta Avengers are eager for talk with the Federal government? Wait a minute for the answer.
I could remember, back in 2013/14, when Abubakar Shekau was at his barbaric best, everybody that thinks he knows everything about national security, particularly people from South of the Niger/Benue, was on top of his voice, screaming as loud as he could. The position then was that, the Northern elders should be held responsible for the Boko Haram insurgency. In fact, that they should be saddled with the responsibility of bringing it to an end, that the Federal government should stop wasting government’s money buying ammunition and military hardwares for the army – that could be the reason why Dasuki turned everyday of that better-forgotten era, into Christmas, dancing “Atilogwu” with the legendary arm procurement fund.
Fast-forward to 2016, when the Niger Delta Avengers (criminals) felt it is their turn to assault our sovereignty, collective sensibilities, peace and safety of lives and properties. When the militants started to disturb the peaceful and law abiding citizens of the Niger Delta, blowing up pipelines and other critical oil installations that are very key to the socio-economic viability of Nigeria as a sovereign nation, our “Guguru & Epa” analysts of three years ago suddenly lost the same voice with which they gave a mandate to the elders in the North (perhaps, rightly) to go, talk to Boko Haram, as if they (Boko Haram) were housed in a hotel.
Ordinarily one would have expected them to be consistent in what they believe and preach, by calling on the elders in the Niger Delta to go and talk to those criminals who want to harvest for selfish ends, the fruit of what Ken Saro Wiwa & Co. planted with sincerity and watered with their blood.
Now to the reason why the criminals/saboteurs are now eager for talks with the Federal government. In Yoruba land, there’s this saying that; “Ipa n pa ara e, oni oun npa Aja”. A terminal ailment would never succeed its victim. When the victim dies, it dies with the victim too.
During the Niger Delta Avengers’ moment of thoughtlessness, they never knew that as they were blowing up the pipelines and other oil infrastructure, they were also blowing up 13% derivation of their oil producing states, not to talk of the monthly Federal Allocation accrued to the states whose political leadership never saw any reason to invest judiciously in infrastructure that would have served as a magnetizer for investors to the region.
In case you forgot, the criminally deafening silence of the Governors of those states also accord them a level of culpability, at least in the court of public opinion. The Governors of states like Bayelsa, Rivers and Delta where the Avengers are known to operate gave them a tacit support, through the instrumentality of silence, until lately when some of them went to the Presidential Villa to advise Mr President to exchange the fight against corruption for peace in the Niger Delta. With that ignoble position, you don’t have to be an Albert Estein, to know where those Governors stand.
Now that the reality of the possibility of a Nigeria without oil bites some Governors, especially some lazy ones in the North, who are now taking a hard look at agriculture, the thinking that sabotage against oil production in the Niger Delta can liquidate Nigeria, is now gradually being demystified. The same has been irrigating the arrogance of those criminals parodying the genuine struggle of Ken Saro Wiwa and others against the assault of oil exploration on the region’s environment over the years.
It would be an understatement to say that the successive governments since after the discovery of oil in Oloibiri in 1956 have done incalculable injustice to the region, but engaging in vandalization of oil facilities would not bring about the desired development in the region. Rather a sincere and constructive engagement with the Federal government is a more viable option, if you ask me.
Follow Adebayo Abubakar on twitter @MarxBayour