Thursday, January 11, 2007

Blood Oil

Reading the article titled Blood Oil on Vanity Fair brought a bitter taste to my mouth. For anyone with a conscience will be quick to admit that the cause of the Niger deltans is a just one. It is often said that Nigeria is such a rich country that no Nigerian should live in poverty. I agree - especially not the Niger deltans from whose land no end of foreigners and unscrupulous Nigerians have/are feeding fat. Yet I disagree with the way in which they are waging their battle.
Kidnapping foreigners is not the way to go in my opinion. Granted, a lot of foreigners come and strutt their stuff, doing the work that another Nigerian could do, earning ten times as much while living a pampered life with driver, cook, housemaids etc, only to come back to Europe and start complaining how terrible it is there etc, like someone forced them to go, and like they were not paid a minor fortune.
That is beside the point right now because like the Yoruba say, ejo o kii se ejo wan(its not their fault).
Its not their fault that we have such a corrupt ruling class. If your own people treat you like dirt, its a bit too much to expect better from outsiders. Driving away the oil companies will only cause problems for the common man. Irrespective of what part of Nigeria they come from, the average person is suffering. Instead of attacking oil facilities and kidnapping foreigners, if I were MEND, I would attack the unscrupulous politicians, people who get millions in budget allocations like Odili without making a difference to the lives of their people deserve to be punished more than foreigners who are just trying to earn a living. President, Vice-President, Govenors, Senators, local government, chairmen, councillors etc are all waxing rich and walking away without being held to account. If a war should break out in the Niger Delta, they all have homes abroad to move to, only the poor people will be left to suffer.
It is time to start to terrorise the ruling class, to make their lives a living hell, to go out and get them in their comfort zones in Abuja, Lagos, Kaduna, Ota etc. People like Odili should be held to account. Instead of campaigning for the release of Alams, its time to ask him with one voice what he did with all that allocation to Bayelsa state. How come Bayelsa state is supposed to be one of the richest in the nation (at least in terms of allocation vs. population)and yet, nothing can be shown for almost 8 years of democracy in that state.
The only way that things can change is to start to hold our "leaders" to account, to show them that the consequences of heartless corruption are terrible. If the oil companies leave now (and inspite of all their investments, if things continue this way, its only a matter of time) only the poor people will suffer. Even the small amount of money which has trickled down from time to time will stop to.

The cause of the Niger delta people is a worthy one and it would be sad if it is hijacked by people who want to use this as their own get rich quick scheme, because such people will leave the people of the Niger Delta even more miserable than they met them.

We need a drastic change in Nigeria, if not Dafur will be child's play compared to what will happen.

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