…Makes Case For Oloibiri Community
An elder statesman in Rivers State and Niger Delta Activist, Rev (Dr) Sokari Soberkon, has called on Governor Nyesom Wike to build a new flyover to connect Abuloma to Kalio-ama communities in the state.
This is even as he stressed the need for the Federal Government to do something concrete to give a facelift to Oloibiri Community in Bayelsa State, where oil was first struck in commercial quantity in Nigeria in 1956.
Soberekon, who made the call in Port Harcourt, said if Governor Wike builds the Abuloma -Kalio-ama flyover, it would further decongest traffic along the busy Port Harcourt – Aba Road and the Eleme axis of the East-West Road.
He also indicated that the flyover project would link the Port Harcourt Refinery and make it easily accessible, adding that building that flyover will also make Ogoni, Okirika, Akwa Ibom State and Calabar easily accessible and will link East-West Road.
While commending Governor Wike for his unprecedented projects in the State, he said all the flyovers have brought so much development to the state and made it one of the most developed states in the country, projects which, he noted the Federal Government had failed to execute in the state.
Soberekon, who is one of the living founding fathers of old Rivers State, said when constructed, the new Abuloma-Kalio-ama flyover should be named, ‘Wike Link Bridge’, as we have Ada George Road and Peter Odili Road. This, he said the Governor should do before leaving office because, according to him, a new government may not look into that direction, adding that it will be a very short flyover but very important.
The elder statesman while shedding light on the restructuring proposal he forwarded to President Muhammadu Buhari and the National Assembly, said there has been a great injustice against Oloibiri Community which has been grossly neglected for over 65 years.
He said it is the discovery of oil in Oloibiri that set Nigeria on the path of economic growth, development, prosperity and transformation, stressing that the development and transformation we have been able to experience in Abuja, Lagos and all the major cities in Nigeria is as a result of the discovery of oil in Oloibiri Community, which also led to the discovery of oil in other parts of the Niger Delta and other states.
“The best and the most appropriate thing we can do for the village that set Nigeria on the path of economic growth, development, prosperity and transformation is to rename the country after her, to become the United Africa Republic of Oloibiri. This will help in correcting the great injustice against the village”, he said.
Soberekon regretted that no President of Nigeria, living or dead has ever visited Oloibiri community, and urged President Buhari to reverse that trend and urgently visit the community before leaving office.
Beyond this, he noted that there is need for federal presence in Oloibiri Community, and called on the Federal Government to establish a Petroleum and Gas University in the community.
“In addition, the President of Nigeria, delegates from the United Nations, the World Press and Governors of the 36 states of Nigeria, members of the National Assembly and State Houses of Assembly need to visit Oloibiri to ascertain her present state and condition. Beautiful infrastructures and museum should also be put in place in the community to make it become a tourist attraction”, he said.
He pointed out that his proposal was written in goodwill to solve the problems of Nigeria with practical steps without partisan interest, insisting that the first thing that needs to be done urgently is restructuring the country to six autonomous political zones for peace, stability, sustainability, rapid development and good governance.
It would be recalled that Soberekon in 1967 planned for the development of the state with the first Military Governor of old Rivers State, King Alfred Diete-Spiff in Lagos before the former Governor moved to Port Harcourt to implement the development plans for the new state.
His outspokenness has brought so many development to the state and the Niger Delta region in general and he contributed to the establishment of the defunct Oil Mineral Producing Areas Development Commission (OMPADEC) and was Mayor of Port Harcourt City Council in the 1970s.