Our Forebears Are Weeping In Their Graves, Laments Sara-Igbe
Elder statesman and Niger Delta activist, Anabs Sara-Igbe has decried the gross under development of the oil rich region, saying that the founding fathers are crying in their graves.
Speaking at the Ijaw Wari Worldwide Summit in Port Harcourt on Friday, Sara-Igbe berated the federal government for dashing the dreams of founding fathers of Rivers State, 55 years after creation in 1967.
He said the case of Rivers State has remained pathetic as according to him, after fifty-five years of creation of the oil-rich state, all it got was hordes of challenges.
His words, “The dream of developing the area has not been actualized. More challenges have risen up because of the disunity, hatred, politics of betrayals & violence, self centeredness, nepotism and myopic leadership in the state”.
The activist whose lecture was themed, “The Challenges of Actualizing Rivers State of Our Dream Through Non-Violence, Non-Abusive and Hate Free Political Processes”, said
Rivers State was at par with Lagos State in 1999 but that Lagos State which today had no 13% derivation from oil & gas, is among the 4th to 6th largest economy in Africa, while Rivers State is nowhere to be reckoned with.
He submitted: “The parochial and nepotic leadership style in the state, have not enable us to realize and take advantage of the tourism potentials of the exquisite Atlantic beaches in the riverine part of the state like Kula, Abissa, Elem Ifoko, Oyorokoto in Andoni and the Bonny areas, thereby losing so much in trade, social contact, businesses, cultural exchange,
developments, revenue ,including employment that would have been attracted to the state through tourism”.
He further lamented the challenges of poverty and unemployment facing Rivers State due to the destruction of the traditional occupation of fishing and farming, occasioned by occasioned by oil and gas exploration & production activities in the area.
According to him, “Failure by successive governments of the state to harness the tourism potentials of the aforementioned tourism sites of the states is also contributory to rate of unemployment, poverty and low revenue of the state.
“Worst still, the Rivers State Government that receives 13% derivation for the production of oil & gas and the intervention agencies like NDDC have failed to invest in activities that will create employment opportunities for the people, particularly the Youths who are unskilled, semi-skilled & skilled and the educated once in the state.
“The unemployment and lack of productive activities that will occupy the minds of the youths, particularly the educated once, has forced them into crimes such as cultism, oil bunkering, oil theft, armed robbery and kidnapping for ransom, instead of following the part of honour like education and legitimate business that will lead them to national and international limelight.
There were always challenges confronting the Riverine people, right from the pre and post Independent era of Nigeria, which led to the agitation of the creation of Rivers State”, he said.
“Therefore, for us to actualize the Rivers of our dream through non-violence, non-abusive and hate free political process, we must be focused and learn from the developmental politics of the South West Region and also appreciate the fact that politics is a game of service to the people and not war. I hope these will eliminate the evil thought and hatred amongst the interest and people of Rivers State.
“Finally, let me advise whoever that will win the next Governorship election in the state to run an all inclusive government that will usher in the much needed development across the state. The era of the Governor carrying out sectional development should be over”.
Sara-Igbe suggested that the that would emerge should also collaborate with the Bayelsa State Government and other States in the Niger Delta Region to provide the much required developments in the areas.