“Peace Has Its Victories No Less Renowned Than War”-John Milton.
In the last one month and thereabouts, the media – electronic and print – has been awash with the mundane and asinine stories and innuendoes of a simmering confrontation betwixt the Presidency and the Governor of the Rivers State. These stories real and imagined have assumed the macabre if not the grotesque, and continues to assault the sensibilities of those of us who understand and appreciate that this contrived feud is orchestrated, stage managed and choreographed by enemies of South/South integration and harmony.
Many have asked me, wondering why I have been reticent to comment on the travesty happening in my State considering my antecedents and my well known aversion for injustice, and unwavering defense of truth and the inalienable rights as enshrined in the Constitution and African Charter, but like the late Attorney-General Chief Bola Ige, I chose to “Siddon look”.
I had hoped, and even naively believed, that common sense and astute reason, without my sullying the broth, would eventually prevail in the calm moments of introspection on the dire consequences of the reality this fratricidal war of attrition obviously portends the South/South Niger Delta; our unity, future, posterity and progress, on our feuding estranged leaders, as would elicit self-correction to sheathe their warring swords, but my hope had proven forlorn and maybe escapist.
I had had cause to seek and make presentations to leaders and elders of thought within and outside the State on the need and imperatives of détente in this acrimonious imbroglio, but it seems and apparently so, that my efforts, noble as they maybe, has not had the efficacy to achieve the desired result.
However, I cannot in insouciance pretend or play the ostrich, I have a great foreboding and consternation that the forces at play transcends the obvious, I am compelled by my celestial muse, to warn (even though I had said I would write nor speak no more words like these) of the dire implications for our patrimony if we continue to choose sides and refuse to see that at the end of the day the only losers would be ourselves while our detractors would be laughing us in the scorn of our inability and/or unpreparedness for the vagaries of the Nigerian power matrix.
I am appalled that at a time like this when titans of our cause and nativity should rise in moral indignation to protect and preserve our fate-endowed fortunes, they choose instead to allow the catastasis of ego, based on primordial sentiments and parochial selfishness, to misguide their duty and obligation to our collective tomorrow. Where are the leaders of thought, the Chiefs, clergy, elders and men of conscience of our land? Are they claiming to be naïve to this grand plot that is aimed at us fighting ourselves instead of consolidating our good fortune?
I am doubly surprised, amazed and alarmed, to realize that it is the inaction of those who should have acted; the indifference of those who should have known better; the silence of the voice of reason, when it mattered most; and the unconscionable insouciant prevarication of avarice of those on whom it is incumbent to be counted, that has made this unfortunate pernicious perfidy possible and has continued to sustain its unremitting drive to our detriment.
It is my contention and indeed conviction, that the ultimate measure of a leader is not where he or she stands when it is convenient and/or profitable, but where he stands at times of controversy and challenges. I firmly believe without any iota of doubt that the only losers would ultimately be the South/South Niger Delta, who extraneous forces are beguiling to spend their opportunity in strife.
We as a people, the littoral Niger Delta have achieved the highest office in the land as President, despite the wiles of the Nigerian hegemony, and now parade Governors performing beyond compare, yet we chose to dance deliriously to the serpentine drum beats of the enemies of our togetherness, SEEING NO EVIL and HEARING NO EVIL in the deluded myopic self-comfort of transient exalted positions and affluence.
I am privileged to use this medium to share my cerebral thoughts on the paradigms of this predicament and strenuously hope minds better equipped than mine would discern and appreciate the misanthropy that fuels this attrition, and the grave contra-indications it portends the social economy and developmental index of the Niger Delta, and call for a truce. If not, we shall awaken belatedly to the Nunc Dimities of the bitter dirge of having complacently consigned our posterity and heritage to servitude and drudgery.
Let us by no means think that our brothers from the North, East and West goading us, and praising our naïveté as we squander our opportunity, can love us better than we love ourselves. Neither should we in remiss contrive to believe that this is all about politics and therefore should be left to politicians to sought themselves out. No! This is about the tomorrow when we would have connived due carelessness and inattention to lose power, which may not be availed us again for the next 100 years.
I am in no position to judge the actions and/or inactions of the prime actors in this fratricidal war of attrition, but I know it bodes the South/South no good; it bodes the PDP no good; and it portends present and imminent danger to all we hold dear in the face of the grave challenges facing our region, which include but not limited to, the Constitutional amendments, the Petroleum Industry Bill, the Presidency in 2015, the development of the Niger Delta, the harmony and integration of the BRACED States, and many more. Let us choose to live and let live.
His Excellency Mr. President Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan is our son and he is doing a wonderful job, incomparable to any of his predecessors, which we all must be proud of despite his traduction by the largely western dominated media and the loquacious opposition. That he deserves and should be supported to aspire for a second term in office, should ordinarily be encouraged by all of true-birth from the region. Therefore it would be wrong and even despicable for any leader of the South/South to be seen to join in his vilification, no matter the cause. He is our leader by the special grace of God and should be accorded respect and fealty.
Rt. Hon Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi, the Governor of Rivers State is also our son whom even his detractors must admit is clearly amongst the top three best performing Governors in the country today and undoubtedly, outside King Alfred Diete Spiff, the one who had positively impacted the Rivers State the most. Governor Amaechi despite his brusque temperament is highly misunderstood, but remains a true loyal, committed and dedicated steward of his people and the cause of the South/South. He should be encouraged to continue in the service of his people and complete his tenure in peace and without undue distractions.
Therefore, I wish to use this medium to appeal to all those who are stoking the seeds of discord amongst our leaders to desist, especially those of South/South extraction. We are one people with a shared destiny. The bickering, rumour mongering, false accusations and allegations must stop. A house divided against itself cannot make progress, talk less of prosper.
Those who over the years have subjugated, oppressed, suppressed and humiliated us cannot, should not, and must not be allowed to profit of our disunity and in-fighting. Does it not tell us anything that the far North we have always allied with and stood firmly in support over the years to allow their sons achieve the highest office in the land; whom we have martyred our sons for in times of conflict, are now the self-same ones belligerently conniving to make the country ungovernable and wish to disgrace us out of power, talk less of allow us complete our constitutionally guaranteed tenure?
Today the pioneering South/South Governors forum, the economic integration being championed by the BRACED Commission, the South/South Economic Summit, the Niger Delta Energy Corridor, the collaboration on the issues of the PIB and Constitution, are all threatened by the lack of cohesion, division and suspicion that pervades the region. The time for a moratorium on this unfortunate fratricidal war of attrition is NOW!!!
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Long live the South/South Niger Delta.
Long live Rivers State of Nigeria.
Alatubo P. Charles Harry.