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Meeting the challenges of the Niger Delta

In order to deliver social services to the people, governance should be a continuum revolving around democratic institutions and not persons. The entire country which…

In order to deliver social services to the people, governance should be a continuum revolving around democratic institutions and not persons. The entire country which is bigger than the three arms of government was shortchanged as a result of unnecessary power tussle within the tiny but influential elite class. There is need for recourse to the Constitution of the land to resolve political crisis and seek judicial opinion on controversial legal matters when the need arises. Progressive forces in the country must therefore galvanize against attempts by subversive elements to overheat the polity and bring down our hard-earned democracy.
There is no doubt genuine concerns have been expressed by well¬ meaning Nigerians to resolve the political impasse which is hurting the country. However, the invigorated effort by some selfish politicians to exploit Mr. President’s predicaments point at dangerous undercurrents within the corridors of power working to polarize and destabilize the Presidency by pitting our ailing president against his vice president – two innocent and patriotic elder statesmen in a macabre dance.
The president and his vice president were elected on the same platform as co-pilots to steer the ship of State to stardom. In the unavoidable absence of Mr. President being the chief pilot, the vice president as co-pilot stands in the gap and takes over the reins of government. This should not raise any dust in the system. With the prevailing lull in the country’s political turmoil it is hoped that the spirit of patriotism, unity and love will totally eclipse the sweeping meteor of fuming anger, antagonism and frustration that was fired across the nation’s political firmament as a result of power vacuum created by Mr. President’s protracted absence from public life. This unfortunate development has seen the country galloping perilously in a constitutional limbo. The power vacuum that lingered for a long time exposed the weakness and vulnerability of our democratic institutions which are supposed to be seen as the hub of good governance.
The Oil Minerals Producing Areas Landlords Association of Nigeria (OMPALAN) believes that government is a continuum whether the president is in or out of the country. The association openly identifies with the clarion call by Acting President Goodluck Jonathan to all Nigerians irrespective of political or ideological inclinations to rally round our amiable and ailing president as he is recuperating with love and prayers. The OMPALAN will continue to hold President Umaru Musa Yar’adua in the highest esteem and stand by him at his trying moment of grief and identifying with the vulnerable and impoverished people of the Niger Delta at great costs and initiating far reaching reforms in critical sectors of the economy- a feat which many of his peers with robust health could not achieve.
Given the situation, the immediate challenges that confront us as stakeholders had to be understood and tackled headlong. We among other things, seek to amplify the voice of the people as far as the law permits.
 Given the hostile milieu we find ourselves we have no choice but to extend a hand of fellowship to one another in order to create an impenetrable bond of solidarity aimed at circumventing the dodges of anti-social forces.
Our journey to the Promised Land may not always be a smooth one. We must anticipate varying degrees of opposition on the way from within and outside the organization. Our resolve to pursue our ideals to a logical conclusion cannot be hampered by any opposition on the way because friction which opposes movement is an integral component of progress. We will now begin a serious business of synergizing with all the critical stake holders in the oil industry with a view to building enduring confidence in the system and providing democratic deliverables to host communities.
The lofty Federal Government Amnesty Program which was procured at great material, financial and human costs must be accorded commensurate attention and pursued vigorously to a logical conclusion in view of the devastating consequences on national stability posed by the collapse of the ongoing peace process. OMPALAN wishes to appeal for circumspection on the part of the Federal Government not to yield to inordinate pressure from politicians to disburse the ten percent equity to host communities through organs controlled only by state or local governments if we want good result.
Etukudo, an environmental expert, writes from Abuja

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