By Rev Francis Ejiroghene Waive
It is the plight of the Minorities aggravated by absence of Good Governance, Equity, Justice and Fairness that actually forces the national question on Nigeria. Those of us in the Delta being Minorities are certainly losers in the competition and conflict between ethnic groups to control the Political Power and Economic Resources of the Nation. The Oil and Gas in the Niger-Delta is regarded as a national cake from which everyone is fighting to have a cut of. No one is thinking about its baking or the availability of other natural resources including those that the regions depended upon before the discovery of Oil. The escalation of ethnic bickering in the Nation of late is a sad commentary of the unwillingness of those in position of authority to address this national question. Worse-still the Buhari administration has as one of its legacies the further polarization of the country along ethnic and religious lines with his policy of five percenters and ninety five percenters. Today, people freely and publicly discuss matters that otherwise would have been treasonable.
In all this hullabaloo, where does the Deltan most of whom are minority of the Minority stand? What is in our best interest? It must be stressed that separation is not in the interest of us Deltans. If allowed it will be a case of dog eating dog. Moreover our internal oppressors and cabals who so far have not allowed the benefit of the 13% derivation principle trickle down to us the common people will escalate. Again our experience during the Jonathan Presidency when the Ijaws held sway indicates that all will not be well. But we do not want to belong to any new country. All those drawing maps of their expected Country should please remove the Delta from their envisaged territory. We also reject war by whatever name called. We believe that the present challenges can and will be overcome by continued dialogue. Nigeria should never become another Syria, Somalia or Sudan.
The best form of Government to serve a multi-ethnic and multi-religious country like Nigeria is true Federalism. What we demand is True Federalism which must include Fiscal Federalism. This will ensure greater national cohesion, development and stability as it implies return to Regionalism with the six Geopolitical zones, Devolution of Powers, Resource Control, introduction of State Police while the Centre will be responsible for Defense, Immigration, External Affairs, Currency matters and such like funded from taxes on the regions.
We Deltans are contending against Economic Expropriation, Cultural Extinction, Politico-economic marginalization as shown in the now constant herdsmen attacks, secret and lopsided employments in ministries, departments and agencies of the government at the center. We condemn these and other similar acts that puts our destiny in jeopardy. We shall continue to advocate for True Federalism, Good Governance, Equity, Justice and Fairness in the Nigerian nation.
Rev Francis Ejiroghene Waive
Church of the Anointing, Warri, Delta State,
Is the Convener of the Free Delta Group.