Great Men of Niger Delta and the Region’s Future

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By Toriola Adeyemi
While discussing season and time, we are quick to mention morning day
and night and we also talk about yesterday today and tomorrow. The
Niger Delta region has its fair share of men who dominated enormous
space in the political landscape of our dear country; it still does
and will always do. Edwin Clark, who is currently the chairman of
Delta’s forum, is one man whose dominance of the political landscape
of this country is never in doubt. He leads the pack of renowned men
of the region.
He was a former Federal Commissioner of Information and he still
wields enormous influence in the polity of our nation.
Other men who are classical examples of great men in the region are
the late Ada George; the former Governor of Rivers state, Rear Admiral
Festus Porbeni (Rtd). Chief Pat Utomi, Tom Ikimi, Dan Etete and Don
Etiebet also make the list of men who wield influence in the region.
Their contributions and roles in past administrations earned them this
honour. There was also the late Admiral Mike Aikhomu and the late
Admiral Mike Akhigbe. This list will be incomplete without the late
Samuel Ogbemudia. He was such a great leader and his sterling
leadership qualities were never in doubt, and these qualities had
always been a reference point for leadership in the region.
There are also men of the Niger Delta region who are in the limelight
presently. These are men who had and are still dominating our
political landscape in the last 10 years.
The leader of the pack is former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan.
This is the first man ever from the “minority” to hold the most
exalted office in the land.
Many felt his ascendency to office was the will of God and the wishes
of men. One thing is sacrosanct; he is the natural leader of the
region due to the office he held.
Some personalities who made this list are; the late DSP Alamesiegha,
Chief James Ibori, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, Dr. Peter Odili, Rt. Hon
Chubuike Rotimi Ameachi, Godswill Akpabio, Timipre Sylva and Governor
Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.
These are men and the face of the region in the last three political
dispensations.
The hope of any home, society or nation is its future. The most
important men of all are the future men of the region. They bear the
burden of the political success, fortunes and destiny of the region.
They are the group of men who can repair the damage done to the
reputation of the region and probably take a shot and get into the
highest office in the land.
I shall be highlighting a few of these men who have either conquered
the corporate world, or selflessly served our dear country, or are
still rendering such services.
The first on this list is Peterside Dakuku, who is currently the
Director General and Chief Executive Officer of Nigeria Maritime
Administration and Safety Agency. He is one man who will bring the
much needed new lease of life into the battered reputation and
aspiration of the Niger Delta region in the near future. The
arithmetic progression of his political status and relevance gives the
region such hope.
There is a Herbert Wigwe who needs no introduction. Happenstance has
proven that when a technocrat gets into government, there is a
delivery of dividends of good governance due to forward thinking.
Wigwe is currently the group managing director of Access Bank and, as
one of Nigeria’s foremost corporate bankers. He has helped develop
some of Africa’s biggest companies in the construction,
telecommunications, energy and oil and gas sectors through a unique
model, which involves understanding and providing financial support
and expertise. His career in financial services spans more than
25-years, including over a decade as Deputy managing director
The list of tomorrow’s men of the region will be incomplete if there
is no mention of Timi Alaibe. This is one man who has rendered
selfless service to the region. It is safe to say he thinks, sleeps
and dreams of the region.
His immense contributions towards the socio-political stability of the
region while he was the Managing Director of the Niger Delta
Development Commission are visible.
His resumé is the most impressive due to the fact that he
conceptualised the Niger Delta Development Masterplan. It just affirms
the conviction that the destiny of the region can be entrusted to him.
– Adeyemi, a public commentator, writes from Abuja