Selky Kile Torughedi writes that the youths should ensure that the money allocated to the region is judiciously used

Recent events and developments of the past two weeks as regards the financial inquest of the NDDC and the subsequent revelations during the live probe by the National Assembly must have come as a rude shock to many Niger Deltans and Nigerians, thus leaving a distasteful reality of the current situation we’ve found ourselves.

The monumental sleaze and rape of the commission as revealed by the probe panel, was a pain too heavy to fathom; leaving me aghast for most of the proceedings. It is instructive to note that the NDDC was birthed and bequeathed to the Niger Delta region after several years of fierce agitations with the Nigerian state, in a bid to usher in fairness and equity aimed toward a massive developmental blueprint for its overall development.

Notwithstanding the loss of lives and the many casualties in the struggle for a better society, their efforts have been torn into shreds by those originally saddled with the responsibility of overseeing to its development in connivance with non-Niger Deltans to the detriment of the region. Suffice it to say that those who are currently at the helm of managing affairs of the commission never participated nor paid any price in the struggle, but are yet the most beneficial from the sweat and blood of others martyred in the cause of the struggle.

It must be made unequivocally clear, that none of those in the current management board of the commission and their counterparts in the National Assembly providing oversight functions as committee heads of the NDDC, made any known intervention on behalf of the struggle, but are yet the greatest beneficiaries as revealed.

This anomaly has further jeopardised our collective efforts in the quest for future deliberations on uneven wealth distribution albeit made a laughing stock to other regions of the country. It is quite worrisome and rather unfortunate that despite the huge allocations to the commission, only a handful of persons would decide and dictate our developmental pace as though we’re under a spell or curse as a people.

This brazen plundering of our collective commonwealth by an inconsequential minority in partnership with certain elders from the region and corrupt associates in government, has finally brainwashed our youths and people into believing that our problems are politically orchestrated by enemies from other regions bent on enslaving us further, but rather by our own greedy and evil politicians taking advantage of our docility.

The hue and cry for an end to our obvious marginalisation by the Nigerian state over the years, and the subsequent agitations for equality in development, gave birth to the setting up of the NDDC, PAP, and the Ministry of Niger Delta with humongous allocations budgeted toward our wellbeing, but yet we remain more impoverished by our lack of consciousness bought for a morsel of bread from our own brothers.

The Niger Delta youth must wake up to the obvious reality that no one else will develop the region save for us collectively. Casting aspersions and blaming other regions for our pitiable fate must be thrown aside whilst dealing with the root causes of our unending underdevelopment. We must begin a conscious audit of our struggles vis -a- vis our developmental indices and begin the process of holding every one accountable no matter how highly placed, as no individual can hold a people determined for their liberation.

Consequently, the idea of pitching us against youths and elders from other tribes and regions must be jettisoned forthwith, as we must be seen to have judiciously managed our own share of the resources and thereafter seeking for interventions as the proverbial Goose that lays the golden egg.

Furthermore, the shocking revelations and bizarre events of the NDDC probe should serve as a wake-up call and an eye opener for all Niger Delta youths, that the government may intervene in our quest for development and wealth distribution promptly, but the onus falls on our shoulders to ensure that these developments are carried out swiftly in line with budgeted allocations.

We must begin to see ourselves as custodians to the collective patrimony of the region, rather than agents for squandering allocations for pecuniary gains at the detriment of our children and the generations yet unborn.

This wake-up call must serve as a reminder that the souls of those who perished since the beginning of the struggle in the 60’s led by Major Isaac Adaka Boro and others up until this moment couldn’t have been in vain.

I’m therefore urging all the youths of the region to remain resolute in their individual and group quest for a better life to our people, and be determined to confront those who have decided to mortgage their future for their personal interest.

High Chief Torughedi, is Chairman, Ex-Agitators Forum, Niger Delta