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Concert: Calling N’ Delta Ministry To Order

The decision by the Federal Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs to sponsor the Youth Empowerment Concert scheduled for Sunday, January 16, 2011 in Port Harcourt has generated mixed reactions amongst major stakeholders of the Niger Delta project.

Coming at a very critical period, especially during the post-amnesty dispensation mid-wifed by the Federal Government, most observers of the affairs in the oil-rich region think that such sponsorship is absolutely unnecessary at this critical stage of the developmental transition of the region.

Though, the details and cost of the sponsorship still remain sketchy, it is the view of The Tide that whatever the consideration may be, its justification is very puerile and unacceptable by the majority of Niger Deltans.

This position is predicated on the fact that the developmental challenges facing Niger Delta people are so enormous and overwhelming that a musical concert should not constitute a priority at this critical stage.

The Tide thinks the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs should have a re-think and prioritise its policies and programmes in reality and conformity to the needs and aspirations of the people, rather than embark on projects that do not have direct and positive impact on the people.

We say this because if one considers the vision and activities of the ministry vis-à-vis the objective for which the ministry was established and the direction it now seemingly follows, one will readily conclude that it is derailing.

Without doubt, some past experiences are pointers to this fact.  It would be recalled that the ministry proposed a whopping N1.7 billion to host a boxing tournament last year, a move The Tide condemned because in our opinion such amount of money should have been utilised to provide basic amenities to some impoverished communities in the region.

The Tide recalls that the Ministry was established by the late President Umaru Yar’Adua’s administration to address the developmental challenges plaguing the region, after several decades of marginalisation, which culminated to armed struggle by militants from the area.

Consequently, it is expected that the ministry should as a matter of expediency embark on massive physical, infrastructural and human development and shun jamborees and promotional shows that might impact negatively on the youths.

The expectations of the Niger Delta people from the ministry are quite high and they include building of roads, bridges, cottage industries, rural electrification, shore protection, canalisation, riverine transportation, among other programmes and projects that will boost economic activities of Niger Delta people.

Federal Government’s mandate to the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs and its subsidiary, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) is quite clear and unambiguous. The mandate, among others, includes to critically redress the visible under-development and neglect plaguing the region.

We, therefore, urge the Niger Delta Ministry to craft a principled, co-ordinated and focused approach to addressing the peculiarities of the region.

The Tide condemns in its entirety the upcoming Youth Empowerment Concert sponsored by the ministry as it will not add any value to the people of the region. In this era when the present administration is consolidating on its post-amnesty programme, the Niger Delta Ministry should go beyond sponsoring such programmes which do not lead to sustainable development in the region.

Afterall, there are many vital sectors of  the Niger Delta economy that need to be harnessed and tapped for maximum benefit of the people but are still abandoned. That should be the focus of the ministry and not a jamboree in the form of a concert.


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Posted by on Jan 16 2011. Filed under Headlines, Niger Delta. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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