A historical perspective, insight into the Niger Delta region and establishment of NDDC – Evang. Caroline Nagbo

Attention: Mr Darlington Nwauju

Re: The occupation of “Sensitive Position” by Ogoni people in NDDC.

Reading through your position on the subject above, I hereby react to the issues you raised as a daughter of Ogoni who currently sits on the Interim Management Committee of the NDDC as follows:

Those begrudging Ogoni for the appointments made to the executive management of the NDDC of her sons and daughters should note that considering the huge and fatal price Ogoni people paid within the context of the massive environmental degradation and socio-economic justices done the region, these appointments are infinitesimal and quite insignificant.

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In comparison with the very huge and priceless sacrifices that the Ogonis paid in the struggles for the emancipation of the Niger Delta, particularly as recent as the turn of this millennium, it is shocking that any citizen of the region would begrudge the Ogoni over appointments that are yet to benefit the Ogoni Region like some of her neighbours that have reaped significantly from the ultimate sacrifices of a whole generation of Ogoni elite.

For the avoidance of doubt, going back to the recent history of the Niger Delta struggle as exemplified by the Ogoni struggle of the 1990s, can anyone discount the dividend that accrued from the Ogoni international outcry and various representations to the United Nations General Assembly leading up to securing the backing and strong advocacy of the Congressional Black Caucus in the United States Congress headed by Andrew Young and Rev Jesse Jackson? Can we in good conscience ignore what the heavy pressure brought on the Clinton Administration by the shuttle diplomacy and unrelenting advocacy by the Ogoni that led to the Presidential highlevel discussions on Ogoni and Niger Delta issues between President Bill Clinton and President Olusegun Obasanjo, which led to the formation of the Niger Delta Technical Committee headed by Barr. Ledum Mitee fetched us? Would any Niger Deltan worth that name disregard the impact of the work of the Mitee Committee whose broad recommendations gave birth to the establishment of the Niger Delta Development Commission via an Act of Parliament… No 6…Laws of the Federation of Nigeria in year 2000?

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Mr. Nwauju and those who are comfortable with and are bent on twisting the historical truths before us in pursuit of their anti-Ogoni interest or to suit their ethno-political biases within the Niger Delta should be reminded that at the height of the intense struggle of the Ogonis, an independent Judicial panel to investigate the hanging of The “Ogoni 9” by Justice Chukwudifu Oputa was inaugurated in 2001 by President Obasanjo. The Panel unraveled and noted the serial and extremely brutal military suppression hitherto unknown in Nigerian history which the Ogoni suffered in pursuit of environmental and economic justice for our people in the Niger Delta. The international oil companies (IOCs) whose anti-environment opearations and policies the Ogoni challenged led by the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni People (MOSOP) spared nothing to fund the crushing of the Ogoni to the last man by the General Sani Abacha junta. These were very arduous and hazardous tunnels through which the NDDC was midwived.

Thus, the NDDC was established as an institution of necessity to assuage the Blood, Poverty, infrastructural underdevelopment and environmental despoliation problems of the Niger Delta Region. The advocacy and great global outcry that led to its establishment was predicated on the sacrifices of Ken Saro Wiwa and the Ogoni 13 (9 + 4) in 1994 and 1995.

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Inspite of this bitter historical pathway of our blood sacrifices, what exactly has the Ogoni benefitted in terms of infrastructure and human capital development to warrant the attacks and schemes to undermine the people of Ogoni on the subject of the NDDC? Has the Ogoni region benefitted from development not found anywhere else in the Niger Delta? Has the blighted Ogoni Environment been restored? Is basic education available to all Ogoni people? Have the livelihoods of the people destroyed by decades of environmental abuse been restored? Has the NDDC generated employment for the teeming Youth of Ogoni?

We can go on and on. However, suffice to ask those after the peace, unity and development of Ogoni land, what is the problem? Who are those directly or remotely responsible for these problems, if any?

This is the time for thorough soul searching. Indeed, these are times for deep thoughts for the entire Niger Delta! Times such as this do not call for the pulling of persons or ethnic groups in the Niger Delta from within or in collaboration with external forces. This is the time for focused and sustained drive to develop our region and all her people. All hands must be on deck to justify the ultimate sacrifices paid by our people to secure the present and future of the Niger Delta region and I call on all advocates of peace and development to join in this noble task.

Evangelist Caroline Nagbo,

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