By Jon Egie

 

 

Prof D.G Darah

Prof D.G Darah

As the national conference commences plenary on Monday, May 19, the official delegate of Delta State, Prof D.G Darah has said that if the conference succeeds Nigeria will make progress and that if it fails, the South-South will make progress.

 

In a key note address during the occasion of the Major Isaac Adaka Boro public lecture and awards event held at the Ughelli Kingdom Hall, Ughelli; Sunday, May 18, Prof Darah informed that delegates from the Niger Delta region have demanded compensation for the adverse effect of oil and gas exploitation to the ecosystem and economy of the people of the Niger Delta.

 

The big point of the demand, he said, is on Jesse fire disaster of October 18, 1998 where over 1200 people were burnt to death. He recalled the insult poured on the Urhobo people by the then Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalam Abubakar when he said that the victims deserved to die because they were involved in illegal business. Prof Darah prayed the souls of the victims of  Jesse fire disaster not to rest in peace but disturb the former Head of State. According to him, in due time, the Urhobo nation will take the case to the world court for redress.

 

Prof Darah further informed that Niger Delta delegates called for the removal of Decree 51 of 1969, which empowered the Petroleum Act that says any mineral, oil or gas, wherever it is found in Nigeria belongs to the Federal Government.

 

“We have asked for it to be removed but we did not succeed. The 19 states in the North are economic parasites, none of them contributes to the federation account that is shared every month. We asked for 50 percent revenue derivation but the North wanted the existing 13 percent slashed to 5 percent. There will be compromise but what will happen after the conference is the issue. The more we compromise the more they become arrogant so, the outcome of the conference will be used to do another conference of our own.”

 

He recalled that a similar scenario made Isaac Boro to take up arms against the FG. He said continued compromise with the North was a patch of Nigeria which delegates from the Niger Delta are convinced that “patching up Nigeria is a waste of time because Nigeria will continue to get worse from generation to generation.

He noted that former President Olusegun Obasanjo dealt with all the Niger Delta governors who supported resource control, all of who went to jail except Victor Attah.

 

He said the North does not want the conference to succeed so that Jonathan’s second tenure ambition could be truncated adding that the Boko Haram insurgency, the Chibok school girls abduction, menace of Fulani herdsmen among others are the tactics employed by the North to make the conference fail.

 

“From my experience in the conference, Lugard’s Nigeria has ended. The model of Lugard’s Nigeria was designed against us. There was Northern and Southern Nigeria; the Royal Niger Company recruited Lord Lugard to help subdue the people of the region for its economic interest. In amalgamating the North and South, Lugard aimed at using the economic wealth of the South to run the North in a marriage where the North was deemed as the husband and the South as the wife and as such, whatever belongs to the wife is owned by the husband”.

 

According to him, Northern delegates to the conference also point out that Lord Lugard conquered the South and handed them over to the North and so you see that this country is not our own.”

 

He stressed that Isaac Boro was the first to get this realization and hence took up arms against the federal government before he was overwhelmed.

 

They do not want Jonathan to do a second term because if President Jonathan goes for a second term,  for the next  four years the North will be finished.

 

“So, we delegates from the Niger Delta will tell Jonathan not to go for a second term. We will tell him you have done four years, please come back home and let us form the Republic of Southern Nigeria and by the next five years this place will be as developed as the United States. In the next three  to five years, let us have the Republic of Southern Nigeria” Prof Darah submitted