I won’t make this long because I want to hit the nail on the head and get this heat off my head.
My mentor once illustrated this: “If you buy a brand new car, with all its sophistications and simply refuse to drive it, instead park it in the garage and adore it every morning. One year later try driving the car and see if it will respond.” The moral here is that nothing left to inaction retains its value. Rather, it degenerates in quality and ability to give satisfaction.
This is even readily applicable to our lives as people. Try sitting down and sleeping for one year, doing nothing but nothing, and see after the 52 weeks you would be better or worse. Of course you know the answer and I need not overbear the issue. Whatever is left to inaction gets worse. This is my fear for the Niger Delta crisis.
What we see today is the evidence of a long standing acrimony which has been gradually swelling from the inside and now is at the stage of implosion. After implosion comes explosion (at least to satisfy the beauty of literary usage), and we are sitting here watching the threat of another regional conflict arise. Africa has already suffered the severe consequences of regional conflicts that have sprung into national conflicts, with cross border implications.
We remember clearly how the war in Liberia started from a little corner of the country, before becoming a nationwide battle. Subsequently, it spill over into Sierra Leone and today we have witnessed one of the most brutal form of civil wars the world has ever known. Have we also forgotten the Congo War, or the Ivorian one? The men who excite the emotions of these wars suffer no loss, but the innocent people seeking for bread and water to sustain their already impoverished lives bear the grunt of such conflicts.
Ethnic conflicts usually start when perception of oppression one side grows, and usually incited by the ideologies of one man or a group of men. The Niger-Delta is not exclusive to these trends with the area already wallowing in the pond of perceived discrimination, oppression, exploitation, degradation, and underdevelopment. Surely also many have risen up to fuel the fire of the misgivings already existing in the people of the area. Yet our leadership is lumbering like a drunken man from the beer chamber on the issue of resolving the conflict quickly.
We know the demands of these young and restless men and we cannot deny the fact that their grudges are justified. This is not a time to discuss whether they are adopting the right approach or not, for a hungry man cannot be counseled on dignity. We should not forget that the lives of people will waste if this issue is not grabbed b y the horns.
Nigeria should not assume we are absolutely impervious to civil wars, for they are usually subtle in their origins; hence leadership adopts a passive watch. But with the series of provoking comments the rebel leaders of the region have been making of late, and the slimy approach of the oil companies to deal with the issue, we may be heading down the ugly road of rare-return.
Now oil companies and rich politicians are probably going to patronize the Nigerian Package, which are amoured vehicles made for the conflict region by Texas Armoring Corporation. So it seems to me that there are still many trying to work their way around the situation rather than dealing with.
I am not a prophet of doom, but a voice of voice of one calling in the wilderness. Nigeria must be extremely careful in handling the situation in the Delta. As the cautionary statement on some packaging goes, this issue should read:
WARNING!!!! NIGER-DELTA INSIDE: HANDLE WITH CARE (FRAGILE)!!!!