Political leaders in Bayelsa state and the Niger Delta region as a whole are yet to regard themselves as one indivisible entity in spite of little difference in ethnic nationality. Doubtless there is absent of vibrant political leadership that is bedeviling the development of the region; a political leadership that will catapult the economy to its peak and make the people to yield profit. The political class knew this problem but they cannot brave the waves to address it properly to move the region forward.
Imagine this; a Nembe man never sees himself as an Ijo man neither did the Ogbia man sees himself as an Ijo man which often times make the whole political spread divided as the jinks of winner take all attitude continues to exist there.
Right from the go, politicians in the area peddle all sorts of rumors against one another just to take over the seat of power. Plenty of them are greedy to the extent of disowning members of the same family or political party.
For instance the problem of political leadership became pronounced when late Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha held sway in Bayelsa state from 1999 to 2005. He picked an Ogbia man as deputy governor. But that was a huge joke when a clandestine political intrigue emerged to oust power from him cleverly stage managed by politicians within the PDP who connived with former president Olusegun Obasanjo. The rest is another story to tell for another day.
Jonathan era too has its fair share of unclear political leadership in that state. When he was eventually elevated to vice-president, the vacuum he created became a battlefield of political leadership. Timipre Sylva who came second at the primaries was desirous to take over power while on the other hand Francis Doupkolagha who was ex-president Jonathan’s choice jostled to take the seat of the prince.
Timipre Sylva however emerged as governor at the end of the day as some of his political godfathers were close to Obasanjo at that time. So when Sylva saddled the crown, those he deprived politically came back together again to push him out of office. No steady political direction.
Niger Delta politicians never learn from history. They have forgotten the standard set by late Jasper Isaac Adaka Boro whose dynamic political leadership struggle is abandoned and forgotten. He wanted his underdeveloped Niger Delta people to take their destiny by their hands.
For now, none of political leadership ever thinks of developing the Niger Delta region because they lack political direction and will to do so apart from the pebbles of militant activities by Niger Delta youths who bring to fore the inhuman treatment against the well being of the people of the region by the federal authority. All what the politicians have done so far is a mere window dressing far from the late hero of freedom fighter’s dreams as any leadership that ruled after him had preferred to loot the treasury dry without reproach. Imagine, our representatives at the National Assembly are so skeptical to raise issues of development as priority in the two houses.
Diete-Spiff has once presided over the affairs of Old Rivers and he failed to construct a road to Nembe/Brass. Then Okilo came on board, but somehow he tried to emulate Boro who happens to be his student although a considerable impact is achieved before his leadership was cut short by the Army.
Alams, Jonathan, Sylva and now Dickson also came on board. No vigorous leadership impact is yet to be in sight in terms of socio-economic development in the state. The state is being plagued by poverty, disease and hunger as at today as the leaderships so far were suspected to have looted the treasury dry. For the first time in Bayelsa, we hear, the anti-graft agency operatives storm Yenagoa to seal off buildings suspected to have been illegally acquired by top government functionaries. What a shame!
Ex-president Jonathan who would have directed a good leadership in Bayelsa state never thought about it pragmatic development of the region. While he held sway in the presidency, development issues that he is suppose to address in Bayelsa and the whole of the Niger Delta were left untouched. The East/West road is a case in point. A sitting president from the thick forests of Niger Delta and, in fact a son of the soil of Bayelsa cannot complete that all embracing important road in his state, leaving commuters and other road users to suffer untold hardship while driving today.
He is just like ex-governor of Bayelsa state, Chief Timipre Sylva. While he held sway in Creek Haven, he ignores the need to construct a road to his community. Is that a good leader? Apologizing to his kinsmen to forgive him after the deed is done is unacceptable at all.
Political leaders don’t demonstrate compassion even if elections are over as I earlier pointed out. They used undue advantage to preside over socio-cultural and economic issues in their domains without the consent of the people just because of self-aggrandizements. This problem is cut across the length and breadth of the Niger Delta region.
For politicians to form a formidable political leadership, as they are the driving force of development, they must set aside their selfish interest and face the reality of good governance. Government should give the optimal happiness to the governed which is a significant yard stick of good leadership devoid of self aggrandizement. The right political policies should supersede over wrong ones. Give kudos to those who deserve it.
To some political analysts, the rewinding of political leadership in the face of current economic meltdown is an aberration in the highest order. They say a man who goes to bush to cut firewood will alone carry it back home. The import of this adage is that politicians should chew what they can swallow otherwise it could hook their throat. Basically that is the truth because they have left behind hundreds of thousands of people in poverty over the years.
A political entity that does not provide good political leadership will ever grope in the dark. It is time political leaders should not only focus on the growth for his people but the human capacity development. For instance, Switzerland and other developed countries of the world really developed their people so today every child in those countries is capable of taking care of their selves and not really depend on government peanuts unlike our own. When the lion roars the fox succumb. It is also true that when a good principality rules, the nation rejoices the Bible says. That is how it should be.
Bayelsa and the whole of Niger Delta need a well focused political leadership if the region is to move forward. Today, the citizenry is left abandoned like a chicken beaten by rain, shivering because the times are so hard to live following the down turn economy. The leaders forget to use the monies they have received from the centre for the development of the marginalized people of the region. The militants are having a field day, destroying oil and gas pipelines in various oil producing communities in the region. Where will all lead to? Danger and more suffering is ahead. Therefore, all hands must be on deck to move the state forward politically come rain or shine. Let the political class sheath their sword and lead the people of the state to the right direction and stop stealing money meant for development. The people did not deserve any suffering for political blunders they don’t have a hand.
Politicians in the Niger Delta must not forget the treaty signed at the end of the Wellington Commission submission on the Niger Delta region in the days of late Chief Dappa-Preye with the leaders of the British Colony who agree to treat the area a place of special development.
Indeed, enough is given to the Niger Delta region both in human capacity building and other relevant institutions with a view to develop the area but yet no formidable political leadership to direction to uplift the area to greater height.
Now that providence in the affairs of men has made a late armed dictator that once ruled the country, Sani Abacha, is able to make Bayelsa state possible, for instance, it is left for next political leadership, like the one Boro envisage during his struggle for freedom, to transform the Niger Delta region to an enviable level for the good of all. To some of us, the best is yet to come in terms political leadership in the Niger Delta region including Bayelsa.