This discourse has become very necessary due to recent issues of wanton abandonment of laudable projects sponsored by government, oil companies, organizations, among others, that would have added value to the lives of Nigerian residents, especially in the rural and oil bearing communities of the Niger Delta region.
It is however painful and most regrettable to discover that the attitude of persons with leadership responsibilities who oftentimes engage in contract execution have undergone a subtle change by falling short of project delivery in our communities, despite our struggle for infrastructure and human capital development. Meanwhile, the supposed beneficiaries of these basic needs have died in different struggle to enhance their livelihood.
In the interim, armed youths have resorted to kidnap of workers on project sites in our communities demanding ransom, and thereby leaving the projects abandoned as operations of the construction company come to a standstill. These youths should know that they are inadvertently subverting growth with the kidnap of development coming to our communities?
However, the political or community leader who collects payment for a non-existing project is as criminal as the armed kidnapper, hence our respected sons and daughters are now neck deep in kidnapping projects coming to our communities. Yes, it is true.
As friends and relations of a kidnap victim suffer stress, so also is the entire community, in the case of kidnapped projects. Both the leaders who hinder development in our communities and the kidnappers of workers on site are as good as non-existent because their relevance to useful development is no longer felt by the people.
In short, these classification of leaders who pretentiously collect sizeable amount of money for project execution many in the Izon communities. We therefore urge them to sit up now and reconsider their unflinching behaviour to bring development, peace and joy to their communities. “Izon Ibe” means truthful people.
In the same vein, construction and oil companies who are genuinely poised to execute people oriented projects, according to specifications, should encourage community vigilante services amongst youths to guide and protect workers on site against kidnappers. If this step is taken into cognizance, and community youths are employed, issues of kidnapping would become a non issue.
But one may also wonder about a leader who expects his followers to take after him. What would they emulate? Is it shamelessness in collecting payment for non-existing projects worth billions of naira; buying of exotic cars and houses with the proceeds of the kidnapped projects? Do you believe your followers would tread differently? It is a sheer recycling of despondency, fear, hopelessness, poverty, etc for our communities with its kind of leaders in reoccurrence.
A leader is one who thinks better for his community. He brings joy to the people. His presence attracts confidence, peace and joyfulness. Can you ever bring joy to your community when you are identified for heartless abandonement of projects in your community? Your answer is as good as mine.
There is also this unfortunate idea of some leaders who engage in arming youths with dangerous weapons to relegate opposition. This type of unwholesome leadership role is as evil as wishfully darkening the light of development in Izon land.
There is no love between the thug and his leader. It is a known fact that the leader cannot buy guns for a brother or son. You are only useful to him when he has evil or dangerous tasks meant for the “animal”. He would never wish his brother or his son to play the animal role of killing souls. Well, if you are still in it, you are then an animal. Your leaders who use you for such clandestine operations wish you dead or not ready to see you after the success of your evil operation.
What do you think could deprive any known or self acclaimed leader of the Izon nation from encouraging youths to embrace education, skill acquisition programmes and other viable and lawful endeavours, instead of deliberately allowing the youths to take innocent leap to wanton self destruction. This is simply because the leader may have put his own community for sale and has nothing to lose if the unexpected happens. After all, his sons and daughters are already citizens in foreign lands and mostly doing very well to take leadership positions from them upon their exit.
My prayer, therefore, is that our innocent youths who are armed to harm our development should have a rethink. All over the world, youths are agents of development and positive change.
- Bro. Tona Youmu is Coordinator, Niger Delta Parrot “Izon-Egbere”. 08063417399