THERE have recently been several reports about an upsurge of violence and attacks on the homes of political office holders in Bayelsa State of the South-South region. These attacks have been carried out by way of bombings, kidnappings and destabilisation of the whole Bayelsa terrain. No doubt the thinking is that the acts are being perpetuated and sponsored by different politically inclined factions as each group tries to ensure it has the upper hand with 2011 approaching.
What is going on in Bayelsa is just sheer madness. If not how else shall we explain the senseless actions and counter actions of Ijaw brethren? Can these people not see the hand writing on the wall about the damage they are causing to their state and the Niger Delta as a whole at a time when their son is at the helm of affairs in the country? Even if their son is not at the helm of affairs, I do not think their actions are warranted as these acts cannot encourage peace and development of the oil rich state.
Isaac Adaka Boro in 1960 asked Nigerians to examine with some latitude whether the state of development of the Niger Delta region is to any extent commensurate with a tint of the bulk of the already tapped mineral and agricultural resources. Today, in as much as Boro's question is still relevant, there is another perspective of self-destruction. With what is on ground in terms of development, the question is whether the state development is commensurate with the allocations to the State since her creation in 1996.
I don't care who is right or wrong in these bombings. If we take a look at Bayelsa, what we see is squalor, poverty, underdevelopment and darkness. This is the State where oil was first struck in Nigeria. This State has had several billions of Naira allocated to her yet no meaningful development. Her leaders are stupendously rich. Their riches stacked away in Abuja and outside Nigeria and they are happy to live outside the State in Port Harcourt and Abuja. Yet we have had the youths fighting, dying and crying for resource control. What a waste of human life.
My additional worry is that, it is the youths that are being used to carry out these havocs enticed with peanuts and unfulfilled promises of making it once their masters and sponsors are in control of State power. Most of these sponsors have their children overseas or living outside Bayelsa. No one can say that they don't know why Bayelsa is burning with different factions bombing each other at will. It is about money, money and money! Monies meant to be used to develop the state but are being misappropriated. God help us!
I read calls for a state of emergency by the opposition party on the pages of newspapers. In effect, what the opposition party is saying is that it is not involved in these senseless acts. But it is clear that even if the current opposition party were to be the ruling party, there is the very high possibility of these senseless acts as both opposition and ruling politicians are all Bayelsans. My belief is that unless the underlying problem which is common to both opposition and ruling parties are resolved, no amount of state of emergency can work.
What is happening obviously affects the safety of lives and property in a democratic setting. It is therefore not just enough for the state government to discountenance the call for a state of emergency. They have to match words with action by ensuring that they do not fail on this responsibility to the people of Bayelsa. To my mind, also the PDP at National level has a role to play as the warring groups are most likely PDP members. I believe Nwodo the PDP chairman can call the factions to order for the interest of the party in the state before it is too late. Also, it will not be out of place for Mr. President who is a son of the soil to call all those involved in these senseless acts to order and sue for peace in the state. Because I believe without peace in his state, he will also not have peace of mind.
Another reason why I think President Jonathan needs to act swiftly is because as the amnesty programme continues to move on despite criticisms, it is obvious that militancy is fast fading out in Niger Delta. However, if these bombings and attacks continue they will soon grow into full fledged militancy especially as 2011 approaches. And I believe we do not want to go back to those days again.
Bayelsa is not the only state where politicians are on each other's neck. We know being at each other's neck is common political play and has become the bane of Nigerian politics. But how this is effected is what I am concerned about. It has become a pattern for aggrieved politicians to resort to the use of firearms to settle political scores. This is quite worrisome. However, we all know we can do better than how we are doing now. I think the time has come for clean politics - ÔÇśPolitics without bitterness in the words of Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim of GNPP fame in the Second Republic'. I wonder why we in Nigeria never learn from the good things of our past.
Is it not obvious to the people of Bayelsa that no development can be achieved in an atmosphere filled with bitterness and rancour? Do they not know that they should aim to work toward delivery of the dividends of democracy to the people that gave them electoral mandate instead of bombing themselves? I guess these politicians know but have decided to destroy their state. I know that majority of these politicians are Christians and so the Biblical saying that he who kills with the sword will die by the sword is known to them. Bayelsans should not allow greed and lust for power to derail the vision of the founding fathers of the state.
There is the need for decency and civility in politics. I remember that sometime in April this year, Bayelsa State Founding Fathers Forum issued a statement that they would expose the perpetrators of the orgy of violence in the state. I think it is time to name and shame these politicians and hand them over to the security agencies.
Unscrupulous Bayelsa politicians should not be allowed thinking they have the means to destroy Bayelsa. It is time for the generality of Bayelsans who we all know have the will to stop them to do something before Bayelsa disintegrates. The war should end if not this becomes madness.