The lyric “you be thief, I no be thief; you be robber, I no be robber” of the late Afrobeat maestro, Fela Kuti reverberates strongly in the locked horns between the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio and former acting NDDC MD, Joi Nunieh.
The media – mainstream and social over the past two weeks or thereabout have been awashed with pre and suffixes of banters from the duo in a battle of wit. This is troubling because it is a very slippery slope with the capacity to elicit disproportionate interpretations on geopolitical lines. This bizarre trend which even added a dramatic scene in one of the instances, has not only stocked ethnic discord among nationalities but also has undoubtedly shadowed the core purpose of creating the interventionist agency for locals in the region. Interestingly however, we’ve been down this road multiple times in the past in the chequered history of the NDDC with no success.
I am not totally opposed though to dirts raised so far as it is not unusual for human relationships to have down sides. I am rather agitated to its excesses of revealing anecdotal and classified information which ordinarily is uncalled for. Notwithstanding on the flip side, issues bordering on baggages that suffocate the smooth functioning of the commission should be critically addressed by appropriate agencies of government.
The awkward reality we have not envisaged, or perhaps downplayed is that what we have witnessed so far in this fracas is only one part of the equation playing out. The other unseen half may be too extreme to imagine.
But I think the fair concern in all of this should be the Niger Deltans for whom NDDC was meant to serve. The real substance of the matter ought to be the impact the commission should have on the development and progress of the region.
The leeway in my estimation to avert this imaginary tipping point is for the actors as son and daughter of the region to climb down from their positions in order to create conducive ambience for healthy and dynamic dialogue which is key in resolving the impasse.
I’ll like to double down on the fact that the onus at resolving this conflict is on the people of the region. Arguably, given the ownership structure, players and other critical considerations of media business in Nigeria, it is unwise and suicidal to continually engage in this media war as it would only fast track battering of their images which would eventually rub off on the geopolitical zone.
We the people of the region have critical input to make by first refraining from fanning the flame of the dispute. I suggest in addition to administrative and legal pursuit of FG, credible statesmen and women in the region should broker truce dispassionately to appropriately address the infraction.