By Jonathan Ugbal; Government House Correspondent
Cross River Governor, Ben Ayade has described as critical, the need to address the restiveness that has characterized the Niger Delta region as a panacea for development.
Ayade stated this when he received the Irish Ambassador to Nigeria, Ambassador Sean Hoy and his team during a courtesy visit to his office Calabar where he said the crisis and challenges of the Niger Delta is one that can make the hardest man shed tears.
The governor said that “it is a legal, moral, complex, anthropological and sociological issue to resolve the complex issues within the ambit of human nature.”
According to him, “the choice for a point of intervention remains sacrosanct as no matter how much you have given to a man, liberty is better than slavery”, adding that “the people of the area yearn for redemption which comes from a philosophical change of attitude, re-orientation and restructuring of issues to ensure equity and fair play.”
Continuing, Ayade queried “How would you stay in perpetual darkness, with all your waterways spilled with oil, no source of livelihood, living in a hut, defecating on to the river that you use as your drinking water, and just a mile away, somebody is lighting the sky?.
“Yet as all these happens, malaria and all preventable diseases will not let them stay, a child that grows up in such circumstance must become restive by nature.”
However, Ayade commended the team for choosing Calabar for a development center and the partnership with savannah center, reasoning that, the latter understands the psychology, nature of the people and the African man.
Earlier, Ambassador Hoy disclosed they were in Calabar after visiting Bayelsa and River states to meet directly with the communities to develop a framework of development involving the state and federal governments in a bid to find a way forward.
“What I saw in those communities were disappointment in development process as I saw communities sit in the dark while some miles away, I saw light in the sky.
“We are here to support them, look at how the development of Niger Delta can be done better than (what has been done) so far”, adding that, “resources are not actually the problem, but how to prioritise issues of development for the impact on the people is where the missing link is and where government needs to come in.”
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