MINISTRY OF N.D.: PUTTING THE CARTE BEFORE THE HORSE
Apart from the above analysis, the hypocrisy, incompetence and fraud behind the ministry of N.D. can easily, quickly and further be exposed by asking ourselves a couple of questions. If the Hausa/Fulani led government is sincere in finding a lasting and acceptable solution to the crisis in the region, why didn’t they first seek inputs from all stakeholders before forming a ministry? Why didn’t Yaradua first ask the militants, the elders, politicians and the indigenes in the region if the creation of a special ministry will suffice to meet their demand for total resource control, lay down their arms and embrace peace?
Why didn’t Yaradua send his representative first to the creeks to speak with the militants and enquire from them the conditions that the federal government must meet before they could end the arm-struggle? Why did Yaradua first create a ministry before seeking inputs from the militants and other stakeholders in the region? Why did Yaradua allow his minister to meet with people that he and his government have reffered to as terrorists on many occasions?
And last but not the least, does the creation of a special ministry of N.D. automatically translate/transform into development in the region? Definitely NO!
The obvious answers to all the above questions, without any exaggeration, is another water-proof evidence to prove that the N.D. ministry is not just a fraud and manipulation on the part of Yaradua and his government, but right from the on set was not devised to free the indigenes of the region from political and economic slavery. The bitter truth is that Yaradua and the criminals surrounding him have already decided for the Niger Deltans what they want to do with with their mineral resources and the revenues that accrue from them.
These criminals who impose themselves on us have already made up their minds to resolve the N.D. crises in such a way that will favour them alone, but not the bonafide owners of the resources, and maintain the status-quo. And the status-quo is the unlimited and free access of the descendants of Usman Dan Fodio to the resources in the N.D.; lopsided and unprofitable oil exploration agreements between Nigeria (negotiated on its behalf by the north) and the multinational oil companies; pollution of the region by oil companies without any penalty or repercussions; total control and dependence of Nigeria’s economy; most especially, the oil and gas sector, by multinationals, abject poverty of the indigenes but with some so called N.D. elders, politicians who are doing the bidding of the north, multinational oil companies and western countries getting some crumbles from from their tables, e.t.c.
TOURING OF CREEKS BY EKAETTE: FORMALITY AND HYPOCRISY
The touring of the creeks by Ekaette is nothing but a mere formality. Ekaette’s meetings with the militants and other stakeholders in the region is a well rehearsed public relations manipulation meant to deceive the Niger Deltans, southern Nigerians and the world by creating a false impression that Yaradua and his northern caliphate government really cares about the opinions and welfare of the Niger Deltans.
In actual fact, neither Yaradua, the multinational oil companies and western countries give a damn about the welfare of these people. They are out to protect their own selfish interests and continue exploiting these people.
If the Hausas/Fulanis, oil companies and western countries really care, why did they have to wait for almost 50 years before coming up with a ministry? If they really care, why did they have to wait for the militants to take up arms before they figured out that it’s inhuman to spend billions of dollars building a new capital from scratch in Abuja – in the north, and abandon the bonafide owners of the oil that was used to build Abuja to wallow in abject poverty for half a century? If they really care, why did they have to wait until the militants took up arms and started blowing up their oil wells – their source of income?
NIGER DELTA MINISTRY IS AS GOOD AS THE PAPER USED TO WRITE IT.
The Niger Deltans should not be naive nor have any illusion as regards to a new ministry set up by Yaradua and the criminals surrounding him. Suffice to say that the ministry is as good as the official paper that was used to type its creation because there won’t be any substantial changes in the region. The concept of a new ministry is not only seriously flawed, but is full of many loop holes which will be pointed out in this series.
NEW NIGER DELTA MINISTRY: A CAT IN A SACK!
The new N.D. ministry reminds me of a Russian idiomatic expression: ‘A cat in a sack.’ Literally, this expression can be translated as ‘the unknown,’ ‘uncertainty,’ ‘ambiguousness,’ ‘lack of concreteness.’
It needs some explanation for a better understanding. Imagine somebody trying to sell a cat to you. However, it’s not a typical sale transaction in the sense that you don’t have the opportunity to see the cat that is about to be sold to you. The seller is keeping the cat in a sack! In addition, the cat costs a million times more than a typical cat!
Although, the seller assures you that it’s a cat that is in the sack, however, your polite and reasonable request to open the sack and show you the content – after all, as a buyer, you have the full right to see and inspect what you are buying – is turned down flatly.
The seller, instead of just showing you the cat in the sack and put to rest your doubts, continues assuring you that it’s a cat that is actually in the cat. He asks you to just trust him and not worry. He even tells you that he has sold many cats in sacks to many people and they are all happy, satisfied and even prosperous.
He justifies his refusal to show you the cat with the fact that the cat is a ‘special and magical’ cat which will definitely bring you prosperity, peace and happiness – like his previous customers. He tells you that the oracle says that since the cat is a special breed, and in order for it to bring you peace, prosperity and happiness, it must always be kept in a sack and can only be brought out of the sack only by the buyer, the new owner, in his bedroom at 12 midnight.
Now, before continuing reading, if you don’t mind my asking, ‘Would you want to take the risk and take part in a transaction where the seller refuses to show you what he wants to sell to you despite your request?’ Let me put the question differently, ‘Would you want to take the risk and take part in a transaction that involves you paying a large amount of money or a very serious and big commitment without knowing its details?’ I don’t know your answer, but personally, I won’t.
Experience has shown that there is a serious danger and risk in such a doubtful transaction – where the seller refuses to show you what you are buying. How can you be sure that it’s indeed a cat that is in the sack? You can never know the contents of the cat until you get home. Imagine on getting home and opening the sack at 12 midnight as directed, to your horror and disappointing, you discover that it’s not a cat after all that is in the sack but a dog, squirrel, rabbit – or even a snake! Supposing it’s a snake that is inside the sack, where will you run to with a cobra in front of you, in your bedroom, at 12 midnight?
Or, imagine on getting home and opening the sack, to your horror and disappointment, you discover that the cat is one-eyed, deaf, dumb or an invalid – with amputated toes, fingers, legs. By then, it will be too late for comfort. No amount of tears will help recover your money because the seller must have disappeared, and be no where to be found.
But, assuming that you are lucky to find the seller that sold a snake to you instead of a cat, and accuses him of duping you (does 419 ring a bell in your mind?). He shamelessly tells you off and even swears with the Quran that in actual fact
he sold a healthy, beautiful, special and magic cat to you. But you are not ready to give up easily on the seller without putting up some fight. You keep on pestering him to refund your money. You remind him that you took him for his words, gave him the benefits of the doubts and took the risk of buying the cat, but to your greatest disappointment, the transaction turns out to be a big fraud – which was well planned right from the onset. Instead of apologising to you, he tells you that you are an ingrate, rains insults on you, then takes out a gun and shoots you. The transaction has cost you both your money and life! What a pity. But, this tragedy could have been avoided if you had refused to buy whatever is inside the sack when your request to see and inspect the contents of the sack was turned down by the seller. You are solely responsible for your calamity because you were naive and allowed the dubious seller to sell to you something that you never had the opportunity to see and inspect. You took part in a very doubtful transaction without insuring yourself!
The above, without any exaggeration, depicts exactly the new/special N.D. ministry. Try to imagine Yar’Adua, Ufo Ekaette and other criminals surrounding him (Yar’Adua)including multinational oil companies, Britain, the United States, e.t.c. as the seller, the new/special ministry of the N.D. as the cat in the sack that the seller(s) is/are trying to sell and the indigenes of the Niger Delta as the naive buyer. Our comparison needs additional illustration and analysis in order to remove any iota of doubt that may be in your mind that the N.D. is a cat in a sack.
THE FATE OF THE MINISTRY OF N.D. DEPENDS COMPLETELY ON THE PRESIDENT: IT IS NOT PROTECTED BY ANY LAW.
Let us take a deeper look at all the factors surrounding this mysterious ministry of N.D. the brain child of Yaradua and his gang of thieves that have been stealing the resources of the indigenes of the N.D. since time immemorial in the name of building a fake One Nigeria that they never subscribed to.
1. APPOINTMENT OF MINISTER.
The minister of the new ministry, just like other ministries, will always be appointed by the president. Today, it is Ufo Ekaette – in order to cool down tension. Tomorrow, after tension has cooled down in the region, he might decide to replace him with a northerner – just as has always been the case with Abuja, the Federal/Northern Capital Territory and NNPC, both of which the north regard as their bonafide properties. There is no law that says that the ministry of the Niger Delta must always be headed by a southerner or an indigene of the region. And there is no law that says that says that the president must first seek the opinion or/and endorsement of the militants, elders, politicians, senators, representatives before making or announcing his appointment. The indigenes have no veto power whatsoever over the appointment of a minister of the new ministry.
The people that will work in the new ministry will either be decided by the president solely or the minister – but with the approval of the president. If he likes, he can fill the ministry up with northerners who will fustrate Ekaette and destabilize / paralyse the activities/work of the ministry. There is no law that says that only the indigenes of the N.D. should work in the new ministry. It’s not written anywhere the minimum percentage of the indigenes of the N.D. that must work in the new ministry. It’s not stipulated anywhere the minimum amount of senior posts that must be held by the indigenes in order to avoid bureaucratizm, sabotage, destabilisation and facilitate the implementation of development projects.
The budget of the new ministry, like other ministries, will always be decided by the president, and not the indigenes of the region. Since there is no concrete formula to determine how much should be allocated to the new ministry by the president, he can allocate any amount that he feels. The president is not bound by any law or decree to explain or justify the amount allocated or the formula used in determining it. Therefore, if he likes, he can even stop transfering funds to the new ministry. It’s within his power to starve the ministry of funds. He can easily cite the global economic crisis as a good excuse to justify his decision. There is no law that compels the president to fund all projects listed or announced by the ministry or transfer funds to the ministry forever.
4. AWARD OF CONTRACTS.
The contracts that will be awarded – if at all they will be awarded – will be determined by the president based on the budget or allocated funds. The president can decide to build just one 10 km. road, 10 bungalows (for his cronies) and a small hospital in the region for 25 years. There is no concrete time-table, plan or program as regards to what projects need to be carried out, their cost estimations and completion time. He is not bound by any law to complete certain amount of projects, which must meet specified standard, within a specified period. There are no provisions for the indigenes to monitor the projects that the government promises them to carry out.
If the president likes, he can award most or all of the major contracts to companies owned by northerners or/and foreigners, that in turn employ mainly foreigners – and not the indigenes of N.D. – to carry out the projects. There is no law that binds companies that win contracts to employ a minimum or certain percentage of the indigenes. There is no law that binds the president or/and ministry from awarding all contracts to companies owned by northerners or foreigners. There is no law that binds the president or/and ministry to award a minimum or certain amount of contracts to companies owned by the indigenes of the N.D. There is no law that prohibits the president or/and ministry from awarding contracts that could be carried out by Nigerian companies, and even cheaper, to foreign companies. There is no law that prohibits both Nigerian and foreign companies that win contracts from giving out jobs that could be done by Nigerians or/and the indigenes to foreigners. There is no law that limits the maximum amount of contracts and/or jobs that could be awarded or given to foreigners.
There will be no transparency whatsoever. The indigenes will be in complete darkness as regards to much was actually allocated by the federal government and how much was really spent on promised/implemented projects. Since there is no any transparency, it will be practically impossible for the indigenes to verify exactly how much Nigeria makes from the oil and gas revenues on their land and what amount or percentage was allocated for their development. Since the indigenes will be denied access to audited records or financial statements of oil companies, it will also be a Herculean task for them to determine how many billions of dollars the oil companies avoid paying in taxes to Nigeria – and to the Niger Delta – through the use of different sophisticated tax optimisation schemes including offshore taxation.
The indigenes will never know about the lopsided oil agreements between Nigeria and the oil companies, which robs them and Nigeria billions of dollars every year. Yaradua – if at all he himself knows – will never tell them all the companies, individuals (Nigerians and foreigners), and the terms that they are exploring the oil and other resources on their territories. Such information is regarded as classified information.
They will never have access to information about northern retired – but not tired – criminal officers and politicians that own oil blocks in the Niger Delta. Such information is ‘state secret.’ Yaradua thinks that the Niger Deltans don’t need to bother themselves with about all these details. He has decided to take care of the details for them.
All the Niger Deltans w
ere told by Yaradua is that a new and special ministry that will take care of all their needs and development has been created for them. Therefore, they should not only be grateful to him, the benefactor, but should as well be happy, roll out the drums and not bother themselves with some unnecessary details. He believes that a ministry is more than enough for them. After all, come to think of it, is there any law that binds the president to reveal this information either to the Niger Deltans or/and Nigerians as a whole? The Freedom Of Information Bill was murdered by the criminals, who call themselves law makers, from the P.D.P., Yaradua’s party, before it was even conceived.