MY brother James, congratulations as you clock fifty-eight. It is the Lord’s doing and it’s marvellous in our eyes. Though most people for political reasons may not be able to openly express their love and convictions on your genuine doggedness, you need not to worry for such is life. The stone that was rejected by builders is fast becoming the new cornerstone of the foundation because the Holy Scripture cannot lie.
We take special notice of the turn of events and discord in the camp of your traducers. They thought your incarceration would give them leeway in the politics of Nigeria but that has not been the case. They thought your travails would have diminished your popularity and acceptance but you continue to soar to their embarrassment. Many years away from home, you are still the issue.
As has been the practice, permit me to use this opportunity of your birthday to acquaint you with some of the interesting developments at home since you travelled.
You remember that blaming you for almost all the woes of the Delta state since it was created used to be the fashionable way to play politics and gain acceptance by some people even those that benefited heavily in cash and kind from your government? But this seems to be fast changing especially as political opportunists in the state have noticed that your traducers may have painfully realised that it would have been better for their politics especially at the national stage if they had sort peace and allowed you stay at home.
My brother James, Delta state has not changed in any shape or form since you travelled. Almost everything in the state have remained where you stopped despite the eight full years your uncle “the man wey sabi road” stayed in charge of the state government except that Asaba now has an airport where they controversially used over 3 billion naira to level the Mount Kilimanjaro that was obstructing cargo aircrafts from landing smoothly at the airport. Shaa, the airport is working!
The PDP in the state now was not the one you knew. There is a new order with all kinds of factions, some real most fake and strictly for cash drive. What we have now is Ijaw PDP, Urhobo PDP, Isoko PDP, and Anioma PDP, Itsekiri PDP etc, all pulling in different directions. It is infact difficult to know who is in the ruling or opposition parties as everybody oppose everything especially when they perceive to be short-changed.
It is interesting my brother, that all those who persecuted you before you started persecuting them have equally turned the heat on Okowa. Uduaghan was very smart for them though they tried especially the group from Ugborodo and some sections of the Ijaws and Urhobos. Their reasons were similar to the ones used on you- sharing of state resources to the detriment of the ordinary Delta people. But the beauty of the present situation is that Okowa has no godfathers nor godmothers though he has several god uncles, god aunties, god brothers and sisters who have obviously become part of his problem in the state. Walai, since the man came into office he has been crying everyday that the state is broke because it now receives only 20 percent of the amount it used to collect from the Federation Account.
Your Excellency, the upland-riverine dichotomy which you completely erased from the vocabulary of Delta people was fully revived by your uncle- that one wey sabi road, especially during his second tenure in his effort to re-ingratiate himself to his Itsekiri people haven heavily dealt treacherously with them as governor of the state. The dichotomy is now being manipulated for cheap political gains and this is fast tearing the state apart along ethnic lines.
You must have heard that the immediate past president Goodluck Jonathan, yes I mean the “drunken fisherman,” just a few months to his leaving office announced the establishment of a Maritime University at Okerenkoko. My brother James, do you know that the first official assignment of the new Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi, yes the erstwhile ‘Odili boy,’ was to cancel the project saying it was not necessary as the security situation in the area would make it impossible for even Urhobo people to school there.
James, James, and how many times did I call you? Beware of rumour mongers and influence peddlers any time they come to you in London because I know some of them visit you once in a while. Whatever you discuss with them, be sure they would rework and download it for whosoever cares for pecuniary reasons as you know most of these people are “food is ready” politicians. So beware of dogs!
Let’s I forget, in our state these days, Fulani herdsmen now move freely across the state with Ak-47 assault riffles. They have overrun farms and villages in Delta state, destroying crops, killing, maiming and raping our women and nothing is being done to proactively checkmate them. Our people only shout after each round of mayhem. No doubt, Odidigboigboi, if you were home it would not have been so.
When you started the struggle for Resource Control through the Ibori Vanguard, the same struggle that put you where you are now, little did you know that in no time, the core national discourse in Nigeria would revolve around resource control, and restructuring for true federalism. Even though your enemies may not want to hear that oil producing states of the Niger Delta are enjoying 13 percent derivation today, it is unarguably true that the benefit was due to your big-hearted fight as a champion of resource control and fiscal federalism.
Your boss and political associate, former vice president Atiku Abubakar, you remember him, recently caused a stir in the polity by calling on government to restructure Nigeria to avert imminent disaster.
Interestingly, now the need to restructure Nigeria has highlighted a new faultline in our political equation, this time not between the ruling APC and the opposition PDP but between open and closed -minded Nigerians both political and apolitical. Your Excellency, do you know that despite that on daily basis comes the news that strengthen the appeal to restructure the way we are presently governed, there are some people who would not want to hear it for whatever reasons? But whether they do or not, it has to be discussed and taken seriously for the collective health of the project called Nigeria.
James, do you know that advocates of restructuring from the southern part of the country are often suspected of planning to use it to weaken the North or even dismember the country. On the other hand, the Northern oppositionists of the idea are often suspected of opposing restructuring because they want to protect their privileges under the current configuration. But there has to be a common ground where every section will accept that whatever is proposed. This is where we are now o!
Odidigboigboi, we are conscious of your present travails and it is our fervent prayers that you will come out strong, chaste and more committed to the advancement of your people of Niger Delta.
Your political son Governor Ifeanyi Okowa and his gang salute you. Other children of yours, admirers and even haters in government both ruling and supposed opposition salute you also.
Grace and peace be multiplied unto you through the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, Amen! Happy Birthday my brother, my brother!