Niger Delta

Ogbia/Oloibiri people of Bayelsa accuse FG of ill-treatment

The people of Oloibiri community
in Ogbia LGA of Bayelsa State
have accused the Nigerian
government of not treating them
well.
Ogbia in Bayelsa State is the birthplace
of the former President of Nigeria, Dr.
Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR. Despite the fact,
he ruled for six years, with little or nothing
on ground, in Oloibiri or Ogbia Local
Government Area of Bayelsa State to show
that the place or Local Government Area
once produced the country’s President.
In view of the deplorable state of roads
in the LGA and the general poor state of
facilities in the area, there is this subdue
anger among the people in and around the
Local Government Area council.
His Royal Majesty King Owaba D. Charles
Obhanoban of Ogbia Kingdom, who has
been working round the clock to calm frail
nerves, controlling the general anger of his
people, who have been complaining about
the inappropriate manner past and present
governments in Nigeria, including the
administration of their son, Dr. Goodluck
Jonathan, has treated them.
Palace Watch recently cornered His
Majesty in his palace in Ogbia kingdom in
Bayelsa State, after a lot of prodding and
appeal, the hesitant king, finally opened up
and told Palace Watch some of the reasons
why his people are so bitter over the shabby
manner past governments in the country
have treated the Oloibiri/Ogbia people in
the general scheme of things.
His Royal Majesty, King Owaba D.
Charles Obhanoban of Ogbia Kingdom,
explained the general happening in his
kingdom in a subdued turn dripping
with anger. He said, “Now that you are
here please go round the town and the
entire Local Government Area Council as
a whole and come back to me here in the
palace, to tell me what you have seen on
ground as a meaningful infrastructures
for a place where the first drop of crude
oil was drilled in the early 50s. It is this
same local government area council that
produced one of the President that served
Nigeria meritoriously for six years, who
made history by calling the person who
allegedly defeated him in an election to
congratulate him, not because he believed
he was truly defeated in that election, but
just because he wanted to avoid a situation
where his refusal to concede defeat will
result in an unfortunate bloodshed and
the disintegration of the country. If I may
ask, are these not enough signs that we the
Ogbia and Bayelsa people are committed to
unity and general well-being of this great
country, Nigeria?
“Government at the center over the years
is simply taking undue advantage of the
quietness exhibited by the Oloibiri/Ogbia
people and for our not being belligerent
and militant in our approach to things as
a liberty to do whatever pleases them to
us. We are not cowards; it is generally our
nature to keep the peace as people. And
this we will continue to do. Tell me which
other ethnic groups or tribes in Nigeria will
tolerate what we have been tolerating over
the years?
“Oloibiri /Ogbia Local Government Area
Council is a place where so much natural
resources have been taken to develop other
areas of the country, and yet very little has
been done to improve this place. And yet
we are still keeping quiet and maintaining
the peace as we are still doing here today.
“From all indications, what the action
of the Federal Government is telling my
people is that, if a child does not cry, he is
hungry or not, he needs not to be fed.
“If I may ask, must we pick up arms
before the Federal Government will come
to the realization that Oloibiri people in
particular and Ogbia Local Government
Area Council of Bayelsa State in general
need to be given a special attention in view
of its past contributions to the nation’s
economic developments?
“You have gone round and saw things for
yourself, unlike so many people and places,
which have not made the huge sacrifices
we have been making; their places are more
developed than this area. Is this good for
national cohesion? Oloibiri and Ogbia is
located in dry land, and the whole of this
area is free of floods and erosion. The excuse
that this place is swampy, inaccessible and
difficult to develop, is not there.
“We have over the years realized that the
Federal Government is not just interested in
giving us a token as a kind of pay back. The
attitude of the government at the center,
as we see it here, is that we have taken all
we required or needed from them, and as
such we are done with them. This attitude
and behavior, the truth must be told, is not
good for national cohesion. The leadership
of present day Bayelsa State and our local
government here, are responsible, if they
are given special funds or grant to develop
this place they will deploy the money
appropriately.
“Sadly, when we complain like this,
so many promises will be made to us,
especially by politicians when they are
campaigning looking for our votes.
But once they are elected they forget
about us and the development of these
areas until another election year. I must
confess however, that the Bayelsa State
Government and the present Ogbia Local
Government Area Council Chairman are
doing their very best, depending on the
finances available to them to meet our
needs here. Whatever happens, we are law
abiding people, we will continue to air our
views, and hope for the better.
He continued, “If Nigeria is a place
where things are done properly, it is this
very place the first Petroleum Institute or
University of Petroleum was supposed to
be sited, because it was here in Oloibiri, the
first oil well was discovered in Nigeria. But
sadly, this is not the case.
“Over the years we have been crying
now for the establishment of an Industrial
park here, as this will quicken the
industrialization of these areas of the
country, all we have held is a lot of noise,
without any meaningful action from the
Federal Government.
“We are not asking for too much from
the Federal Government, we have over
these years pleaded for the construction
of a major road network, from Brass that
will link Okpoma to Nembe. If this road
is done, it will not only open up the entire
Niger Delta Region, it will also help the
developments of these areas. The ripple
effects of all these, is that the majority of
our youths will find something to do with
their hands. And once our youths are fully
engaged, they will never think of carrying
arms or disturbing the peace of the society,
as they will face their families squally.
“I must confess, once a good policy
is implemented, everybody will know
and feel it. The amnesty policy of the late
President Yar’Adua was a very laudable
one. It helped in no small measure to bring
about lasting peace in the Niger Delta
region.
“Just like the Yar’Adua administration
who brought the amnesty programme,
that helped to calm all the frail nerves
of agitators in this region, we are again
pleading with President Muhammadu
Buhari’s government to implement the
Modular Refinery policy in Nigeria, as this
will help bring about the full engagement
of the majority of the youths in this region.
Palace Watch: Your Majesty, I have
ByGabriel Omonhinmin
listened to all your grievances with rapt
attention. Are you saying that for the six
years one of your sons, Dr. Goodluck
Jonathan, was Nigeria’s president, he
never did any major project in Ogbia
kingdom where he came from, that he will
be remembered for?
King Owaba D. Charles Obhanoban of
Ogbia Kingdom: My dear friend, let us
not personalized this discussion, when
President Goodluck Jonathan was elected
Nigeria’s President that never made him
an Ogbia President alone, although he is
an indigene of Ogbia kingdom. His entire
constituency as it were, while in office was
Nigeria. We on our part here did not want
to distract him, by putting unnecessary
pressure on him.
“He did the little he could to improve
the lot of our people, this we are very
grateful about. But much as he is our son,
we allowed him and his administration
the liberty to use their discretion to do
whatever pleases them for our people and
the country.
If ex-President Goodluck Jonathan
had concentrated his administration’s
development activities in this area of the
country, people would have shouted
blue murder, ‘Saying, see this man oh,
President Jonathan… is not looking at other
areas of the country as he concentrated
developmental activities in Ogbia land.
“As you’ll agree with me, throughout
his stay in office, no one saw any reason(s)
to shout that their areas were neglected
at the expense of the development of the
Ogbia Kingdom. We liked it so, because
it goes to show how broad minded we are
as Bayelsans and our commitment to the
oneness of this great country, Nigeria. We
just decided then to allow ex-president
Jonathan to be and concentrate in his job as
Nigerian President.
“But from what we have seen since he
left office as Nigeria’s President, people
from other parts of Nigeria are not as liberal
as we Bayelsan people. If ex-president
Jonathan was such a selfless president of
Nigeria, who did so much, for example to
enhance the welfare and the well-beings of
the “Alimajarirees” and the people of North
while in office, we ordinarily would have
expected that the President that assumed
office after him, would have, without
prompting extend similar gestures to our
people here, sadly, that is not the case now.
“If ex-president Goodluck Jonathan for
whatever reasons known to him failed to
do, all that we had expected from him for
our people while in office, because of his
nationalistic outlook of things, that did
not make us angry nor bitter with him as
a person or about his actions, because we
know, good leaders are usually nationalistic
in the way they do or see things. We just
accept things the way they were.
“That is all gone now. There are,
however, not enough reasons for us not to
cry out for the development of our areas, if
we are not getting what we expect from the
government of the day. Especially now that
he has long left office.
Palace Watch: Your Majesty, you have a
sizable number of oil companies operating
in this area of the country, how are these
companies assisting your people in
ameliorating the present suffering in the
land?
King Owaba D. Charles Obhanoban of
Ogbia Kingdom: “They are trying in the
areas of health care delivery for our people.
I must confess that Shell Nigeria Company
Limited and Agip are doing their very
best in these areas, other than this, there is
nothing to write home about, about their
activities here.
“It is not greed when we ask, that as the
people providing the economic mainstay
of the country, we should equally be taken
good care of. As we speak, the majority of
our roads are not motorable, the economy
here as you can see for yourself is not
working, not to talk of being vibrant.
“Our youths, who are of employable ages,
even when they are properly educated are
not employed. The parents of these children
are mostly fishermen and women and
peasant farmers. They eke out their daily
living through hard work. It is proceeds
from this hard work they use to train their
children, hoping with time, these children,
when they are old, will in turn be in a
position to assist them. This is no longer the
case today. Everyone is expected to travel
to Abuja, Lagos and Port Harcourt to be
gainfully employed. This is not supposed to
be the case in an ideal situation.
“Our people are deep thinkers, who
are equally innovative if given the chance
and the right environment. With the right
and proper environment and incentives
by government at the Federal, States and
Local Government levels, our youths have
the ability to be good business men and
women as they are extremely creative. This
is how great countries we have seen and
know develop.

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