The Niger Delta region today continues to relish the great contributions of its sons, such as Adaka Boro, Ken Saro Wiwa, and Professor Claude Ake. This is because of their notable achievements in their various fields of endeavor, from politics to economy. They have become rallying points for youth activism in the area. Ken Saro Wiwa and Professor Claude Ake would continuously be remembered for their indefatigable struggle for social justice in the Niger Delta region, even at the expense of their lives. They protested the various injustices meted out against their people by multinational oil companies in collaboration with the federal government during the 1990’s. Ken Saro Wiwa was executed by the late military junta, Gen.Sani Abacha. Their heroic achievements remain fresh and indelible.
With the coming of democracy in May 1999, the expectations of the youths in the Niger Delta were that of good and inclusive governance which would enable young people achieve their aspirations for better life. However, the turnout of events in Rivers State have made the youths more than ever disillusioned because they are not involved in the scheme of things. Politicians have found the youths useful tools for assassination and political thuggery. It is no gain saying that the upsurge in violence in the area is largely attributed to politicians, as a result of their desperation to occupy public offices. Some respondents, who are also youths told Naijavoxpop that many politicians were sending their children to the Harvard and Oxford of this world to receive university education, but are busy arming the children of the poor to fight their perceived enemies. They stated that after the enthronement of democracy in 1999, hell was let loose. That it was the origin for the promotion of cultism in the state, which later became the bedrock for the recruitment of militias for the Niger Delta militancy. It is a common thinking among youths in the state, that their leaders have lost the bigger picture and opportunity to promote a mutually shared aspiration of development for all peoples’ in the state. This is in spite of the fact, that the state has the mineral resources to birth another Dubai. Continue reading