"WHY MANY NORTHERNERS ARE SUDDENLY PATRIOTIC"
By Akpobome Egi
Dear Professor Ekeh,
What a master piece you have written. It will be much appreciated by people who have sound and civilised minds, but unfortunately many Nigerians are not. You have made it impossible for anybody with fair and civilised mind to quarrel with anything you have said in the article.
It is not difficult to understand why many northerns are suddenly patriotic. They have been the beneficiary of an unjust system. I was watching a call-in program on television in Nigeria recently in which the Governor of Bayelsa State was complaining about the devastation that oil exploration has caused in his state,.A caller from Kaduna responded that since the people of the Niger Delta are complaining of the effect of oil exploration, and since it is very difficult to develop the Niger Delta, its inhabitants should be forcefully relocated by the Federal Government to some where else, so that oil exploration would continue unhindered.When I heard the thought of relocating us to some where else because our land is difficult to develop, I feared for my people and for once thought that it was impossible. Odi and Bala Usman have changed my view that anyone had such thoughts..
We Niger Deltans must begin to plan how to defend ourselves and our God given resources. We should know that the average Nigerian is not his brother's keeper. Many Nigerians could care less if the whole of the Niger Delta is reduced to rubbles. We must start by supporting the Youths, by funding them and giving them some directions so that they can become more formidable and productive to our people. If we cannot enjoy the benefits of the oil in our land, we should make it impossible for anyone else to benefit from the oil. We CAN withstand the rest of Nigeria if we plan ahead.We should stop playing the helpless and intellectual role while our people are being killed gradually. We should begin to plan how to fight back so that events like Odi would not happen again. For the Nigerian state has shown that dialogue is one direction when you have the gun. We must realise that no one relinquishes previleges without a fight to keep the status quo.