CORE AND NON-CORE DELTA:
A "Conversation" between Obaro Ikime, Uchenna Gwam and Peter Ekeh
Mobolaji E. Aluko
The Niger-Delta Region is a flash-point in Nigeria's socio-political dynamics because of the importance of oil to Nigeria's economy, the incidence of the region as the country's oil-basket and golden goose, and yet the historical neglect of the area in terms of socio-economic development. It appears that the people of that region, particularly the youths, are as mad as hell and are resolved not to take it any more.
Well, six states now comprise the N-D Region: Bayelsa, Rivers, Delta, Akwa-Ibom, Cross-Rivers and Ondo-State, with Bayelsa, Rivers and Delta states comprising the "core" Niger-Delta. But within Delta State itself, there appears to be an argument as to what comprises "core" Delta, brought about by the choice of a minister from that state by new president Aremu Olusegun Obasanjo.
One would have thought that the Warri crisis currently raging between the Ijaws, the Itsekiris and the Urhobos within Delta State was enough trouble. But "core" and "non-core" Delta? "Fake" and "real" Delta?
Well, in our continuing effort to promote dialogue among the Nigerian peoples - as would be obtained at a Sovereign National Conference - I present a sample discussion in reverse order, involving three Deltans: Peter Ekeh, Cyril Uchenna Gwam and Obaro Ikime. At my request, both Prof. Ekeh and Mr. Cyril Gwam provided me with "cleaned-up" copies of their write-ups.