The Real Enemies of the Niger Delta Region – Engr. (Dr.) Emmanuel Audu-Ohwavborua (FNSE, FNIHE,PMP)

The Real Enemies of the Niger Delta Region – Engr. (Dr.) Emmanuel Audu-Ohwavborua (FNSE, FNIHE,PMP)

Today, I provide the reason for my rather passive appearance on this medium in recent times. I yielded the advice of quite a few of my friends on this medium, who believe in my attempt at writing vide the various posts I have made on this medium. For a little over a year now, I have channelled my energy and most of my spare time into a work (book) I titled the, “Real Enemies of the Niger Delta Region”. The book is not done yet, but substantially done, just a couple more chapters to go. Some of your comments to my various posts on this medium over the years are a major influence to this work, and I am grateful. From my manuscripts, I serve you the Introduction (only) to the Book, not only for your reading pleasure, but also for your esteemed comments and constructive criticisms, which I believe, will help the completion of this project,
I implore you to sacrifice your time to read this meaningfully and comment judiciously.

The Real Enemies of the Niger Delta Region

Introduction

WHEREVER MY BUDDIES AND I FROM SAPELE, AND OTHER PARTS of the Niger Delta region meet in any informal setting: weddings, naming ceremonies, house-warming events, sports, sit-outs, etc, our discussion sooner or later dovetails to the underdevelopment of our region. People always ask the same questions. Questions like the following. Notwithstanding the immense human and natural resources available in the region, why is the area underdeveloped? Why are the elected public officials of the region, past and present, living large at the expense of the region? What exactly are the elites doing to stop the monumental looting of the peoples’ wealth? How can we come together to bring about a transformational change in the region? Why would more than half the population of a country that earned nearly one trillion US Dollars in oil revenue since the Oloibiri discovery of crude oil continue to wallow in poverty? Why are the indigenes not holding their leaders accountable? Sometimes I try hard to laugh at these barrage of questions which keep popping up when you least expect, but, sooner or later, the laughter gives way to a new, strange graveness; a slimy joining, apparently a ruthless reminder of the gravity of the situation in the Niger Delta. I have never had quick answers to these questions. I cannot claim to have answers to all, or even any of the questions. Somehow though, a clear and distinct inner voice speaks to me each time I am reminded about the largescale poverty and lack of basic amenities in the region. Occasionally, I find myself deeply involved in an interior monologue within the inner recesses of my mind, reflexively and critically weighing the pros and cons of confronting the Niger Delta challenge head-on, alone; yes, alone. Sometimes, my thought trajectory is visual, I see images of a fully developed Niger Delta region in my mind’s eye. Almost within fleeting seconds, I am jolted back to reality – the reality of the hurdles real and imagined that I may not be able to surmount. These thoughts do not however obliterate the uncanny persistence of this lone, distinct voice which keeps urging me, keeps hounding me to do something altruistic about the situation, after all, (a characteristic thread of argument the voice employs) history is replete with numerous examples of one man changing the course of a nation and even that of mankind. What should I do? I haven’t been able to answer this very question, even though it has tormented me for years like a lingering perennial migraine that refuses to go away. That is, apart from my little contributions to the growth of the region and hence the nation, as a sincere, honest, diligent and innovative Public Servant for the past sixteen (16) years.

Notwithstanding the orchestrated agitations by the indigenes to increase the 13% Derivation Fund accruing to the Niger Delta region, notwithstanding the enormous and urgent need to develop the area responsible for generating about 92% of the revenues of the Federal Government (2016 figures), I must admit, and most enlightened indigenes of the region will too, that an extraordinary amount of money has been pumped into the region. Shout as we may, scream to high heavens about marginalization or injustice as we may, the brutal truth is: in comparison to other areas of the country, the region had got a fair and sizable share of the country’s revenue in the last 18 years. This is not my opinion – it is a fact (which shall be established in the course of this book). The current system of fiscal allocation and revenue sharing formula has been fair to the region, and successive governments at the centre from the Olusegun Obasanjo administration which commenced in 1999 through Musa Yar’Adua, Goodluck Jonathan to Muhammadu Buhari; they all kept their side of the bargain. At least they have all respected the revenue sharing formula. A key part of what this book will x-ray is the role leaders and people of the Niger Delta region have played in the utilization of the enormous funds the region received in the 18 years since Nigeria returned to democratic rule. To what extent have the indigenes applied the funds that accrued to the region to actual development of the area and improvement of the wellbeing of the people? We shall delve into the details of the murky politics of 13% Derivation later.

At this moment, I like to continue with events that led to writing this book.

It wasn’t until I was holidaying with my family in December 2015 that I hit the Eureka moment, the “Aha moment”. It’s possible the near-perfect, first-class and exquisite state of facilities and amenities in Dubai opened my eyes to what could have been, if we had the benefit of visionary and insightful leadership in the Niger Delta. Relaxing in a cosy, well-manicured park embellished with exotic plants, orchids and roses of delicate colours, their fragrance slightly overpowered by the smell of fields, of wet, recently-cut grass, I jumped from my seat and screamed to my wife, “Yes, I am going to write a book on the Niger Delta. It will be my little contribution to the Niger Delta challenge.” Realizing I was more or less embarrassing her because she didn’t understand what I was saying, I said, “Sorry my dear, you won’t understand.” I said the phrase, “Sorry, my dear” slowly, funnelling the phrase back and forward. But as I thought about writing the book later that day, I started working it in my mind, started imagining how I was going to pour my heart out; started imagining it could be the beginning of the battle for the hearts and minds of the elites in the region towards seizing the initiative from the charlatans and pretenders in charge today. The book could essentially be the beginning of a major paradigm shift, which will usher in a whole new era in the region. The book could represent a key contribution to the realization of the full potentials of the area. On and on, my imagination took flight, soared and I explored all sorts of possibilities; took me to areas never before imagined, took me to uncharted territories. You know how the mind plays tricks on us; how it wanders and meanders to all kinds of terrains. At times, a voice counters by reminding me a book couldn’t achieve all I was ascribing to it – it’s just a book. Despite these new realities, the thought of truly sitting down to write frightened me, and worse still, I couldn’t lay my hands on why I was scared especially as writing comes naturally to me – I have always been very expressive. When we came back to the country, I tried to forget the Dubai experience. For the umpteenth time, I walked away from the idea literally, oblivious the subconscious didn’t walk away, never walked away because I still had occasional flashes jog my memory about a certain unfinished business – the now familiar voice echoes repeatedly.

One evening after the official closing time in my office, while surfing the internet, I came across a quote by the iconic Spanish painter, a tireless innovator of art forms associated with pioneering Cubism, Pablo Picasso, the prolific, most dominant and influential artist of the first half of the twentieth century. He said, “Everything you can imagine is real.”

Interesting?

“This is it. I can write this book.” As I thought about Picasso’s words, I started, for the first time since the Dubai experience to actually consider how to put pen to paper, started ruminating over the outline, the highpoints, diction and style, that sort of thing. But how was I going to write a book on a subject as deep, topical and controversial as the Niger Delta with my crowded work schedule?

Somehow on four different occasions over a period of three years, I made efforts but couldn’t go beyond this question – it was as if it was my Achilles’ heel until approximately 322 days today when mustering all the energy and bravado I could, I started working on an outline in earnest, and shockingly enough, the moment I started, I couldn’t stop anymore. Another major influencer to my ability to get to work were the responses and comments to some of my posts on Facebook. Some of my followers actually advised that I should write a book. A particular friend of mine, Engr. Festus Oriakhi (FNSE), in his comments to a write up, “Lessons on Morality” I posted, said, ‘”if he didn’t know I was an engineer by training, he would have said I was a journalist”. Another friend, Elder Festus Eguaoje in his own comments to the same post said, “if you don’t write a book you’ll be doing a disservice to the nation”. There were also lots of encouraging comments from many individuals too numerous to mention here, but a huge influence and catalyst to my putting this work together. Soon we will get to the main reasons I decided to write this book but before that, let’s explore other pertinent areas. As you’ll see when you go into the book proper, my father had very little education – he could barely read and write but he noticed I was usually glued to books from a very early age, and predicted my love of books would take me to the Whiteman’s country. God bless his soul, he was right on the money. Events turned out the way he predicted and even better, and I thank God for that.

Abraham Lincoln, former President of the United States of America captured the indispensability and overriding essence of books when he wrote, “If you want to be remembered after your death either do something worth writing or write something worth reading”. He also said, “The written word may be man’s greatest invention. It allows us to converse with the dead, the absent and the unborn.” I do agree to everything he wrote regarding books and many other areas outside this scope, but I certainly don’t know about conversing with the dead – I am sure he meant it in a metaphorical sense of course. I read virtually all the series of “James Hadley Chase” as a teenager – I was particularly fascinated by the series’ pragmatic titles, some of which made a huge impression on me. Titles like: Do Me A favour: Drop Dead, Believe This, You Believe Anything, The Way the Cookie Crumbles, A Coffin from Hong Kong and An Ear to The Ground, etc, had profound lasting influence on my young impressionable mind, so much that I still remember some of the storylines till this day. I am not sure if it was the bizarre or mysterious nature of the titles that was the object of my fascination or the plots or storylines. All I remember is that everywhere I went during the period I was awaiting the results of the West African School Certificate (WASC) examination, I had one James Hadley Chase novel or the other in my jeans back pocket, and I would read a page or two at the slightest opportunity while visiting friends or in-between household chores. In the middle of gist with friends I would occasionally bring out my novel and start reading, momentarily forgetting myself and my friends and they teased me a lot about this behaviour. My philosophical and mesmerising interest in the world of books continued till this day, even though I ended up studying engineering at the university and the nature of my work revolves around projects, calculations, etc. Today, amidst the seeming chaos of my schedule, I still find time sometimes to escape within the reassuring and comforting boundaries of a good book, far away, and far removed mentally and mystically, from my immediate environment. I often choose to relax in this unique fashion, notwithstanding whatever happened in the immediate.

Having worked as a Public Servant for over fifteen years in a Federal Government agency in the region, ten (10) of those years in Management position, with the attendant knowledge 0f the inner workings of the agency, the fact that the humongous accruals from the 13% derivation funds to all nine (9) states of the region over the years is now public knowledge, and the fact that the region still remains largely under-developed, one can safely conclude that over the years, the funds meant for the development of the region have been largely wasted. Diverted into private pockets, yes, stolen. The desperation for the scramble for petrodollars in the region is unprecedented. Believe me, when I say the looting knows no tribe, social status, religion, creed, race or coloration. It’s simply about greed, impunity and crass criminality; a study in the anatomy of greed is more appropriate. A coalition of strange bed fellows, a few rogues banding together to take advantage of the ignorance and apparent docility of the majority. It is a classic case of the struggle over resource control – the grab-grab mentality of man. Like they say, we can meet our needs, but no one can meet our greed. Curiously, when it comes to looting in the Niger Delta and in fact Nigeria, religion, creed, tribe and race do not matter at all. Nigerians and foreigners of all colorations collude and collaborate efficiently so long as petrol Dollars is involved. You only hear about religion and ethnicity in the country when politicians want to divide the people for selfish ends. From what I can refer to as a vantage point being an indigene and having worked in the region at such high level, I am in a position to provide a window into the true state of affairs in the Niger Delta region, and I believe posterity is beckoning on me to do a responsible job of it.

The reasons I am writing this book The Real Enemies of the Niger Delta Region are multi-faceted and multi-dimensional, but I like to discuss three only. The first is to expose the monumental fraud the 13% Derivation Fund in the oil producing states in the Niger Delta has become, the inglorious role leaders and indigenes of the region have played in the colossal corruption and resultant underdevelopment of the region. One must understand one does not wake up one day and decide to write on a topic as insidious and criminalizing as this. The idea had been given thoughtful consideration, pondered and reviewed over and over again for several years, before getting to the point where we are today. Writing this important book is therefore borne out of patriotic and altruistic considerations, especially in the interest of millions of the oppressed people of the region, our children and our children’s children. There are multifarious facets to the Derivation fund. One key aspect, which I owe myself a solemn duty to highlight clearly here, is, that the looting has only gone on for so long unabated because the indigenes have wittingly and unwittingly acquiesced, colluded, aided and abetted the looters, or in the least, glorified and applauded them. Either way, all indigenes of the region are culpable. So, it will be wrong for any Niger Delta indigene reading this book to exonerate himself completely from the mess. The degrees of culpability vary and we shall come to that much later. It’s possible as you read now to look at this issue cursedly, shrug and walk away, believing this writer is joking to say all of us are culpable. Remember the Bible admonishes us to condemn evil in all its ramifications.

The other dimension to this is the call to action which will form part of the take-away from this book and I shall dwell on this at the appropriate time. My efforts will come to naught if this book fails to initiate a thought process in the hearts of some of its readers, that will engender a major ground-breaking, transformational and hopefully generational change, in the Niger Delta. The third dimension is the ominous irony development scholars’ call “the resource curse” and I like to quote Dr Oby Ezekwesili, former Nigerian Minister of Solid Minerals and of Education.

She said in a lead paper she presented at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, on January 24, 2013, “the appropriate response to the revenue extracted from our oil over the period 1959 to date would have been to use it in accumulating productive investment in the form of globally competitive human capital and physical asset of all types of infrastructure and institutions”. She further laments, “Due to profligacy we have dismal human development indicators which are inconsistent with the scale of our earnings… That Nigeria is a paradox of the kind of wealth that breeds penury is as widely known as the fact that the world considers us a poster nation for poor governance wealth from natural resources. The trend of Nigeria’s population in poverty since 1980 to 2010 for example suggests that the more we earned from oil, the larger the population of poor citizens. Unfortunately unbridled profligacy has made us spend and continue to spend the free money from oil like a tragic Rentier state that we are called in development circles. We spend most of what we generate on mere consumption with no tangible productive asset to show for our so called wealth.”

What a damning commentary; what an incriminatory observation!

The second reason I am writing this book is to use irrefutable empirical evidence to encourage the indigenes of the Niger Delta to re-evaluate and consequently downplay their “entitlement mentality” syndrome in the overall interest of the region, and allow meritocracy, transparency and accountability to be the sole criteria in the recruitment of staff into government agencies and ministries, selection of persons for training and capacity building programmes, selection of contractors, consultants and suppliers, in order to derive maximum benefits from the 13% Derivation fund, the contributions of the International Oil Companies (IOCs) and other funds accruing to the region, especially against the frightening backdrop of the dwindling value of oil in the global market (many European nations are outlawing the manufacture of petrol-driven vehicles from 2030). The celebrated and often orchestrated claim to inheritance of the resources in the region, as much as it is justified has however over the years beclouded the judgement of the indigenes into suffering from delusions of greatness because giant oil wells are located behind their backyards. They forget however that true legal ownership of these wells lie thousands of kilometres away from their houses. I urge my brothers and sisters in the region, not to bask in the euphoria of oil and behave like the Prodigal son in the Bible, but take wise counsel in the words of John D Rockefeller who said, “I believe in the dignity of labour, whether with head or hand; that the world owes no man a living but that it owes everyone an opportunity to make a living.” Make an honest and decent living, I urge my brothers and sisters to forget about this ownership mentality syndrome which appears to rub us of our dignity and reduce us to a less worthy people. As I write this, the news is awash in national dailies and social media with demands from Niger Delta movements that the International Oil Companies (IOCs) must relocate their physical headquarters to the oil producing areas, more specifically, Port Harcourt. Only a few days ago, the Niger Delta movements extended its deadline to the IOCs by 365 days. The question I ask is, does the hood make the monk? Shouldn’t we in addition be demanding for tangible things – for instance, upward review of the 13% Derivation fund, stricter compliance, more transparency and accountability regarding the IOCs financial contributions to the region? While exploring ways to drastically reduce our dependence on oil by investing in agriculture, cottage industries, manufacturing, etc.

So, my initial reaction before we go into details later, is, we – the indigenes of the Niger Delta can only win more legal ownership of our oil if we stay together and work together as brothers and sisters. Those who profess the entitlement mentality could be said to fall into three categories. The active and vocal actors, the disillusioned armchair critics and the docile and inactive back-benchers. The first group include the aggrieved violent agitators like the Movement for the Emancipation of the Niger Delta (MEND), Niger Delta Avengers (NDA), and the Niger Delta Liberation Force (NDLF) and all the “warlords,” to mention a few. This book will provide suggestions on how to engage this group with a view to achieve a negotiated, coherent, more effective, more result-oriented but non-violent-based outcomes. The second group, the disillusioned armchair critics include most of the elites, opinion leaders and opinion moulders, traditional rulers, religious leaders, journalists, human rights activists, etc. These are highly enlightened, highly educated men and women who understand the issues involved and are easily amenable to reason, logic and moral suasion. In my view, this group should form the bedrock, the powerhouse of the campaign to achieve legal control of the Niger Delta region. The last group, the docile and inactive back-benchers are the ones who harbour a quiet discontent with the status quo in the region. They are mostly the rest of the indigenes in the region and though aggrieved, disillusioned and disenchanted by the state of affairs, nonetheless have remained aloof without taking any action, believing erroneously that the situation will take care of itself or time will somehow solve the problems of the region. This appears to be the most dangerous group because of its docility, inaction and seeming disinterest in ideas and suggestions on the steps to take to change the status quo. The ideas which will work for the second group – that is the arm-chair critics will also work for this group, except that the messaging will be much more aggressive to make any meaningful impact.

The third reason I am writing this book is principally to put in perspective what might have been, had we the benefit of visionary, prudent and insightful leadership in the Niger Delta region from 1999 to 2016. If the Niger Delta region elected public officials and appointed heads of government agencies, had an iota of the kind of vision the pioneer and main driver of the Dubai miracle, Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, the Father of Modern Dubai who transformed a small trading port into a major international shipping centre and tourist destination had, the Niger Delta would have been a different place today. If the so called leaders of the Niger Delta states were half the transformational leader Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum is, we would be telling a different story today. So, I want to compare and contrast the two scenarios – Dubai and the Niger Delta – the funds that accrued to the region between 1999 and 2016 with the funds used in the continued development of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), during the same period. This will make an interesting study because it will paint graphic pictures, perhaps an intriguing montage of purposeful leadership on one side (in Dubai) and profligate and directionless leadership (Niger Delta) on the other. An amalgam of these scenarios replete and adorned with pictorial comparisons, will make wonderful reading and I can’t wait to get to that point. I am as excited, expectant and enthusiastic as you are, as I lead you, reel you in, on this journey of discovery and exposition – a journey I believe will provide invaluable, mind-blowing insights into the dangerous political and fiscal intrigues in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, like never before.

My decision to switch to the Public Service was not an accident – it was indeed a deliberate decision, though difficult at the time it was taken, because I was earning much more than the Public Service offered, but it was a decision taken in the overall interest of the Niger Delta region and the larger society. I had a wonderful opportunity to contribute to the development of my region, and I took it, so that I will affect my constituency, my people, if you wish, on a wider level, on a wider scale, and on a more effective and more altruistic level. As it turned out, providence designed it in such a way I have been able to contribute my small quota effortlessly towards correcting the ills of the past, of which writing this book is a part. I have also taken counsel in the wise words of Plato, the legendary Greek philosopher and founder of the Academy in Athens, the first institution of higher learning in the Western world. He says, “One of the penalties for refusing to participate in politics is that you end up being governed by your inferiors.” If I can’t serve in politics for now, I can as well serve the people in other endeavours and I believe strongly the Public Service is one area through which one can render service to the people. At the risk of sounding immodest, I may have contributed more in terms of attracting amenities to the communities and correcting some of the ills of the past, than some elected representatives. The records are there.

As a Public Servant, I have five guiding principles and they have helped me to remain focused on achieving three broad life goals. First, achieve God’s overall purpose for me here in this world such that by the time I die, I would have given my all, and I die empty; second, do the best I can when dealing with people to be fair, just and equitable and lastly, be the best I can be. The first guiding principle from which I regularly draw inspiration while in the Private and Public Sectors, is the full realization that work never killed anybody. So I work as conscientiously as I can to achieve my set objectives. When the job demands extra hours to achieve a goal, I don’t hesitate to work flat-out if need be to accomplish that goal. My parents were very persistent and unrelenting in inculcating in us the value of hard work and dignity of labour. Even though they had very little in terms of material resources and education, they did their very best, taking all kinds of risks, odd and menial jobs to keep going, doing whatever it took. The lessons of their toil, rigor and hard work are not lost on me. I recall my mother trekking upwards of eight kilometres daily to go to the farm at Ovre in Oria-Abraka, Ethiope-East LGA, Delta State and my father taking the job of a security man to a banker, after the war when he couldn’t continue with his buying and selling business, which involved transiting between Kano and Sapele regularly. Their age-old tradition of dedication to duty and hard work are still fashionable in my world, and I preach this to not only my children, but to youths everywhere I go and every time I have the opportunity to.

My second guiding principle is my tacit belief in sharing knowledge because knowledge not shared is not knowledge. Recall the saying that a candle loses nothing by lighting another, so it doesn’t take anything away from me to add to peoples’ awareness and since I am told by friends that I am very expressive, that I am a natural teacher because I explain issues and concepts so well even the deaf understands, it’s only natural I assist people to gain more knowledge. What my friends don’t know in any case, is that it comes effortlessly to me and I actually enjoy impacting knowledge. The third guiding principle is inspired by the following maxim by William J Toms. He says, “Be careful how you live. You may be the only Bible some person ever reads.” My life peregrination so far is replete with numerous examples of this endeavour to live an exemplary life – to be a beacon of hope to others simply by being myself, doing the right thing – by being my own man, unencumbered by what others think, or feel about me. Against frightening odds, even odds that infringe on my personal space, safety and security and could cost all I had laboured for, I soldier on, taking on the world, literally, like a bull. For example, I always stop at nothing to speak up when occasion demands, like when someone is doing something wrong, not minding whose ox is gored. All the time I try to put into practice Nelson Mandela’s wise words: “there is no easy walk to freedom anywhere, and many of us will have to pass through the valley of the shadow of death again and again before we reach the mountaintop of our desires.”

Have I reached the mountaintop of my desires? Far from that, I look at myself as work-in-progress and I believe I make good progress every day.

My fourth guiding principle is my love for mentoring and coaching young people. I have always believed it is a lot easier to accentuate and develop someone’s strengths than assist the individual to work on his weaknesses. So, when I encountered younger colleagues during these years that I have been in service, I made painstaking efforts to develop them knowing it was the least I could offer. Once I recognize someone who is serious with his work, I reach out to him and assist in whatever way I can to ensure he becomes a more rounded, more effective and more productive professional. The fifth and last guiding principle is my belief that a true leader should never try to please everyone; if he does, he is bound to fail. My guiding maxim in this regard, is to always do the best I can to be fair, just and equitable in taking the tough decisions that must be taken for the good of the organization. The moment I am convinced the decision I am about to take is in the best interest of the organization and the lager interest, I don’t hesitate to go ahead with it.

Look, the moment a leader wants to please everyone, that leader will surely fail because in the process of striving to satisfy everybody, he will shy away from confronting the tough decisions which must be taken in the overall interest of the majority. This maxim, I believe, applies to all leaders – in the Public and Private Sectors, as well as in partisan politics.

Finally, perhaps to underscore the overriding interest in writing this book, I like to say if it fails to provoke a reorientation, re-assessment and re-evaluation in the hearts and minds of Niger Delta indigenes towards a rethink in their outlook to activities in the region, including award of contracts, the book has failed. If it fails in drastically reducing the simmering “entitlement mentality” in the region which makes every Tom, Dick and Harry lay claims to everything, thereby obstructing a transparent and accountable system based on meritocracy, then I too have failed. I am under no illusion whatsoever this book will solve all the problems of the region; neither do I pretend it is the Holy Grail or silver bullet that will wipe away all the challenges in the area. That will be unrealistic and asking for too much. But if The Real Enemies of the Niger Delta misses the mark in the area of setting in motion, in the outlooks of indigenes of the region the idea of creating of a new and enabling environment in the Niger Delta region, where indigenes are more focused on the overall interest of the area, where people start holding their leaders to account, and ask probing questions about the utilization of the funds accruing to the region, then it may have failed in one of the most strategic objectives for writing the book. Notwithstanding painstaking efforts made in the drive for data, especially by friends assisting with research work, their primacy on accuracy of materials, notwithstanding efforts I put in pulling all these together to achieve meaning, if there are any errors of any kind in the book, I accept full responsibilities. Just as I accept responsibility for misrepresentation of facts, if any.

I hope stakeholders in the Niger Delta region especially development specialists, practitioners and everyone interested in the region as well as leaders, aspiring leaders and youths generally, find in this book juicy revelations and useful information regarding the region on one hand, and wisdom nuggets and leadership secrets on the other. If I have achieved this, then the combined years of toil, rigour and hard work weaving this piece together by everyone that contributed in one way or the other, would have been worthwhile. Regarding the slices-of-life experiences, visual metaphors and stories I used from my odyssey in both the Private and Public Sectors, I tried to be as objective and dispassionate as humanly possible because the objective was to achieve shared meaning and shared understanding, in the hope and belief these personal life experiences will guide and inspire readers, especially those currently in similar positions around the world.

It is my fervent hope indigenes of the region and indeed all Nigerians open their minds and take ownership of the ideas canvassed in this book particularly that of paradigm shift in the Niger Delta region and Nigeria at large, and re-examine themselves profoundly with a view to taking action to correct the mistakes of the past. That is the only way a critical mass of Niger Delta indigenes will achieve meaningful and transformational change in the region. It is my sincere hope everyone who peruses The Real Enemies of the Niger Delta will be intimately and objectively informed about the politics and intrigues of the 13% Derivation fund in the oil producing states of the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, but beyond that, will also be overwhelmingly enthralled, thrilled and empowered.

Engr. (Dr.) Emmanuel Audu-Ohwavborua (FNSE, FNIHE,PMP)
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