Crude oil flowing in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria is the root cause of the warfare-like nature of politics in the country, according to Professor Godini Darah, a renowned scholar in Oral Literature, Folklore, and Cultural Sciences, as well as the Chairman of the Pan Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), Delta State chapter.
Speaking at a Niger Delta Town Hall Meeting organized by the National Point and sponsored by the Wole Soyinka Centre for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) and MacArthur Foundation, Prof. Darah advocated for the people of Niger Delta to form their own political party.
He argued that the current political parties are controlled by the oligarchs and aristocrats, not representing the interests of the Niger Delta people.
“We need a structural change in the Niger Delta to ensure accountability in governance. The existing political parties do not belong to us; they further the cause of the oligarchy.
Niger Delta should establish its own political party to protect its interests because no other party will grant the region its rights.
The current parties contribute to the structural oppression of the region. The oil money is the reason our politics are filled with violence and warfare. Politicians are more interested in stealing than developing the Niger Delta,” he asserted.
Prof. Darah also criticized the current structural unitary system in the country, where subnational entities seek handouts from the federal government in Abuja, likening it to a state of slavery.
He called for the restructuring of the federation to ensure resource control. The retired professor from Delta State University (DELSU), Abraka, called on the mainstream media outlets of Niger Delta origin to take the lead in reconstructing the region and freeing it from oppression by setting the agenda for politicians.
He emphasized the importance of the media focusing on the region’s interests and noted that the image of the Niger Delta should be presented positively.