Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Ministry of the Niger Delta

Today's big news is that the President has unveiled a new government entity: the Ministry for the Niger Delta. This could potentially be excellent news for the troubled region. Lots of careful thinking and planning now needs to go into making this new Ministry meaningful, ensuring it has the right vision, people and processes to do its job. The question of what now happens to the Niger Delta Development Commission is critical: does it get dissolved, or does it now sit under the new ministry as a parastatal or even an executive agency? At first glance, there are reasons to be cautiously optimistic at this point. Let's see how it plays out.

For a slightly more pessimistic take on today's announcement, see here.


Red Eyes 3:25 pm  

Unlike the role of the UK Secretary of State representing Northern Ireland interests at Westminster, I do not see the sense of a special ministry of the Niger Delta. They may as well have a federal ministry of the North West. I also feel the existing federal ministry of the FCT is pointless.

Rather I would think it made more sense to have a "federal" ministry of environmental protection and the other developmental and security issues facing the region can then be addressed by other "federal" ministries i.e. a new federal ministry of urban-rural construction etc.

Mr C 6:28 pm  

This development is welcomed Yar'Adua. Hopefully you will soon create the ministry of South west Nigeria and later on Ministry of Omole Estate; that I will like.

But seriously what about the state governments in power in the Niger Delta regions? What is the scope of their responsibilities? If they don't perform, shouldn't they be punished? Aren't we duplicating power here? Or just another ministry of chop chop?

Anonymous,  7:40 pm  

Red-eyes you don't get it, do you? :)

Anonymous,  9:27 pm  

this just makes the niger delta seem more 'other'

Red Eyes 12:11 pm  

@Anonymous 7:40pm why do you love me so much? Creeping in unobtusively behind me! You must be after my toys.

My point is whether there aren't any other progressive ways of appeasing the bloody nihilists?

Nigeria is living a lie as though demanded by propriety. Somehow this lie has to be broken. They should go away with their lies. Their lies should go with them. This is terrifying, always the same endless and inevitable lie which is all the more horrible.

This causes some of us great pain.

Waffarian 12:50 pm  


Anengiyefa 5:41 pm  

'...Aren't we duplicating power here? Or just another ministry of chop chop?'

Mr C, once again you tick all my boxes. Whats the point of such a wasteful exercise? More office buildings to equip, more salaries and allowances to pay, motor vehicles to buy (soon to break down of course for lack of proper maintenance), indeed more money all round... And yet, the supposed beneficiaries of all this, will still be right where they were when it all began.

Its like in Nigeria we have a solution to every problem, yet the problems never seem to get solved. I just tire.

CodLiverOil 5:21 am  

This ministry of the Niger Delta is nothing but grand deception. The fundamental issue is that the oil producing states are demanding a greater proportion of the wealth derived from oil be returned to them. The Obasanjo government and the Yar'adua administration, know what representatives of the Niger Delta want (they have countless forums and committess set up to investigate and canvass opinions on the matter), and yet carry-on with this charade of NDDC this and Niger Delta ministry that.

Until someone in a position of responsibility is brave enough to bight the bullet and agree to the demand, the disarray, mismanagement and now lawlessness and violence will make comfortable homes for themselves in Nigeria.

The only thing I can see that would be an issue is the accountability of the funds. Because to release the 50% of oil revenues derived, would result in a big hemorrhaging of funds on many typically irrelevant on ill-conceived schemes, or even more brazen theft by those who can get their fingers onto the money. However, I'm sure that can be overcome, the big issue though should be addressed first, everything else would be relatively easy.

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