Why Niger Delta youths must be engaged in agriculture

        The world is currently changing drastically in the wake of the forecasted consequences of climate change coercing patriotic and far-sighted leaders around the world into thinking outside the box and keeping their minds on setting up an array of long-term strategic plans of prosperous future for even their unborn generations since the current bragging money-spinning days of crude oil are noticeably numbered.

         Those that have over the years been squandering the 13 percent derivation fund being allocated to the Niger Delta region should be held accountable. These unpatriotic and egoistic leaders have stunted the development of the oil producing region far and shattered the hope of the underprivileged citizens of the region of becoming the second Dubai in the African continent. The creation of the Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, in 2000 had rekindled the hope of the impoverished people of the region of being the most developed region in the country and rescue it from wide-ranging environmental hazards that made their fertile soil barren. 

        The current mesmerizing technological march of a dazzling array of renewable energy sources, especially solar energy, is sounding the alarm for the NDDC officials to mend their ways and stop turning a blind eye to the issue of environmental protection across the region as it may be subjected to immense negative consequences and abandonment when global attention shift away from fossil fuels in the wake of some international treaties aiming to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and human-made CO2 emissions so as to mitigate global warming. Even last year, the Nigeria Natural Resource Charter (NNRC) raised the alarm about losing agricultural land across the region and the need for the NDDC to swiftly resuscitate barren land of the Niger Delta region with a view to embracing agriculture since the days of oil are numbered. 

    It is palpable that agriculture is fundamental to every nation’s prosperity, security and sovereignty. The NDDC should be true patriotic and visionary leaders by prioritising and looking upon agriculture as their new oil sector and ultimately take the entire region back to this compelling long-term lucrative sector. The fastest-growing population of our country and the spellbinding march of an impressive array of renewable energy sources show that agriculture will be the only and preeminent option for the region’s survival and economic diversification to replace the oil which will definitely be an outmoded commodity sooner than later.

       I therefore, wish to draw the attention of the NDDC to the fact that if the biggest oil producers or Gulf nations spare no effort to attain scientific research capable of turning their desert sand or areas into arable farmlands with the aim of boosting food security to bring an end of being giant consumers of the EU’s agricultural exports and diversify their economy from unstable market of the crude oil, the NDDC has no reason for not replicating those Gulf nations to feed themselves and save their younger generations.

      If a rich country like UAE whose population is 9.99 million is going all out to turn some of its desert land or areas into farmlands scientifically with a view to achieving food security or feeding themselves, the nine states of the Niger Delta, whose population is more than 30 million, must resuscitate their yesteryears’’ mainstay of agrarian economy in order to feed themselves, create even man-made dams and embrace dry-season farming.

       The ongoing N65,000 monthly stipend and N150,000 annual house rent allowances is utterly ephemeral, but to be frank, it will be indeed a very good idea to massively engage young men and women of the Niger Delta region in dry-season commercial farming as it will be an unmatched international trade, enhancing nation’s revenue and an important part of the survival of societies, communities and nations in the future.

        In fact, our Lord neither sleeps nor slumbers, he watches over how our dear brothers and sisters have being treated roughly and victimized by ungodly leaders across the Niger Delta region whose actions are quite analogous to those adherents of agnosticism or nihilism. The God of the heaven and the earth, who doesn’t doze or ever get drowsy, is absolutely enraged by those egoistical and profligate leaders who are not replicating patriotic and self-sacrificing leaders of other oil producing nations by planning for even their unborn generations like those of UAE.

        I will conclude by harking back to an Indian geneticist and administrator, who played a vital role in fostering India’s Green Revolution, Mr. Mankombu Sambasiran Swaminathan. He said,” If agriculture goes wrong, nothing else will have a chance to go right”. The younger generations can only write the names of the NDDC in golden letters if they leave behind a remarkable legacy for them. They will also be proud of the NDDC if they build strategic planning for their prosperous future. It is true that a society, community or country is believed to be socially, politically and economically stable if the agricultural sector is very stable.

Mustapha Baba Azare,

Alkali Musa Street, Azare, Bauchi state,

[email protected]