Friday, 24 May 2013
Their Excellencies E.G. Jonathan And H. S. Dickson Should Not Bury Gen. Andrew O. Azazi In Yenagoa
I hold that Nigeria is on trial again, but the nation seems not to understand her sign or time.
A Governor from the North and a General from the South died together after mourning the death of an elderly Bayelsa State. 'Come and join me on board', the General beckoned to the Governor -traveling through oil-filled land without roads, served by innocent dutiful officers and aids.
Together they walked, talked, communed. Together they died, their blood mingled never to be separated: splashed upon trees, grass, soil, and waters never to be recovered. The smoke from their burning skin ascended up to the skies as eternal testimony: because there were no roads, no bridges across Niger Delta tributaries. This is a great testimony against a Nation.
But it is reported that the General would be buried in the nearest available space, rather than buried in his own hometown which he greatly loved, and where he would have preferred to be laid, because there are no roads and bridges!
He comes from Peretorugbene, a major oil producing community. Most oil companies' barges traveling from Warri to Port-Harcourt would stop, rest and pass the night at this community. From the resources of this community and sister communities across Niger Delta roads and bridges were built in Lagos and other cities across Nigeria in the 70s, Abuja in the 80s and 90s, and a New City within Abuja is commissioned in 2012...
But Peretorugbene could not be accessed by road in 2012!
This community not only contributed to Nigeria's financial wealth from the oil beneath her soil, but also a son from within her womb, who has served the nation in every capacity imaginable of a General, but forcefully taking over the reign of power undemocratically. There was another Brigadier General Enai, from the same community, a WWII veteran, this is in addition to medical doctors, many barristers, company executives, and other personnel.
Developmental facilities within the Community by which these men and women were raised were mainly by self-efforts: Two Primary Schools, One Secondary School, One Comprehensive Health Centre, Diesel-fed electrification, etc.
The Federal Government has presence in form of an OMPADEC built bungalow as a doctor’s residence but which the floor was submerged by flood before it could ever be inhabited. OMPADEC also sand-filled about 100meters of land to extend habitable portion of the community. There is also a Shell Petroleum Development Corporation built science laboratory, but which the community had to agree to co-sponsor in form of financing accommodation for NYSC science teachers sent by SPDC before it could take off in 1997!
If it were within their financial capacity, Peretorugbene would have linked herself to the world by roads and bridges. And would General Owoye Azazi be laid in Yenagoa because the nation could not afford to give back a little to the community who has joined others to carry the financial burden of the nation for about five decades?
No! He must be carried to Peretorugbene by a road, and be laid to rest.
Because in Yenagoa, Lagos, Port-Harcourt, Abuja or elsewhere his soul, his blood, and that of his very last friend, Yakowa, and the other four witnesses would forever cry to God the Almighty against the nation Nigeria. And no government would succeed, nor Nigeria progress until the evil is reconciled. For God has given to his community that which should make his final journey easy, but for a nation which takes the resource and takes no diligence to give back.
He must be kept safe somewhere until the roads and bridges are completed for the journey. There must be bridges like the Third Mainland's of Lagos crisscrossing the Niger Delta creeks to make the commute of these benevolent people comfortable like those of Lagos, Abuja, Sokoto, Maiduguri, Onitsha, Ibadan etc.
It is not because of him as an individual, but because of Niger Delta communities as of necessity, belatedly. It is an urgent national moral imperative.
There may be some in government (and outside) who would want to work against this, and laid the blame at the step of Niger Delta State governments, forgetting that major roads and bridges in Nigeria were not built by respective States. Or they want to follow the steps of those who hinder Mark/Ekweremadu Senate from increasing allocation to Niger Delta after leading the whole Senate to visit these creeks in two companies in October 2007, and seeing first-hand the utter neglect of the region, to say the least! One of the arrowheads of antagonism then, and an oratorical Federal Government Secretary went to Port-Harcourt and delivered a message thus killing the move. But the Almighty God is greater than men, and it is He who rules in the affairs of men.....! The government then had been duly informed.
Owoye Azazi is, doubly, a Prince of the Niger: born along the Niger tributaries, and a defender of Nigeria in , in uniform and out of uniform!
Would anyone now want to block this move!
But President Jonathan and Governor Dickson should read the sign, understand the time, and heed the divine writing. It is not nepotism, but roads, bridges and restitution-due to develop a nation's greatness.
The time is now! They should not put their hands in pockets and look the other way!
Rotimi Oyetunji, formerly a NYSC corp member, served in Bayelsa State.
The views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the editorial policy of SaharaReporters