On the windy day in oloibiri in1956 when geologists first struck crude oil and they were so happy they played football with the villagers in oloibire,everybody would have thought that oloibiri and the Niger delay region in no time would be a cynosure of all eyes very soon.but little did they know that the story would be different.The high hopes and expectations that heralded that day has been dashed by consistent in attention to the plights of the people?
The increasing question asked is what is wrong with the Niger delta and how we can solve it.
At first we must understand the origin of the problem.in understanding this there are many angles ranging from bureaucracy to the PIB bills to lack of regulation in the sector and to too much demands by the government
What the oil majors claim?
The oil majors have always claimed that the reason they have not developed the region is that most of the partnership they sign with the government cedes all the funds for development of the region to the government SPDC would tell you the same.It has to be understood that the oil majors always operate with a joint venture mechanism with the government.So if the oil majors keeps blaming the government for the dearth of infrastructure then the government should be held accountable because in this joint ventures the government could get as much as 70% in the stake after charges and taxes.so the government must develop a plan which I call the holistic Marshall plan
The Marshall plan for the Niger delta
It is crystal clear that the Niger delta has been plundered as the fishermen cannot fish because of oil spills,the environmental hazards everywhere and the ticking time bomb of insurgency and insurrection hold sway which was ignited by Adaka Borro in the 1960s and now further propelled by the likes of Asari Dukobo.what the government should do is to develop an ecosystem around the Nigeria delta that makes it a hub for the oil industry in the world and my Marshall plan would involve three cardinal points
Education:In making the Niger delta an oil ecosystem the government should work on the education system in the region working in Universities that can effectively provide education in all the subject matter pertaining to the oil industry (currently we do not have any university that deals with Law in the oil and gas sector) Holistic institutions of international repute.which can be done with a good endowment structure the petroleum training institute was basically for the low end artisans in the oil industry.we need to have a university with bias for oil in all the Niger delta states and back them up with training institutes like PTI in every region.
Creation of industries and ancillary products
There are many ancillary products in the oil industry that can generate a lot of revenue ranging from petrochemical hubs to rubber industries to refineries.The government should increase the capacity of refineries by having more refineries at least 3 more refineries with a ramped up capacity this would help boost the productive capacity in the region and boost trade.Also the marine economy should be revived boat making and ship making should be enhanced and hitherto moribund ports like Koko in Warri North should be revisited.If the marine industry alone is developed it could provide 80,000 jobs every year and put in about 2 billion dollars to the Nigerian economy.
Health care of this region is most important this would involve constant sensitization of the populace and developing an holistic health insurance for the people living in the region.The health care policy would ensure that everyone in the area is covered and they pay a highly subsidized monthly or yearly premium which in turn would be used to develop health care and through sensitization we could ramp up the life expectancy in the region.The holistic health care plan would create a mix of a viable social structure and an industrial cutting edge.This would also herald the mosquito eradication program as the Niger delta is prone to mosquito due to its tropical rainforest.
I Believe with this 3 holistic ideas the Niger delta would be a beckon of hope and inspiration to other region.