By Akpos Oghenetega,
The National President of the Historical Society of Nigeria (HSN), Prof. Okpeh O. Okpeh Jr. FHSN has called on operators of the Nigerian state to act fast and address the developmental challenges in the country particularly in the Niger Delta region.
Okpeh said that there was the need to act hastily now that it was salvageable, blaming the deplorable situation on a combination of weak state structure, very poor and bankrupt leadership, a disempowered, traumatized and an almost conquered followership, rising insecurity and collapsed institutions among others.
Okpeh in a Forward to a book titled “History and the Niger Delta: Oil, Politics and Culture,” cautioned the government against further delay as the citizens were losing faith in the nation and its capacity to rise above what he termed ‘self-afflicted afflictions.’
According to him, the Niger Delta, the precarious state of its people and their livelihood represented the many dimensions and phases of the development crises contemporary Nigeria is hemmed in.
He, therefore, challenged “the state and its operators to make haste while the sun is still shinning; for a stitch in time, they say, saves nine.”
The National President of HSN commended the book which is a festschrift published in honour of Prof. Sam o. Aghalinor of the University of Ilorin, for his immeasurable academic and scholarly contribution to the socio-economic, political and educational development of the Niger Delta region, Nigeria and the world at large.
He averred that the Book, “explains the many dimensions of the Nigerian question and its intersections with the struggles for injustice in the operations of the federal system over the years.”
The book is a collection of fifty-seven chapters from scholars researching the oil-bearing Niger Delta and the crisis of development it has continued to face due to sustained crude oil exploration by global oil multinationals and local corporations and the attendant pervasive environmental challenges on the people.
Though a tribute to Aghalino an indigene of Delta State, it chronicles the Niger Deltans as a people, their history and culture as well as the intricacies of politics, resource control and their quest for survival and relevance in the Nigerian polity.
The book is billed for presentation to the public in Asaba on the 21st of October this year under the distinguished chairmanship of Sir Okey Ofili, former Head of Service, Delta State; with the Secretary to the Delta State Government (SSG), Chief Patrick Ukah as the special guest of honour. A former SSG, Comrade Ovuozourie Macaulay is the chief host of the ceremony.