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09.03.2009 Feature Article

Lai Mohammed: Enemy To Niger Delta Region’s Development?

That the National body of the Action Congress (AC) demands Anenih removed as NPA Chair, is a clarion call in futility. What is AC talking about? Instead of remove Anenih as the Chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA) over his prescription for the perennial congestion at the Lagos ports, the AC should consider removing its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed. I expressed shock reading the statement in the Nigerian dailies, a statement issued in Abuja recently by Lai Mohammed; the party expressed shock at Anenih's statement that the solution to the congestion lies in diverting incoming ships to other ports outside Lagos, especially Port Harcourt and Warri?

Hear Lai Mohammed: "In case Anenih does not know, ship owners determine where they send their ships, depending on the destination of their cargoes. Therefore, you can't compel a ship to sail to just any port. If you do, they (ship owners) simply may refuse to go to those ports, with unimaginable consequences for our economy…Also, Anenih may need to be educated that even if the ships agree to sail to those ports, all goods coming into Nigeria will attract what is called 'diversion charge', which will eventually be passed on to the common man…In any case, what is the guarantee that the ports in Port Harcourt and Warri will have enough equipment to handle the incoming ships, when Lagos ports doesn't even have such capability - a situation that helped trigger the congestion in the first instance? Do the shipping companies have enough staffers in place at those ports to handle their ships? Has Anenih thought about the extra costs that will be involved in transporting millions of containers discharged in Port Harcourt or Warri to Lagos, which is the nation's economic capital? What about the 'tolls' to be paid to the police at the various checkpoints along the way as the containers make their way to Lagos? Who will bear the extra costs?''

Reading the above statement credited to Lai Mohammed, it is imperative to see a man as Lai as an agent of monopoly and likes the much centralization of the authorities of the Nigerian state to the selfish interest of a people like Lai. The question that came into my mind when I read that was, is the implementation of the new ports in Nigeria as stated above going to be done with AC or Lai Mohammed's resources? I don't think it is. And becoming a Pub. Sec. of a party does is not achieved by becoming relevant by the single-act of miscalculating on national projects before throwing its weights on them, as Lai has exhibited his inglorious arrogance to the public glare for people to laugh at.

Two different things are depicted in the statement of Lai Mohammed as aforementioned. One, Lai mind is the mind of a man who is acting on sentiment. Two, is a man who is acting on a wrong track to be relevant in the position of a AC's Publicity Secretary he lacks the dexterity and sagacity.

Perhaps, Lai had been anxious why the Rivers State Governor, Rt. Hon. Chibuike Amaechi, has challenged the Federal Government to show him one project it has executed in the state in the last 10. Did Amaechi not boasted tha he will do two of such projects? "I challenge the Federal Government to show me one project it has executed in Rivers State in the last 10 years and I will do two of such project," the governor said.

Amaechi, made this assertion with the Nigerian Compass in Lagos after delivering a paper at a public lecture organized by the Lagos State Council of the Nigerian Union of Journalists (NUJ). According to the governor, "oil found in the Niger Delta is a blessing to Nigeria but a curse to the region and people of Niger Delta". And I think people like Lai is happy for this.

I don't think that Anenih was the only person in that statement credited to him, Gov. Amaechi has questioned the raison d'être behind the Federal Government's decision to allow the Port Harcourt, Onne, Calabar and Warri seaports in the zone to go moribund, while concentrating on Lagos which he also said is apparently over congested. Has Amaechi also not said that if the Federal Government does not want to open up those seaports, that it should allow the governments of the Niger Delta to do it?

Lai Mohammed should hear Gov. Amaechi: "You may wonder why the seaports in the Niger Delta are not functional. We have two in Rivers State, added to the Calabar and Warri seaports. But the Federal Government will prefer that importation into the country will be done through the Cotonou or Ghana seaports when the Lagos wharf is over congested. But we the governors of the Niger Delta have decided to assist each other with some capital projects in the zone and if the government does not want to open up the seaports, they should allow us to do it."

Is AC romancing with the Federal Government to the detriment of the Niger Delta people? While the above reportedly statements by Gov. Amaechi and Chief Anenih are on the right track, Lai Mohammed should be ashamed of himself. Perhaps he is against such nice suggestion because it was not going to be built in the North? He better resign from being a Pub. Sec. of AC and apologize to both Anenih and the good people of Niger Delta or playing politics of dichotomy. Hogwash!

Ikenga Igbo writes from Orumba, Anambra State

Ikenga Igbo
Ikenga Igbo, © 2009

This author has authored 3 publications on Modern Ghana. Author column: IkengaIgbo

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