By Onome Oghenetega
The Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse lll, says oil-rich Niger Delta will experience development and peace if leaders of the region unite and collectively work for the good of the area.
He observed that emphasis on personal interest rather than the common good the region was hampering its progress and development in spite of the region’s rich and abundant natural resources.
The Itsekiri monarch, however, called on leaders irrespective of their political and ethnic belongings, to place the interest of the Niger Delta people above self.
Ogiame gave the admonition when the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd) paid him a courtesy visit at his palace in Warri, Delta State.
The traditional ruler posited that leaders from the area must de-emphasize their personal interests and work together to tackle the various challenges facing the region.
“Our heads have been held down for too long. We have always been capable of greatness. The divisions among us have not allowed us attain the greatness we desire”, he said.
He charged Dikio, to use his office to unite people of the region, saying that “once the Niger Delta gets it right it would be easier for Nigeria to also get it right”.
The monarch said the region was blessed with many economic opportunities capable of changing the fortunes of the region’s economy beyond oil and gas.
“All the things that sustained our ancestors are still here, still valid. From palm, cocoa, fish and so on. All we need to do is to use the resources to grow our economy and make life better for our people”, he said.
He pledged the support of his kingdom to the PAP, especially Dikio’s vision of shared prosperity for ex-agitators using his Train, Employ and Mentor scheme.
He said: “In any way we can help to echo that message we will do so. We are here to support and encourage you”.
Earlier, Dikio pointed out many opportunities in the Niger Delta but harnessing them depended on peace.
He explained that the importance of Warri and the historical facts about the city and the kingdom compelled PAP to host a summit that would showcase the economic potential of the region
“We have chosen the path of economic prosperity and we feel that there was no better place to start than the great city of Warri”, Dikio said.
He also congratulated the Itsekiri king on his ascension to the ancient throne and expressed optimism that the kingdom under him would inspire others.