Momoh and the Burden of Regional Development
By Chief Otupeikumo Douere
Hon. Engr. Abubakar Momoh, the Minister of Niger Delta Development, embarked on a transformative journey about a month ago to address the enduring challenges that have long plagued the Niger Delta region. His mission was clear: garner support for the development of this oil-rich region and combat the persistent issue of oil theft.
During this period, Minister Momoh diligently traversed several states within the Niger Delta region, including Rivers, Bayelsa, Cross River, Akwa Ibom, Ondo, Edo, and Delta States. These visits were not mere formalities but integral to a comprehensive strategy designed to engage with local communities and their leaders.
At the heart of Momoh’s efforts lies a vision of collective development for the Niger Delta, underpinned by key objectives. These include promoting inclusive economic growth, ensuring shared prosperity among the region’s residents, optimizing abundant resources, increasing revenue generation, enhancing overall well-being, and ultimately driving greater regional development.
To achieve these ambitious goals, Momoh actively engaged key stakeholders in the region, including the governors of the nine oil-producing states, influential figures such as former President Goodluck Jonathan, respected traditional rulers, Elder statesman Chief E.K. Clark, former Niger Delta militant leader Government Ekpemupolo (Tompolo), and former Niger Delta militant leader Alhaji Mujahid Asari Dokubo, among others. Their collective expertise, influence, and support are indispensable in realizing the vision of a thriving Niger Delta region.
The Minister embodies an approach characterized by proactivity, inclusivity, and strategic thinking. His tenure at the helm of this critical ministry has been marked by a series of deliberate actions and principles shaping the region’s future in profound ways.
From the outset, Minister Momoh’s commitment to proactivity has been evident. He wasted no time in addressing the longstanding issues afflicting the Niger Delta region. Instead of allowing problems to persist, he initiated a comprehensive plan to combat issues like oil theft and the pervasive specter of underdevelopment, driven by a sense of urgency.
Inclusivity is another fundamental aspect of Minister Momoh’s approach. He recognizes that the Niger Delta’s challenges are multifaceted and intricate. To effectively address these challenges, he prioritized the involvement of all relevant stakeholders, from state governors to influential figures and traditional rulers. This inclusivity ensures a broad spectrum of perspectives and expertise when formulating policies and strategies for regional development.
The Minister’s strategic acumen is especially evident in his extensive visits to various states within the Niger Delta region. These visits are not superficial; they represent a hands-on approach to problem-solving. They enable him to gain firsthand insights into specific challenges faced by each state and engage directly with local communities, providing a profound understanding of the region’s needs.
Perhaps the most remarkable aspect of Minister Momoh’s approach is his vision for collective development. He does not see the Niger Delta’s problems in isolation but envisions a future where the entire region thrives together. His broader perspective aims to foster economic growth, ensure shared prosperity among the region’s residents, and drive overall regional progress.
Resource optimization is a vital component of this vision. Minister Momoh’s focus on managing the region’s resources efficiently and ethically reflects his commitment to sustainable development, seeking to enhance revenue generation for the well-being of the Niger Delta’s residents.
Momoh’s engagement with influential figures, such as former President Goodluck Jonathan and Chief E.K. Clark, demonstrates his readiness to leverage their experience and influence for the benefit of the Niger Delta region. This collaborative spirit underscores his dedication to finding comprehensive solutions to the complex challenges facing the region.
Momoh’s approach as the Minister of Niger Delta Development blends proactive leadership with a strategic vision for regional development. His commitment to inclusivity and collaboration sends a clear message: he is unwavering in his pursuit of comprehensive solutions to the multifaceted challenges confronting the Niger Delta. His actions are shaping a brighter future for this vital region of Nigeria, inspiring hope that, despite significant challenges, the Niger Delta’s path to progress is attainable through dedicated leadership and collaborative efforts.
Chief Douere is the National President of the Oil and Gas Producing State of Nigeria.