BY Alex Omolu
Ndokwa nation is an ethnic group with unique cultural heritage borne out of sheer love for humanity, discipline and great fear of God irrespective of religious belief (Christian or pagan). Their undiluted folklores are sometime translated into melodious and danceable philosophical music style. The various festivals of these communities are well entertaining and euphemistic which has a trace of originality as a result of their uniqueness. Although some of these festivals need reformation and modernization because of their cultural rite, which demands the killing of native fowl, bird and animal to the gods before they are celebrated or during celebration. This singular act makes it difficult for Christians to participate, so they are gradually fading away by the day because Christians are more dominant in our societies today. Ndokwa nation, which comprises of Ukwuani, Ndowkwa West and Ndokwa East Local Government areas respectively are endowed with abundant mineral, natural and human resources. The esthetic topography clearly shows God’s artistic work and blessing for this society of people. What a place to behold and dwell! All the three local government areas have crude oil deposition. It is on record that Ndokwa East has the largest gas deposition in Nigeria making Nigeria the highest producer of gas in West Africa. She also has enormous farm land for cultivation. We have varieties of agricultural products like cassava, yam, melon, beans, pepper, okra as well as lumbering activities. The gift of rivers, lakes and ponds makes fish farming a common occupation in the area.
However, apart from the mineral and natural resources, God has also blessed this nation with great men, women and vibrant youths. Unfortunately, there is nothing to show that they have all it takes to live a comfortable life. There are no good roads, no electricity and industries. Politically, we are marginalized. One cannot but ask what did the people of Ndokwa nation do? Are we not part of Delta State and Nigeria at large? Are we not contributing to the growth and development of Delta State and to Nigeria through our God given resources? Are we not entitled to equal right, fair treatment and opportunities? If we have not fallen short of these questions, then what is the fault? Why should we be treated with so much neglect? I think that the major problem is bad leadership from the top. Our leaders refused to set good precedence; others are hiding under the pretext of the bad policies of their predecessors or other frivolous reaqsons. It is also a function of bad followership, most people are “YES” followers, they cannot say no to erroneous situations; they are accomplice to crime and bad leadership. Cheap and wicked politicians they are. They take bribe at the detriment of their fellow citizens even their blood brothers. First, we must realize that no one can represent you more than yourself. Therefore, we need a change. We need to stand up and fight for our right. However, this should not be mistaken for physical combat; neither is it any sort of taking to arms or criminality. No. We don’t need that, it is only poverty and hardship that makes some misguided elements take to crime. Our Ndokwa citizens are naturally peaceful and hardworking if given the right platform.
Having said that, I think it is pertinent for us to retrace our steps, which requires us to come together as one people of great origin to dialogue and seek the way forward to re-position our great nation for growth and sustainable development, to set an unbeatable and unmatchable standard for Ndokwa nation; to make Ndokwa nation the most hospitable and best tourist center in Nigeria and Africa as a whole; to make the award of scholarship to indigent students a tradition. How can these fundamental issues be achieved? It is not an easy task to contend with, though, nothing good comes easy they say. They can be achieved if you and I could come together to set objectives and goals for ourselves. You must not too rich to help the basic thing is the “WILL” to give.
Ndokwa nation, have great men and women including youths who are highly educated and enlightened, they should come out in numbers with great zeal to make a change. I am not oblivious of the fact that there are existing associations but most of them are either formed to get political backup or to share the national cake. Only few were formed to address the needs of Ndokwa nation. We have great business moguls, politicians, engineers, doctors, lawyers, judges and professors in various fields of study, but only a few are interested and committed to the development of our great nation. Others are nonchalant because they have acquired enough money for themselves and their families. But a man who cannot affect the lives of others is a greedy man and does not have a good place in history. In the light of this, it is imperative for all meaning ndokwa sons and daughters to come out with sincerity of heart so that this great nation will be repositioned for a better tomorrow for you and I and the upcoming leaders of tomorrow.
There should be no dichotomy; those communities that are hosting oil companies should allow their other Ndokwa citizens to work or benefit from the compensation that is paid for their operation, this because the effect of the environmental degradation is felt by all neighboring villages. There should be no communal war, no politics of bitterness and greed. What we need in Ndokwa nation is security, peace, development, scholarship for our youths and skill acquisition programmes. Fertilizer and modern farm inputs for our farmers, Constant electricity, and good road network in the three local governments. Our politicians can do this; public spirited individuals can also be very handy.
To achieve these, we need unity and commitment.
In my humble opinion, there should be annual “NDOKWA NATIONS DAY” that is devoid of traditional rite or ritual, but colourful and activity packed celebration, which will be a good forum to discuss the future of Ndokwa nation, and will be celebrated annually by the three local government areas either rotationally to be hosted by the hosting local government area, or celebrated simultaneously in each of the three local governments areas.
• The various associations should be reformed so that our politicians, who can effectively represent us, have to come up with clear manifestoes that will reflect the aspiration of the people. Individuals who have the interest of the people should be voted into offices rather than voting political party or faceless politicians
• Reward system, should be adopted to immortalized and reward both past and current leaders who have impacted positively in the lives of our Ndokwa citizens. This should be handled by men and women of high integrity, to be selected from the three local government areas. There should also be selected delegates who from time to time will meet with the various reformed organizations and politically elected representatives to make our rightful demands from government, both at the state and federal levels through due process.
• Well meaning individuals should give scholarship to our citizens to encourage education in our society, in this way those who have benefited and are successful will in turn give others. Gradually it will become a culture in Ndokwa nation.
• Cultural dancing competition and other exhibitions should be showcased on that day.
• Football teams should be formed in all three local government areas where tournaments will be organized among the teams annually. This will further strengthen our unity and the love we share and profess and development will be felt in the society.