Oborevwori laments impact of environmental decay on South-South

Oborevwori laments impact of environmental decay on South-South

Delta Governor, Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori (right),
exchanging pleasantries with the Chairman, South-South Monarchs Forum, His Majesty, King Dr. Edmund Daukoru (2nd left), Chairman, Delta State Council of Traditional Rulers and Vice Chairman South-South Monarchs Forum, His Royal Majesty, Orhue the I, Orodje of Okpe Kingdom (left) and His Royal Majesty, Aliyu Danesi Oba Idanesi II, Aidonogie of South Ibie Kingdom, Edo State (2nd right) while the Obi of Ubulu-Unor and the 2nd Vice Chairman, Delta State Traditional Rulers Council in Aniocha South LGA, HRM, Obi Henry Kikachukwu ( right) looks on at the 13th Extra- Ordinary General Assembly of the South-South Monarchs Forum at Government House, Asaba on Tuesday. Pix: JIBUNOR SAMUEL

Delta State Governor, Rt Hon Sheriff Oborevwori, Tuesday, identified receding coastlines, declining aquaculture and extreme weather conditions as major challenges hindering the sustainable development of the South-South region of Nigeria.

Governor Oborevwori, who stated this at the 13th Extraordinary General Assembly of the Forum of Monarchs in the South-South Region at the Unity Hall, Government House, Asaba, with theme “Strengthening Stakeholder Collaboration for the Development of the South-South Region: The Role of the Traditional Institution.”, said that environmental decay impacts negatively on the ecosystem.

While commending the monarchs for choosing Asaba for the meeting, Governor Oborevwori charged them to remain pillars of integrity and fairness, mediating conflicts and upholding justice in their various domains without partiality.

The Governor said: “There is no doubt that you occupy a unique and very critical place in governance. Today, we gather to recognize the pivotal role our traditional rulers play in the fabric of our community. You are the custodians of our rich heritage and the guardians of our cultural values.

“As we face the challenges of the modern world, you are uniquely positioned to bridge the gap between the communities and the government.  As our traditional rulers, you are to foster unity in diversity.

“As you meet for this auspicious occasion, I urge you to encourage your subjects to embrace education and innovation, while preserving our invaluable traditions.

“I further ask that you help to promote inclusiveness, ensuring that every voice is heard and every individual is valued.  Work closely with the government and private organisations to bring developmental projects to your regions, especially in infrastructure, healthcare and education.

“One of the major challenges of development we face in the South-South region of this country is that of environmental decay.  It impacts negatively on our ecosystem. This is evident in our receding coastlines, declining aquaculture and extreme weather conditions.

“I commend you for the vital roles you play in developmental strategies and policies through mobilization. I am aware that these days, you have perfected the utilization of Alternative Dispute Resolution methods to avoid the longer process of litigation.

“Given the essential roles you play, I advocate that the traditional institution deserve specific mention and functions in our Constitution. You deserve it.”

President of the Senate, Senator Godswill Akpabio, who was represented by Senator Joel Onowakpo-Thomas, described the meeting as timely and called on government at all levels, politicians and other stakeholders from the region to synergise with traditional rulers in finding effective solutions to the challenges bedevilling the area.

On his part, the Senator representing Delta Central at the National Assembly, Senator Ede Dafinone, said the time was ripe for all sons and daughters of the South South to contribute their quota towards fast-tracking the all- round development of the region.

In his goodwill message, the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Chief Samuel Ogbuku, who gave an overview of the giant strides of the Commission, disclosed that a lot of development was going on in different states under the NDDC mandate area, pointing out that data of youths was being compiled to formulate a template that would subsequently empower them.

Chief Ogbuku, therefore, urged the people in the region to key into the policy framework of the Commission so that they could benefit from its laudable initiatives.

In his remarks, the Minister of State for Petroleum, Senator Heineken Lokpobiri, said there was an urgent need to involve traditional rulers in peace building, especially in the fight against oil theft, illegal bunkering and unrest in the region, stressing that increased oil production would bring more resources into the region for its development.

On his part, Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Senator George Akume, who was represented by Senator Jack Tilley-Gyado, advocated for constitutional roles for traditional rulers in the country so as to tackle the rising insecurity and at the same time, attract more sustainable development to their domains.

Also speaking, the Chairman, South South Monarchs Forum, King Dr. Edmund Daukoru, Ningi XII, Amanyanabo of Nembe Kingdom, said the theme of this year’s meeting was on development in all its ramifications, noting that Nigeria’s development gaps were due primarily to lack of cooperation and synergy between stakeholders.

He said there was lack of consultation with traditional institutions by almost all tiers of government, adding that the traditional institution had been increasingly marginalised with each constitutional amendment “to the point where we are now entirely becoming out of the purview of the Constitution of the land we once undisputably led.”

Earlier in his welcome address, Chairman of Delta State Traditional Rulers’ Council, Major General Felix Mujakperuo (rtd.) said the vision of the Forum was to cross fertilise ideas on how to address the challenges of insecurity and under-development as well as promote peaceful co-existence.