My first time of being to Niger Delta area was when I posted to Abia state to participate in the National youth service corps scheme for one calendar year. I was very excited, given the fact that, the region provides over 80 percent of the total export earnings. The region has been blessed with an abundance of physical and human resources, including the majority of Nigeria’s oil and gas deposits, good agriculture land,extensive forests,excellent fisheries,as well as a large labour force,and a vibrant private sector.
However, the region tremendous potential for economic growth and sustainable development remains unfulfilled due to the poor governance especially among their leaders. After the completion of three weeks registration procedure inside the camp,we (core members) were deployed to the place of primary assignment(PPA), and these enable me to known the state is suffering from the high spate of corruption, poor governance, falling standard of education,insecurity, poverty, high cost of living, non-payment of state allowance to the core member among others.
Sadly, not only abia state but also almost all of the Niger Delta Region are suffering from these endemic problems. These due to the fact that I was able to visit almost all of the region. Maybe these led about 30 percent of youth core members to apply for the relocation for the first instance, which including both mr and miss NYSC in the state.
One of the problems in the region, is the corruption. Most of the political leadership in the region are corrupt and these has serious implication for development in the area. The impact of the special allocation to the region is not so felt by the people, because of corruption among its leaders. In May 2013, Bayelsa state with 8 local Government received #50.4 billion while Lagos state with 20 local Government, and Kano state with 44 local Government received #30 billion and #34.5billion respectively.
Furthermore,the high spate of corruption among their leaders led the region to be highly unstable,especially among their youth. Most of their youth engage in criminal activities such as kidnapping, piracy, cultist, thugery and oil theft or bunkering. Long years of neglect by their leaders have brought conflict, and fostened a siege mentality specifically among youths who feel they are condemned to a future without hope, and see only conflict as a strategy to escape deprivation.
Today, the region in spite of its special allocation and endowement remains a region whose people are facing with declining economic performance, leading to rise unemployment, educationally backward, water borne disease, abject poverty, poor electrification, high risk/unstable region,oil spillage and poor industry practices.