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A CONDOLENCE LETTER TO AMERICANS: A TALE OF TWO GULFS.

Professor Dr. Emmanuel Omoh Esiemokhai
President of the proposed AFEMAI UNIVERSITY, FUGAR, EDO STATE, NIGERIA.
 Published June 4th, 2010

The collapse of a BP oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico caused a blow-out, which, in the last six weeks, has resulted in a flotilla of oily sludge. Ever since, anger has turned into controversy and controversy into desperation among Americans.

As the bickering got bitter, the waters of the Gulf of Mexico became murky, toxic and deadly to aquatic life.

From the trend of the lively debates that have ensued, one gets the impression that some biased Americans expect their President to be Superman, a Voo-doo magician, who would have just conjured the damned thing away.

Since the initial operational strategy of BP failed as a result of the complicated and formidable nature of the operation, the Tea Party and other fringe groups of American racists, haters of fellow human beings, trivialized some disturbing discrepancies in the whole episode. It is nauseating.

The unprecedented environmental disaster in the Gulf of Mexico is on all fours with the four decades old environmental catastrophe in the Gulf of Guinea, especially in Nigeria’s Niger Delta.

While the American President Barack Obama has been handling the oil spill, with automatic alacrity and visible concern, the successive Nigerian leaders treated the disastrous events in the Niger Delta, with benign neglect. Yet, they were eager to distribute the funds from oil, with enthusiasm.

In 1960, I was an Accounts Clerk at the Nigerian Ports Authority in Portharcourt, now the capital of Rivers State. It is no longer the “Garden City”, as a result of the infrastructural decay.

The present Governor, who we thought was going to perform as a result of his passionate appeal at the courts, seems to have been engaged in ego trip, newspaper declarations of wonderful achievements, gaieties and social festivities that bother on reckless and wasteful spending.

As an Accounts Clerk, I used to travel by the NPA boats, to pay dock workers in Abonema, Degema and other hinterland ports. During my visits, I would see Shell D’Arcy ships loaded with the black gold sailing to Europe.

In September, 1960, I travelled by the ship “SS TARKWA” from Portharcourt to Fourabay College, the University College of Sierra Leone. We saw miles of oil floating on the ocean.

In 1990, I re-visited Portharcourt and took an extensive tour to the creeks of Rivers and Bayelsa States. I had read Dr. Ken Saro Wiwa’s articles and speeches on the ecological disasters in the region.

It will remain an indelible blot on the conscience of our “dealers” that as a result of Ken’s displeasure with the ecological damage of his homeland, he was made to pay the supreme price, a terrible execution, ordered by a deranged dictator, with the oil company’s tacit support.

If any of our “leaders” had shown minimum concern for the plight of the people of the Niger Delta since 1960, we would not have frittered away scare resources in fighting “militants”.

America is a unique country. Anything that happens to America receives immediate and full attention. We have had several governments in Nigeria in the last sixty years. The conditions of the people in the Niger Delta, has grown progressively worse, with occasional hand-outs to vocal leaders by the government and the oil companies.

Recently, the officer-in-charge of regulating the Louisiana spill has been fired for her “cozy relations” with the people she was supposed to supervise.

All our former oil ministers can write learnedly on the awesome ability of oil companies to smoothen their way with diamonds.

Jeff Koinange’s flawed report on the Niger Delta, at least gave an insight into the Niger Delta ecological catstrophe.Nigerian journalists have been accused of being afflicted by the brown envelope syndrome, which is why the on-going disaster in the Niger Delta can not be addressed by purchasable libertines.

There is evidence that the Americans regard the political mal-contents in the Niger Delta, as terrorists. There are usually different strokes for different people, but history does repeat itself, in ways that are manifestly didactic.

Anti-Obama hecklers in America led by the fringe elements of American politics, racists, haters of men, who are from the Universe of Fallen angels, now associate the President with every imaginable accusation and unfounded criticisms as if Obama caused the spill in the first place.

No matter how virulent these criticisms remain, the whole episode was and is an unforeseen event and should be regarded as such.

The Tea Party of America is a collection of political dissidents, who are morbidly opposed to any idea which does not agree with their out-dated republican ethos. I recommend that every member of the Tea Party of America should order a well-baked, brown, Obama cake to go with their tea.

Mrs. Sarah Palin, the former Alaskan Governor, has turned pale with hate and irremediable posturing. I bet she will soon lose her relevance and join the rank of discredited agitators.

The present tragedy in the Gulf of Mexico, throws more light on the tragedy of the Niger Delta, in the Gulf of Guinea.

The oil companies, it is true, provide jobs for many citizens. In many cases, they are well-paid in order for the workers to work harder and more dangerously.

Those who defend their territories from environmental pollution are not terrorists. They should not be clubbed to death for opposing injustice.

At BOSAS INTERNATIONAL LAW BUREAU, Abuja last week, we discussed the international legal implications of the case between a sovereign state and an international corporate entity. We arrived at the conclusion that the international responsibility of BP is beyond dispute.

With the crisis in the capitalist economy enveloping Greece, Spain, Portugal and other states, the multi-nationals like banks and oil companies, which lay the golden eggs, can lest afford to be in trouble. Has the decline of the West become a reality?

Resources available to the United States Government are not as buoyant as they used to be. So, a radical review of US foreign policy is necessary.

Until and unless the United States policy-makers realistically and coolly understand and accept the incorrigible nature of 12th century feudalist and anachronistic systems in those states they aspire to democratize, they will continue to fritter away scare resources and the precious lives of their young soldiers in “MISSIONS IMPOSSIBLE.”

No matter how well-meaning American governments are in their world civilization campaign, they cannot hurry the sun rise nor delay the sun-set.

Like all things on planet EARTH, this oil spill will pass no matter how long it will last.

Professor Dr. Emmanuel Omoh Esiemokhai is the President of the proposed AFEMAI UNIVERSITY, FUGAR, Edo State, Nigeria.
 



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