United Ijaw * Welcome to United Ijaw on the web. Our preference is national self determination, the independence of Ijawnation as a Sovereign State. A state that promotes sustainable economic and social development, democratic principles, liberty, free enterprise, equal rights and justice. This is our story, this is our struggle. **** On Kaiama Declaration We Stand **** United Nations Under Secretary-General, Dr. Antonio Maria Costa, in Abuja condemned the theft of Nigeria's assets by past corrupt leaders. He said that kleptomaniac leaders stole more than 400 billion dollars from the Nigerian treasury between 1960 and 1999. **** IJAWNATION THINK! THINK. **** Almost $170 billion of the country’s wealth disappeared and ended in the private accounts of individuals between 1999 and 2003 alone... Priye Torulagha ****Nigeria has failed Niger Delta – Nnamani **** Resource Control: Niger-Delta governors are traitors – Evah **** Only the fear of a volcanic social eruption from below can stop barbaric behaviour by holders of political power – Gani Fawehinmi ***** “ if the Confab and Nigerians are not willing to heed to Resource Control, they will take it by force” - Oronto Douglas We Dare To Be Different.
Population: 14,833,421
Friday, June 15, 2001

Priye S. Torulagha  (Ph.D., MHR)


IZon Otu!  In light of what is going on in Bayelsa State, it is most appropriate to resubmit this article that was written earlier.  This writer is convinced that if Bayelsa State, the Ijaw nation, the Niger Delta and Nigeria are to move forward politically, economically, and socially, drastic steps must be taken to eliminate the notion that government service is strictly for personal enrichment, hence, the extreme case of corruption in Nigeria.  Although the article is focused on Bayelsa State and the Ijaw nation, the political model is applicable to any Nigerian state and group.

This article is divided into three parts. Part one deals with political development, part two focuses on infrastructural development, and part three concentrates on strategic considerations.
Bayelsa and Rivers states are the products of a long drawn-out political and military struggle initiated by Izon and other minority groups to free themselves from the cluthces of Wazobianism.  During the different phases of the struggle, thousands of Izon citizens lost their lives, just as the Ogonis, Isokos, Itsekiris, Ibibios, Urhobos, etc.

This being the case, Bayelsa State should endeavour to avoid making the kinds of mistakes that occurred in the Rivers State.  For instance, thousands of Izons and other minorities joined the war effort to liberate the Rivers State during the civil war.  Most of the fighters came from middle and lower socioeconomic strata of society.  Yet, the fruits of victory mostly benefitted the children and families of the elites who had positioned themselves as the intermediaries between the Rivers State and the federal government.

Therefore, many of the people who actually fought did not and have never benefitted from the state while the elites and their children benefitted gargantuanly and thus turned themselves into a kind of an aristocratic class.  It is not a secret that some of the elites joined forces with the national powerhouses to loot the oil wealth, at the expense of the masses.

The leaderlessness and the unorganized nature of the Izon struggle led to the formation of the Izon National Congress (INC).  The aimlesssness and the toothlessness of the struggle also led to the formation of the Izon Youth Council (IYC).  The INC tends to represent the upper echelon of the ethnic group while the IYC tends to represent the aspirations of the youths.  The INC presents a more diplomatic and cautious political front in attempting to unify the ethnic group and representing it in all national and diplomatic efforts.  The IYC presents a more intellectualized political, and militant front.  The two organizations have done so much to streamline the goals and objectives of the ethnic group.

                PART 1

Bayelsa should not adopt the Nigerian models of political,economic, educational, cultural, and infrastructuraL development.  It should work feverishly to design other ways of doing business if it really wants to avoid political and economic stagnation and massive corrutption. Bayelsa should also deviate from the Western-inspired models of democratic politics which have been the mainstay of Nigerian politics. Of course, Western models predominate the African continent.  The necessity for deviation are many and far-reaching.

First, the people of Bayelsa have deep-rooted traditional political systems that have existed for centuries.  These systems are very functional, vibrant, adaptable, and dynamic.

Second, the traditional cultures of Izonland are based on communalism. This means that the interest of the community comes before the interest of the individual. However, within the community, individual rights are guaranteed as far as those rights do not wholesomely violate or contradict communal interests.  In other words, individual interests cannot supercede communal interests.  This means that individuals must live within the bounds of communal interests.

Third, the communal culture extols collective responsibility.  This means that individuals are obligated to work toward the achievement of common group goals.  In the event of a conflict, everyone must join, one way or another, to fight or prevent an outside entity or force from destabilizing the homeland.

Fourth, Bayelsa has natural political divides since the communities are subdivided into extended families, compounds, quarters, villages, towns, subclans, clans, and the ethnic group.  Generally, Izon people live according to these subdivisions.  The ethnic group is at the top of the pyramid.  Loyalty to the (wari otu)family is the first order of political socialization.  This is followed by loyalty to the biri (quarter), then the ama (village or town), then the ibe (subclan or clan), and finally the Izon Ibe (ethnic nation).  The head or chief (ibedaowei)of the subclan or clan is considered both spiritually and politically superior to the head or chief (amadaowei, amananaowei, amananabo etc,)of the village or the town. The pyramidal segmentation of political authority, starting from the base (the family) to the top of the pyramid is closely followed by the traditional religion (Ancestralism/Deitism) or (Orukarism).  This means that the family oriented deities are at the base of the religious pyramid, followed by the village and town deities, and ending with the clan deities who are near the top of the pyramid.  The village and town deities are in the middle of the pyramid.  The clan dieties are much more spiritually charged and thus more venerated by the people.  God is at the very top of the pyramid.

Under the traditional political system, which is always influenced by the traditional religion, the rotational method of succession is much more prevalent in Izonland.  Under this arrangement, leadership is rotated among various ruling houses (waris or biris or ogbos or amas), depending on the level of political authority.  This means that when a ruler dies, the throne passes to the next line of succession, which, in most cases, is another house or quarter or town or subclan.  By rotating the leadership among the ruling houses or political units, democracy is assured.  Generally, every citizen is aware of the next line of succession.  This awareness reduces the need for political battle as to who should rule.  Moreover, it is generally believed that the ancestors are always very watchful, to ensure that the process is not violated.

It must be clearly stated that the religiously sanctioned traditional political system is quite different from the state imposed political structures in which both the federal and state governments have attempted to manipulate traditional politcal institutions by imposing political chiefs on artificially created chieftaincy zones.  Generally, state influenced and imposed political chiefs have no religious mandate from the ancestral forces.  They are the ones who always cause chieftaincy conflicts as they try to manipulate the people to support them.  These kinds of political chiefs are always very destabilizing and destructive.  For purpose of this article, the traditional political system is restricted and referred exclusively to the religiously instituted political arrangement in which strict adherence to traditional norms are encouraged.

Compromise and Consensus

Based on the traditional political system, which originates from ancestral sanctions, every political decision is expected to be based on the principle of compromise and consensus.  This is to avoid manipulation and dirty tricks and to ensure communal harmony.  Compromise and consensus enables every significant opinion to be expressed so that any decision arrived at through serious bargaining is fully accepted by all.  Here again, the system is very democratic because a leader or a ruler cannot simply impose his/her point of view without taking other points of views into consideration.  In short, the religiously sanctioned traditional leader must take the views of other chiefs and representatives of the people into consideration before making any decision.  To act arbitrarily would amount to a violation of the sacred religious order of how the community should be administered.  As a result, the traditional African leader is always a negotiator.   He/she is expected to tell the truth and not to be ideologically committed to a particular position or be manipulative.

On the other hand, Western models of political development are very suitable to Western societies but are very inappropriate to the African cultural environment.  This is why the African (Nigerian) attempt to democratize through adoption and application of Western models have met with serious failures throughout the continent.  Many reasons can be deduced to explain the inappropriateness and the unworkability of the alien models in Africa.

a.  Western cultures are generally based on individualism. This means that individual rights or interests supercedes communal rights or interests.  Whenever a communal interest is considered to be an  infringement of individual right, the communal right is often sacrificed to the benefit of the individual right.  African cultures are based on communal rights.  This means that communal rights come before individual rights.  Thus, if an individual interest threatens communal interest, the individual interest must surrender to the communal interest.  This is to ensure social harmony as well as to perpetuate communal norms and mores.

As can be seen, individualism is philosophically in opposition to communalism or communitarianism.  Thus, Western societies cannot conveniently adopt communalistic sociopolitical systems because such efforts would lead to legal challenges by the citizens who would fight strenously to maintain their individual rights.  Likewise, African societies cannot conveniently adopt individualistic systems because the people would react communalistically to such an affront.

b.  Due to the fact that Western citizens are profoundly individualized, they need political organizations to help mobilize them.  The political party becomes the primary instrument for political mobilization of the citizenry.  In Africa, the citizens are always mobilized through the communal system.  The family, or the compound, quarter, village, town, clan and the ethnic group constantly reinforces the need for the  people to embrace the group.  Consequently, the political party plays a crucial role in Western societies and plays a lesser role in African societies.  The rise of  ethnically based political movements in Nigeria and throughout Africa is a clear indication of the power of communalism today.

It can be deduced that the political party plays a negative role in African societies because it is generally created or established by the elites to enhance their selfish interests.  Consequently, the political party cannot truly represent the people.  It is like a leech that sucks the socio-political lifeblood of the people and render them powerless and dependable on the elites.

c.  Political parties are designed to discourage mass participation by making it difficult for most citizens to get involved. By so doing, the party members become the king/queen makers by annointing the chosen candidates to control the state.  To grow within the political party, members must imbibe the political culture of the organization and become devoted to the interest of the party rather than that of the state. To grow through the hierarchy of the party, members are expected to do whatever it takes to perpetuate the party.  If this requires rigging of elections, stealing from the state to enrich the party, manipulating and  inciting racial, ethnic, regional, religious, and class antagonism as a way of propelling party members to win or dominate the polity, then that is what the members must do. 

Political party members are socialized to behave as gang members.  This means never saying anything bad about their own parties, always supporting their party colleagues and officials, even when such colleagues violate the law or steals from the public purse. They are expected to fight like hungry dogs against opponents.


Apart from the problems associated with the political party system, especially in Africa, the Western concept of one-person-one-vote is very appealing theoretically and makes a lot of sense in the individualized societies of the West, however, it does not make any sense in the communalized societies of Africa.  The reason being that Africans rarely respond to political stimuli from an individualized manner. They generally tend to act and react from a communalistic point of view.  Africans vote with the hope of enhancing their communal, ethnic, regional, and statal interests.

Resultantly, the fact that a democratic election based on a one-person-one-vote was won by a candidate on the basis of majority votes does not necessarily mean that the electoral victor is acceptable to the people. Events in the Niger Delta, Yorubaland,Islamic North etc. since the election of President Olusegun Obasanjo, have shown that people will fight to accomplish political and economic rights, regardless of the legitimacy of the political leader or of the system.  The same holds true throughout the continent, whether in the democratic or nondemocratic states.   In Africa, as in many other parts of the world, electoral victory is considered to be a mere legal interpretation, not a political one due to the fact that almost all elections are rigged or tempered with, one way or another, by those in power.

Since one-person-one-vote is an expression of the totality of individualism, it does not generally reflect the communal point of view which is essential for political stability in Africa.  As a result, it is often quite insufficient to contain communal anger. Thus, the best way to ensure stability and peace is to generate a political system that properly reflects the communal point of view.


Another aspect of the Western model of democracy that is not suitable for Nigeria, in particular, and Africa in general, is the notion of a 'winner-takes-all" kind of democratic party politics.  Under this system, the winning political party and the candidates belonging to the victorious party gains all the fruits of political victory and the defeated political party(s) and its candidates end up with an empty basket.  In the West, this is quite acceptable, since people think about their self interest most of the times.  However, winner-takes-all is absolutely very destablizing in Africa where the sociological tendency is for people to react in a group manner to any political displeasure. 

In a winner-takes-all system, the political parties and the candidates are fully aware of the enormosity of victory or defeat.  Any political partiy that wins control the government, the public purse, and the resources. The members of the victorious party gains materially and politically. The members of the defeated party go home empty-handed.  Not only that but the followers are immediatley ostrasized and marginalized.  In a communalized environment such as in Nigeria, the implication is that the winning party gets all the goodies and the losing side gets nothing. This leads to perpetual instability as the winning side tries to consolidate its power and the defeated side adopts some kind of a political querrilla warfare tactics to deprive the victorious party from enjoying the fruits of victory. 

The described scenario has happened so many times in Nigeria.  In the First Republic, the Northern Peoples Congress (NPC), the National Convention of Nigerian Citizens (NCNC), and the Action Group (AG) dominated the North, East and the West politically.  This meant that the Hausa-Fulani, the Igbo, and the Yoruba enjoyed uncontested control of the resources in their own respective regions.  The opposition parties did not have a chance.  Thus, the three ethnic groups also enjoyed the economic fruits of their political domination of the regions.  In the Second Republic, the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) dominated Nigeria and the political and economic fruits went to its members while the defeated Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP), and the UNity Party of Nigeria (UPN) ended with nothing.  This forced members of the defeated parties to abandon their parties and joined the NPN.  This transformed Nigeria from a multiparty system into a one political party state.

Winner-takes-all creates divisiveness and hatred among people because the system legitimizes discrimination based on political victory. The defeated is left with no other option but to destabilize the state as a means of paying back in kind.  Throughout Nigeria and probably around the continent, it is very easy to tell which ethnic group or region has been in power. The reason being that, quite often, infrastructural development is always concentrated in the regions and states where the ruling political parties and their candidates came from.   As can be seen, the Niger Delta is highly underdeveloped even though it has been the Akara plate of Nigeria.  It is underdeveloped because Nigerian rulers have always origninated from other parts of the country. They view the peoples of the Niger delta as the politically defeated or conquerred who are not entitled to any fruit of victory.  With that kind of rationalization, it became quite easy to take from the Niger Delta and develop their own places.

Commucracy (Warism)

There is no doubt that despite the transition to democracy, Nigeria continues to experience political instability due to past injustices and the winner-takes-all kind of politics which overwhelmingly reward the ruling party and overwhelimingly marginalize the defeated parties.  likewise, due to the nature of party politics, manipulation (Maradonnanism) continues to be a primary instrument of controlling the citizenry.  This spells a bleak future for the peoples right to be represented democratically.
 To avoid potential problems, Bayelsa State should endeavor to avoid party politics and the winner-takes-all phenomenon if it hopes to build a bright, prosperous, and united entity within Nigeria.  The reason why Bayelsa should not adopt the perpetually destabilizing political party system is due to the fact that Bayelsa is a product of a mass struggle initiated by all segments of the population.  Consequnetly, Bayelsa needs a truly democratic system in which all segments are fully represented politically, economically, educationally, and developmentally. 

Therefore, the existing Nigerian political party system is not an appropriate political formula for Bayelsa.  Bayelsa needs COMMUCRACY (short for communal democracy based on the wari principle of political socialization.  Thus, instead of relying on the national political parties, Bayelsa should adopt the traditional natural political divides as a formula to run the state.  The natural political divides are the family, quarter (biri), village, town, subclan, clan, and the ethnic group.  In other words, in Izonland, the ethnic group is divided into clans or subgroups.  Each clan contains a number of towns and villages.  Each clan has its own dialect and certain idiosyncracies.  Likewise, each clan has a religious and politcal capital.  This is often determined by the location of the highest religious shrine or where the founder first setttled.  Often, members of the clan are very unanimous as to the location of their traditional capital.

Instead of carving the state into artificial congressional or local government zones, the clans should be used as the basis for districting.  The only exception to this arrangement would be where a particular clan is too small.  In that case, the clan can be merged with another to form one zone.  The advantage of using the clan rather than artificially created political zones is that it will eliminate the Nigerian tendency to reward certain communities and not others.  For instance, the Warri conflict would not have taken place if Nigeria had created the local governments on the basis of the groups constituting Warri,  instead of the arbitrary political demarcations known as Local government Authorities.  In fact, there are so many intraethnic and interethnic conflicts raging on in Nigeria over local government sites.  It has been particularly bloody in the Middle belt.
Although relying on the clans, there will be two houses:  the Senate and the House of Representatives.  Each clan, regardless of its size, will have one representative at the Senate.  On the other hand, representation at the House of Representatives will be based slightly on population, but no clan can have more than three representatives.

Under this system, the governor should be nominated and elected directly by the people without political parties inflaming the political passions of the people.  Those interested in the governorship will file applications to that effect.  The state election board would screen the applicants by evaluating their qualifications.  The same criteria would be used to evaluate all potential candidates. Those who meet the conditions would be notified.  From that moment on, the candidates  would launch political campaigns to sell, explain, and spell out their goals for the state. An election would be conducted and whoever wins a simple majority of the  votes of the people would be become the governor.

Due to the importance attached to the evaluation of qualifications of the political candidates, the members of the election board will be drawn from all the clans and headed by a career civil servant.  This is to ensure fairness and equal representation.

Rotation of Political Offices

All political offices in the state would be subject to rotation.  This is to avoid the Nigerian tendency of one man trying to rule for ever.  Consequently, since the present governor, Chief DSP Alamieyeseigha is from the Ogboin Clan, the next governor should come from another clan in the state.  In fact, a computer analysis can be used to draw the line of succession among the clans.

Representatives, both at the Senate and at the House of Representatives, as well as all political offices in the state should be rotated, according to the principle of commucracy.  Rotation of political offices is very essential after taking the dirtiness of Nigerian politics into consideration.  This becomes even more critical in Izonland which sits atop a giant black gold.  In other words, after such a long struggle for freedom, the Izon people cannot afford to fight among themselves over the apportionment of political offices.  To do so would be to invite the national destabilizers to come and sow seeds of hatred and destruction.  Can you imagine one clan fighting another over the sitation of local government headquarters.  Such a fight will be an invitation for the federal government to infiltrate saboteurs into the Izon heartland and instigate a bloody war.

Oath of Office

Again, to minimize or eradicate corruption and the commandeering of public assets,  under a commucratic political system, all political officeholders and heads of governmental agencies must swear an oath of office through the invocation of their ancestral deities. Of course, some would argue that they are Christians and cannot subscribe to such a condition.

This is very important, considering the fact that Africa is poor and wretched today because the leaders have primarily converted the peoples resources into their personal wealth and thereby impoverish the people.  Africa is a big joke throughout the world and there is an increasing universal theoretical view that Africans are not capable of ruling themselves.  The only way for Bayelsa to move forward is to make sure that resources are utilized for the purposes in which they were created for.

The adoption of ancestral religious rites of office is necessary because it appears that Africans are not afraid of the Christian God and the Islamic Allah.  A Nigerian wouldnt mind committing a crime and swearing on the Bible or the Koran that he/she did not do it.  However, tell the same Nigerian to swear by his/her ancestral deities and the Nigerian will immediately confess.  The same goes for any SubSaharan African, seriously afraid that lying before the ancestors could lead to innumerable metaphysical hazards.  The fear of unpredictable spiritual consequences, not only to the person, but also to the person's entire family is too great a risk to play with.  Moreover, the Bayelsan adoption of such a policy will open the eyes of every African to the fact that among world religions, the only religion that is not recognized is the traditional African religion, even though it is the oldest and the purest form of spirituality in the entire world.  In traditional Africa, you do not need to read the Bible or the Koran in order to know God because God manifests itself throughout the envivronment.  In Izonland, the religious priest is chosen by the spiritual essence, not by the person.  In Christianity and Islam, most people make conscious decisions to joining the  priesthood, hence, fakery and exploitation are very common.  In traditional religion, one cannot fake or be deceitful, except if the person is looking for a spiritual trouble.

Currently, while a vast number of Africans are not appreciative of their ancestral religions, it is their distant cousins in Haiti, Cuba, Brazil, Lousiana etc. who are propagating Ancestralism/Deitism.  They are actually converting peoples of non African ancestry to embrace the religion due to its holistic nature.  For Bayelsa state to develop in a wholesome manner, it is essential that the financial resources of the state are wisely used for the betterment of the entire citizenry, and not just for the few who are fortunate enough to be in positions of power. 

National Reaction to a Commucratic System

There is no doubt that the above described system of politics which involves every segment of the population would be intitally laughed at for being impractical.  It would be opposed by those who have a vested interest in the existing political party system.  In particular, the major national political players in the country would refer to the partyless system as being unconstitutional, therefore, totally unacceptable.  Likewise, the federal government would be very uncomfortable with a political system that is not connected to the national framework.  The federal government could even suggest that such a system would serve as an instrument of secession of Izonland.  Bayelsans could be threatened with force for adopting a political system that is unconnected to the national network.  The federal government would get some support among certain Izons who are benefitting from the present arrangement because such people could feel politically emaciated by such a system.

In any case, if an all inclusive commucratic system is considered unacceptable, commucracy can still be adopted indirectly.  Since Bayelsa already has a governor, a government, and a legislature, based on the national format, the governor can commucratize or warianize the existing system by adopting a nonidealogical, party-neutral, and all-embracing political strategies to run the state.  This can be achieved by doing the following:

     a.  reduce partisanship by making sure that governmental jobs are distributed throughout the state on quota basis so that all the clans are fully represented in the government.  This means that the governor should not only appoint job applicants from his political party.  The reason being that Bayelsa was achieved through the peoples struggle.
     b.  The governor must be very watchfull at all times so that the national political party machine would not colonize the state.  It should be recalled that Chief Abule would have been the governor of Rivers State if the federal government had not intervened during Gen. Ibrahim Babangida's regime.  The federal government intervened because the big guys wanted somebody they could manipulate.  That is why Rivers State became a national political football and served the interest of the outside forces instead of the interest of the Rivers people in the late 1980s and the 1990s.

     c.  The governor must be bold and fearless in challenging the federal government whenever necessary so that money due the state is duly received. Likewise, he/she must use the money to benefit the people.  It should be recalled that Governors Diete Spiff of Rivers State, Samuel Ogbemudia of Bendel State, and Samuel Essuene of Cross Rivers State used to batlle the Supreme Military Council in order to ensure that financial resources accruing to these states were paid to them without hindrance.  Rumours circulated frequently about how these three governors used to walked out of the SMC meetings in anger over oil revenues.

     d.  The governor should operate in a cooperative manner by consulting with the legislature, the Izon National Congress (INC), the Izon Youth Council (IYC), and the Bayelsa Forum.  This requires adopting a participatory form of leadership.  It also requires the adoption of nonlegalistic tactics in dealing with the opposition.

     e.  The governor should not regard himself/herself in a restrictive constitutional manner and thereby limits his/her contact with other Izon elements in other states.  In other words, the Bayelsa governor should also view himself/herself as an ethnic leader.  This means making decisions and creating programs that would be beneficial to all members of the ethnic group, not just those in bayelsa.

     f.  The governor must constantly assure the citizens of Bayelsa and the ethnic group that he/she is not a stooge of the federal authorities.

     g.  The governor will also assure the citizens that he/she will not remain in office for more than two terms and will work toward a smooth transfer of power when the time comes.

     h.  The governor and the legislature would make sure that developmental activities are spread throughout the state so that no clan will feel marginalized or abandoned.

     i.  The governor and the legislature must make sure that the people are not manipulated or misinformed.  Already, it appears that some sections of the state are increasingly feeling marginalized. This is what contributed to the concerns raised by the Bayelsa Forum recently.

                  PART  11


Bayelsa should not repeat the mistakes of Nigeria.  Every developmental effort must be geared toward achieving a clearly defined goal that would benefit the citizenry.  This means that anybody who becomes a governor must have a clearly defined goal(s) aimed at moving the state and the people foreward.  The goal(s) must be followed by clearly identifiable specific objectives, and the means to get the objectives accomplished.The tendency in Nigeria has been to create expensive developmental programs that benefitted no one except top governmental officials and the contractors.  Any contract intended to benefit a narrow interest group must be discouraged.

To make sure that every project is accounted for, the governor, the legislature, the INC, the IYC, and the Bayelsa Forum must be very watchful and critical in evaluating any developmental program.  The list of unnecessary projects, incomplete projects, unaccounted for projects, and phantom projects is endless in Nigeria.  They are the sources of the severe underdevelopment and pauperization of the Nigerian citizenry.  Bayelsa cannot afford to imbibe such a self-defeating approach to infrastructural development.

It can be said that throughout the post-colonial history of Nigeria, only Gen. Yakubu Gowons's  and the short-lived Gen. Murtala Mohammed's regimes could be attributed to have established developmental goals and worked hard to achieve them.  It was during the same period that the states did exceedingly well.  The military governors under General Gowon had goals and implemented them.  They built roads, schools, banks, hospitals, and provided hope to Nigerians. The military was highly respected because the soldiers meant what they said.

The 1980s and the 1990s were the Dark Ages of Nigerian History where rulers came to power without clearly defined goals, apart from a desire to commandeer the public treasury.  They turned Nigeria into a spineless and poverty-stricken country.  A few became billionaires without contributing a kobo to the economic development of the country.

Bayelsa must be driven by goals at all times.  The goals can be implemented in phases, according to the complexity, duration, and costs of the projects to be developed.

The first step in embarking on any major infrastructural development is to ensure that all developmental plans are not concentrated in one area. In Nigeria, the tendency has been to put everything in one place.  For instance, the federal government put everything in Lagos, hence the city is so crowded and chaotic.  Soon or later, Abuja will face a similar fate as everyone rushes there to create a presence.  Likewise, despite all the glorious plans instituted in the Rivers State in the late 1970s and early 1980s, every developmental infrastructure was located in Port Harcourt.  Therefore, Rivers State continues to be like a one-city state, even now.

Even though Yenagoa is the capital, Bayelsa must spread out its developmental projects to all the corners of the state.  This will result in a balanced development as well as rapid modernization of various localities. Moreover, it will eliminate overcrowding in Yenagoa since there will be no need for everyone to come to Yenagoa in order to work or do business.  

 A reasonable way to decentralize the location of facilities is to divide the state into developmental zones.  This can be done through planning and computer anlysis.  In this regard, projects should be located according to their suitability.  For example,  since there is a major oil terminal at Twon (Brass), the state's Ministry of Mineral Resources or Petroleum  could be located there with a small headquarter office in Yenagoa.  Since Pereamabiri has a major agricultural farm, it could become a major agricultural research center in the state.  There used to be an agricultural farm near Oloibiri in Ogbia and that too can be expanded.  Odiama, Akassa, Koluama, Iketu, etc. could become major fishing or marine food harvesting and processing centers for deep sea fishing.

The state's ministries could be spread likewise.  For example, the East/West road axis covering Patani, Shagbama, Adigbabiri, Kaiama, Odi, Opokuma, Gbarain, Yenagoa, Ekpetiama, and some parts of Ogbia could be dotted with some ministries while other governmental entities could be located in Amassoma, Nembe, Lobia, etc. with small corporate offices located in Yenagoa where the ministers or commissioners would reside.  The scattering of the ministries and major governmental entities would enable a vast majority of government workers to go to work from their hometowns. This will reduce overcrowding in Yenagoa. Throughout Nigeria the major cities seem overcrowded due to overconcentration of governmental administrative machinery and developmental infrastructures, thereby forcing citizens to migrate to the cities in search of work and other life-sustaining amenities. Markets like Tereke, Lobia, Igwueama, Iwoama, etc. could be used as centers for manufacturing and craft activities.

Izonland is highly underdeveloped due to decades of marginalization and powerlessness.  Apart from its proximity to Port Harcourt and Warri, Izon territory does not contain any metropolis.  Thus, one major aim of Bayelsa State should be to create one or more major Izon urban areas within the heartland.  Of course, the state is financially and economically disadvantaged to carry out major developmental efforts, nevertheless, it should plan toward a progressive future by laying down plans that could be implemented in phases.   

 The best way to accomplish this objective will be to connect the developmental zones, as proposed before, with the urban centers.  One center will be known as university town.  The second center will be regarded  as an industrial center.  The third center will be regarded as the cultural center.  The intended Niger Delta University or the University of the Niger Delta could be a starting point for the developement of a university town.  Since the university location (Wiberforce Island) is not too far from Ekpetiama, Ogboin, Kolokuma/Opokuma, Ogbia, Epie-Atisai clans,  it could be developed as a major metropolis.  This means that the state should plan for an airport, a stadium, a well equipped library, a modern medical facility etc. around the localities near the university.  For instance, a stadium could be located somewhere around the Bisseni, Ogbia, Yenagoa, Gbarain, Opokuma area, a medical facility could be located around Ogboin, Kolokuma, Shagbama, Ekpetiama Agbere, Trofani etc. areas.  A major airport could be located in a major land bridge area connecting many localities to the the capital.  Eventually, the university town will come to embrace a sizeable portion of three or four clans.    The second urban area should be located far away from the university town.  The Nembe, Ogbia, Akassa, Ekewou, Igueama etc. axis could be considered.  This is to connect these clans into an urban hub.  Here again, emphasis is to site or locate infrastructures so that the center becomes a major arena for all kinds of activities.  This could be the center of industrial or marine food services.  The third proposed urban center will be located toward the Southwest.  In this case, Southern Gbarain, Koluama, Lobia, Iketu etc. areas will be considered.  All the centers will have plans for major medical facilities, libraries, business activities, governmental agencies, airports/airstrips, and educational facilities.  This is to attract people from the localities around the center and encourage them to intermingle to the extent that urbanization can take root.  It could even be possible to locate the subheadquartes of the state ministries in the designated urban areas.  If this is adopted, then the earlier suggestion for the sitation of ministries will nolonger hold.

Since the ethnic group extends beyond Bayelsa, those who are not in Bayelsa State must always be taken into consideration.  Therefore, two more urban centers will be planned for development.  One center will be located around the Kalabari, Okirika, Bonny, and Andonni axis and the other will be focused on the Arogbo, Bumodi, Burutu, Akugbene, Ogbe Ijo areas.  Thus, Bayelsa State officials must work with other Izon leaders and states to ensure that the aforementioed areas are taken into consideration in their development plans.  

To avoid undue infighting, Bayelsa State officials must work with the INC, IYC, and Bayelsa Forum to draw the plan as to the areas proposed for future urbanization.  These groups must work together as a committee to scout the state and draw a plan which best serves the interests of the citizens.  Whatever plan chosen must be publicized to allow for debate as to the pros and cons.

When the plan is accepted, the state will make conscious effort to implement the plan by locating infrastructures in the areas designated.  This means siting economic, industrial, cultural, medical, educational etc. activities in places which have been approved for future urbanization.

Educational Institutions

Education is a very crucial institution for the development of any society.  It is an instrument for enlightening and sharpening the mind and for training manpower.  Therefore, extreme care must be taken in planning for education.  Consequently, educational facilities must be accessible to all eligible citizens of Bayelsa and other Izon citizens.                  
 All clan areas must have secondary schools.  All secodary schools should be planned with a view of establishing dormitories so that students live in residential halls, as in the past.  Dormitories provide an excellent environment for academic proficiency, character-building, and discipline.   This is to reward the youths who have been so involved in militantly challenging the status quo.  They have sacrificed so much and needs to be rehabilitated and rewarded.

For purpose of specialized manpower development, the state needs to adopt the pioneering Rivers State model of the early 1970s where middle-level diploma-awarding institutons and schools of basic studies were created to train people in agriculture, fishery, nursing, printing, drafting, electricity, electronics, carpentry, seamanship, marine engineering, commercial piloting, and preparation for university education.  This calls for the establishment of vocational schools, colleges of science and technology etc.  Here again, all of these cannot be established at once due to the cost.  However, an incremental effort is needed to begin the process.  In this regard, the state government must be congratulated for establishing the Bayelsa State School of Arts and Sciences and proposing to establish the Bayelsa College of Health Science.

Likewise, a College of Technology, a School of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Wild Life and a School of Computer Science are needed.  These five schools (the two above and the three here) will complete the middle-tier educational structure.  In particular, the School of Computer Science should be quickly implemented so that Bayelsa will develop a highly trained manpower in computer programming, computer design, computer repairing, and software development.  Computer Technology is the fastest growing business throughout the whole world.  It is the fastest way to compete in the global marketplace.  India provides an excellent model for instituting a computer school.  In fact, Indians are being sought after by the US computer industry for their programming and designing capabilities.  So many developmetal activities can be achieved through a computer-proficient technological manpower base.

Unlike the Rivers State, all the institutions should not be located in one place.  If the Niger Delta University is located in Wilberforce Island, efforts should be made to spread the other colleges around the state.  If the School of Arts and Science is located in Yenagoa or around that vicinity, the other schools must be located elsewhere.  Here again, the proposed urban centers could be used as a way to guide the location of educational institutions.

Likewise, the School of Agriculture, Fisheries, and Wild Life would work cooperatively with the proposed College of Health Science and the Niger Delta University to establish pharmacological farms or plantations.  These farms will be used to grow medicinal plants.  The plants would be analyzed as to their medicinal properties and documented.  Thus, a pharmaceutical industry can be established in the state quite easily.  The purpose of the herbal or medicinal farms is to make it possible for Bayelsan, Nigerian, and African biochemists, botanists, medical researchers, chemists, pharmacists, microbiologists, herbalists, trado-naturalists etc. to conduct research and quickly develop remedies for medical problems.  Africa has plants that contain chemical properties capable of curing any malady, yet, the continent has been very lacking in the development of pharmacological products.  Since the outbreak of Aids and other serious life-threatening diseases, African medical experts have worked tirelessly to thwart the spread of the diseases.  Unfortunately, their governments have been very unhelpful in providing money, and accoutrements needed to effectively advance the medical interest of the continent.

Increasingly, Africans who live overseas, especially in the West, are realizing that traditional or herbal medicines seem to be safer to human consumption than the overprocessed industrialized pharmaceutical products.  Western medications tend to treat one malady by creating other maladies.  In other words, each time a person consumes an industrially processed medication, the medication will supposedly cure what it was designed to cure, but in the process, will create other medical problems.  As a result, most Western citizens tend to consume many different drugs at the same time in order to suppress all the counterballancing effects.  Hence, addiction to prescription drugs is very common among American citizens.  Herbal medications do not cause such problems because they are natural.  In order for the project to be successful, an effort must be made to incorporate both scientific and traditional medicine into the medical school curriculum so that medical students would graduate with the full awareness that a medical problem can be solved scientifically and traditionally.  China is probably the most advanced country in the utilization of both systems.  In China, a doctor can prescribe either an industrialized drug or an herbal drug.  The reason is that the Chinese have documented the medical properties of most of their traitional herbs.  Consequently, a medical doctor can prescribe an herbal concoction or a pharmaceutical drug.  The utilization of both will eliminate the complain often made by Nigerian doctors that they do not have the necessary drugs to treat patients.  Likewise, it will also minimize the governmental arguments that pharmaceutical drugs are too expensive.  Right now, South Africa is doing battle with the international pharmaceutical corporations so that generic drugs can be imported from India to treat AIDs patients.  It is unfortunate that Africans always have to wait for drugs to come from overseas before patients receive appropriate medical care while Africa, like the Brazilian Amazon, is a vast storehouse of medicinal remedies.   

Health Facilities
The state is lacking in health care facilities.  The existing hospitals are highly underdeveloped, underequipped, and understaffed.  The state need to improve the health of the citizens by applying innovative methods.  For instance,  in addition to the existing medical facilities, the state can institute a floating medical program like the one which existed during the Spiff regime in the Rivers State.  In places like Furoupagha, Iketu, Southern Gbarain, Odioma, and in consideration of nonBayelsan Izon citizens, a floating medical service can dramatically shorten the period it takes to get to the nearest hospital.  Two medical boats, one plying north and south and the other plying east and west can solve the logisitcal problem.  The state can make arrangements with the federal government to assist in buying two medically equipped floating hospitals.  The floating service should be used until permanently located medical facilities are built around the state. 

The state must take the lead in establishing a people-friendly bank.  It should be noted that due to the long duration of marginalization and political powerlessness, many Izon citizens are financially pauperized.  As a result, many Bayelsan citizens who would like to get into business cannot do so.  The state can help in solving this problem by establishing parastatal financial institutions which can provide small financial loans to the indigenes of the state.  Currently, most land transportation activities in the state are carried out by non-indigenes.  It is strategically unwise to depend on outside economic interests in the carrying out of critical economic activities in the state.

Thus, if a state bank has not been already created, it is important to take steps toward the creation of such an institution.  The bank would become the driving force for the development of private sector economic activities.  A private sector economic development is absolutely necessary for the state to acheive economic success.  Citizens should be able to go to such a bank or financial institution and borrow money to build houses, buy vehicles, and water crafts to provide land and riverine transportation.  Loans should be awarded to all classes of people, if they can demonstrate an ability to pay back, not only to the well-connected or the rich.  To give only to the well-connected would lead to an unbalanced sociopolitical and economic development in which the rich effectively control all the means of economic development.  It should be noted that the African Continental Bank (ACB) helped immeasurably in establishing the private sector in Eastern Nigeria and the Pan-African Bank did likewise in the Rivers State.

Izon citizens in other states must always be treated as technically belonging to Bayelsa State, especially if their own states are not making it accessible for them to benefit economically. In pariticular, the Arogbo and Ogbe-Ijos are deprieved and must be treated as Bayelsan citizens.  The overall strategy should be geared toward achieving  an Izon nation that is economically vibrant and self-sustaining in all its dimensions.


For economic development to take place successfully, transportation and communication systems must be established.  Of course, the state is poor and does not have the kind of money needed to solve the logistical problems, nevertheless, an incremental developmental plan can be instituted.  A plan should be put in place for the creation of a Niger Delta or a Bayelsan Line.  One or two modern buses can ply the roads from Yenagoa to Port harcourt and from Yenagoa to Warri, heading toward Lagos, through the East/West road. Two boats are needed to ply the riverine areas.  One taking off from Port Harcourt and crisscrossing through Kalabari, Nembe, Akassa Ekeowu, Amassoma, Odi, Agbare, Elemebiri, Patani and heading toward Lagos through Bumodi.  This is the old route often taken by Amassoma and Ayatero boats.  The two boats would pass each other in the middle of the state.  Two smaller and faster boats would complement the bigger boats.  The smaller boats can be put in place to connect the Lobia Ukubie and Ogbia areas to the main route.  In the past, Bendel had the Bendel Line and the Rivers State had the Waterline.  They were very helpful to the masses who needed such means of transportation to go from place to place.

Ministry of Arts and Culture

Bayelsa, unlike other states, needs a Ministry of Arts and Culture, if it does not have one now.  Of course, generally, in Nigeria, the arts and culture department is always attached to the Ministry of Information.  A separate ministry is needed in the state.  The need for a cabinet-level bureaucracy is threefold.  First, unlike many other Nigerian ethnic groups, the Izon people have never wavered in upholding their traditional cultural values and religion, despite tremendous pressure to Christianize and Westernize. This is why the Izons are very humble, godly, straightforward, and proud, regardless of the circumstances.  This explains why crime is very low and criminals are punished when caught.  This also explains why the Izon puts his/her faith in God, instead of engaging in all kinds of concoctions to harm or thwart the path of others.  This also explains why an Izon person would not engage in certain types of behaviors that are violative of  sacred religious orders.  Secondly, due to years of marginalization, a lot of cultural disinformation and misinformation were put out by various educational, informational, and political sources in Nigeria to portray the Izons as backward people that live in primitive fishing ports.  This accounted for the lack of development by various governments.  Thirdly, due to extensive marginalization, many Izon people grew up elsewhere since nothing was developed in their own territory.  Consequently, many Izon clans did not see themselves as belonging to the ethnic group even though the language, the culture, and the history have always been the same.  Likewise, many Izon youths cannot speak their dialects very fluently because they grew up elsewhere.  Many youths are not aware of the intricacies, rituals and dynamics of Izon culture.

Consequently, borrowing from the Rivers State Council for Arts and Culture, Bayelsa should invest in the cultural development and enhancement of the ethnic group.  In fact, during the era of Chief Diete Spiff, the Arts and Cultural Council, led by Mr. Paul Worika and chaired by Dr. Ebiegberi Alagoa, documented all the traditional dances, games, and religious institutions in the state.  The council also attempted to provide press coverage to all the traditional festivals, and activities in the state.  It had a department of drama where Mr. Comish Ekiyor and other s produced dramas based on the stories of the peoples of the state.

A Strategic Center for the Study of Izon and African Affairs would be included as part of the ministry or agency.  The center should promote intellectual activities and serve as a guidepost for the establishment of cultural, political, economic, and religious policies.  It could even be established as a separate entity.


Although neglected by the federal govenment, it can be said that the Niger Delta is one of the best pieces of real estate in Africa, if not in the world.  Apart from being the economic center of the country, it is also rich in agricultural and marine resources.  Moreover, it offers an environment for the development of a tourist industry since it has lands, lakes, creeks, rivers, ocean, and abundant wildlife.  In short, the Niger Delta can compete with the Caribbean islands in the Americas.  In particular, it is very suitable for the development of ecotourism.  Many of the islands can be developed as resorts.  Chief Diete Spiff and his advisers had that in mind when Isaka was built.

                     PART 111

Even the best laid plan for development cannot succeed if there is no political stability.  Lately, stability has been a rare commodity in Nigeria.  After years of mismanagement, Maradonanistic Machiavellian politics, and blatant corruption spearheaded by its leaders, Nigeria is at the crossroad of great political uncertainty.  The slightest provocation can lead to an uncontrollable outburst of anger.  Families, villages, communities, clans,  regions, ethnic and religious groups appear to be at war with each other.  Even within Izonland, there are series of intraethnic feuds.

Under the current climate, infrastructural development cannot be succesfully implemented.  Therefore, there is a need for a Center for Strategic Studies and Crisis Management, as suggested earlier. Many reasons can be given for the necessity of a Strategic Center.  First, the Niger Delta is a critical piece of land, not only to the ethnic groups inhabiting it, but also to Nigeria, the multinational oil corporations, their home countries (Britain, the US, Holland, Italy, France), and the industrialized world.  Nigeria needs the oil money to sustain itself.  The oil companies need the profits in order to remain in business. Their home countries need the money as well as the companies to create employment and gain geopolitical influence in the world economy.  The industrialized world, needs the Niger Delta as a stable source of oil in the event that the Middle East explodes uncontrollably.  They also want Nigeria to play the role of a price stabilizer by increasing and decreasing production whenever necessary to ensure certainty.   As a result, the Izons, Itsekiris, Ibibios, Isokos, Binis, Urhobos, Ogonis, Igbos, Ilajes, Yorubas, Efiks etc. must realize that they are engaged in an international struggle for freedom of control of their territories.  It is not going to be easy.  Consequently, vigilance and self-disciplined are needed to sustain the political struggle.

Due to the strategic importance of the subregion, the aforementioned forces would adopt any tactics to manipulate, cheat, exploit, divide and conquer.  Evidently, Nigeria, the oil companies, and their international sponsors would not hesitate to incite, supply arms, and finance interethnic and intraethnic conflicts in the area.  Disunity among the peoples of the Niger Delta is a strategic advantage to Nigeria and the multinational corporations.  Consequently, it is absolutely necessary for the Izons and other ethnic groups to watch very carefully, analyze every political situation, and take appropriate political and legal steps to meet every strategem employed by the big players.  Of course, this will not be an easy task, as demonstrated by a recent internet story drawn from IjawLink which alleged that some members of the Bayelsa House of Assembly were paid By Shell to go on an oversea trip. The story further stated that the House of Assembly attempted to punish three members  who refused to go on the trip by suspending them. One fervently hopes that the story is not correct.  However, if the story is correct, it means that the Niger Delta will continue to suffer like Katanga in the Congo and Southern Sudan where massive corruption and greed instituted by a few elements have made it impossible for the people to benefit from the resources of their richly endowed lands. 

If the story is correct, it also reinforces the Nigerian stereotypical believe that the Peoples of the Oil Producing Areas (POPAs) are responsible for the underdevelopment of the Niger Delta because their sons were supposedly responsible for managing parastatal organizations that were supposed to develop the Niger Delta.  It should be noted that Nigerians from the NonOil Producing Areas (NOPAs) have no sympathy for the peoples of the Niger Delta because they believe that the inhabitants of the subregion should have punished their corrupt sons, instead of blaming Nigeria.  it will indeed be highly unpardonable, if the story is a fact that some sons and duaghters of Bayelsa clandestinely allowed themselves to be corrupted by multinational entities that have primarily subjected their people to abject poverty. This is why this writer is convinced that government officials and anyone who purports to represent the people should get into office by swearing an oath of office through the invocation of their ancestral deities.  It wll drastically reduce corruption.

To avoid any political pitfall, the Strategic center will be primarily responsible for analyzing internal, Nigerian, African, and International politics and issue guidelines as to how the ethnic group should respond to any developement that affects the Niger Delta.   The center will work with the state, the ethnic group at large, and other ethnic, political, human rights, environmental, organizations.  It will issue reports on either monthly or quarterly basis.  

Apart from that, it will be responsible for establishing a crisis management team.  The team will comprise of a state representative, a member of the INC, IYC, Bayelsa Forum, the House of Assembly, and one or two mmbers from the human rights and environmental movements.  When there is a threat of conflict, the team will send a negotiating group to the communities and educate them about ways of resolving the misunderstanding before the issue explodes into a crisis.  The crisis managemnt team will serve as an independent group, even thought some of the funding will come from the state.  This is to enable it to operate outside the confines of state politcs. 

It is strongly believed here that a crisis management team would have assisted immeasurably in quenching the intracommunal conflicts involving Kalabari communities, Kabalari and Nembe, Akassa and Koluama, the bloodbath over oil money in Pereamabiri in which 11 people died, as reported by the BBC etc.  To be able to tackle the big players, internal discord cannot be allowed to germinate.  To allow such development to take place is to defeat the struggle for economic self-determination within the context of Nigeria.

This is not an understatement since Bayelsa and the Izon nation need the total support of the people.  Historically, the federal government has always exploited communal discords to sow the seeds of enemity, hatred, and disunity.  Infact, during the bloody clashes in 1998 and 1999, both the Itsekiris and the Izons suspected that Nigeria's security forces and the oil companies were involved in either supplying arms or joining sides to fight.  During the Ogoni crises, Nigeria and the oil companies, using the Rivers State securiy apparatus, instigated, manipulated, attacked, destroyed and killed the Ogonis in an effort to create confusion and disunity.  It can even be said that the attack on Odi and other communities were intentionally designed to provoke the ethnic group so that Nigeria could then launch a major military effort to clamp down on the demand for resource control.  Likewise, the federal government suit over resource control of off/shore resources is a politico-legal tactics to deny the peoples of the Niger Delta an opportunity to consolidate their effort politicallyand exonomically.                      

The Izon people must put their house together. After doing so, they must then coordinate subregional strategies with other ethnic groups in the Niger Delta so that Nigeria and the other big players do not use divide and conquer tactics to create interethnic feuds.  Resource control will only come to pass when the federal government realizes that the Peoples of the Oil Producing Areas are determined and united in their resolve to be the masters of their own economic houses.

The Izons and other ethnic groups in the subregion need to encourage the federal government to continue to explore for oil in the Sokoto, Chad, Benue, and Bauchi Basins.  Discovery of oil in the North will reduce over reliance on the Niger Delta.  When theNiger Delta becomes less strategic, then resource control will become less threatening to Nigeria.

Put pressure on the federal government to be much more creative in investing and developing other sectors of Nigeria's economy.  If the agricultural and manufacturing sectors are cultivated, there will be less dependence on oil as other Nigerian states would be able to develop economically without thinking that oil is everything.  Currently, the Nonoil Producing States are scared that if local resource control becomes a reality, their hope of economic development will be dashed since they depend greatly on oil revenue as their primary source of funding.

The Izons and the other ethnic groups need to develop alternative negotiating plans for resource control, including a willingness to negotiate a sharing formula in which the oil revenue can be divided on either a 60/40 or 50/50 percentage basis.  The oil-producing states owning either 50% or 60% of the revenue and the federal government ending up with either 40% or 50%.  There are many ways to break down the figures, depending on the circumstances.

Finally, Bayelsa and other Oil Producing States must develop themselves economically.  This is the only way to convince the Peoples from the Nonoil Producing Areas that the marginalization of the Niger Delta by the federal government was primarily responsible for the severe umderdevelopment of the subregion, and not the sons and daughters of the region.  Failure to develop due to excessive corruption and mismanagement will destroy any moral fiber or claim of fighting for economic justice.  In particular, the political and economic failure of Bayelsa State would put an end to any moral claim of righteousness.  Such a disappointing failure will provide the federal government an opportunity to intervene militarily in a Liberian style of operation and effectively occupy the region.  So far, the federal government has been hesitant to do so in recognition of the fact that the subregion was exploited and ignored for too long. Obviously, the citizens of Bayelsa and other states in the area have a chance of doing the right thing and improving themselves economically, infrastructurally, and politically or sink into the abyss of hopelessness in a characteristic Nigerian style of extreme selfishness, incompetency, and corruption.  


Torulagha 1
Torulagha 2
Torulagha 3
Torulagha 4
Torulagha 5
Torulagha 6
Torulagha 7
Torulagha 8
Torulagha 9
Torulagha 10
Torulagha 11
Torulagha 12
Torulagha 13
Torulagha 14
Torulagha 15
Torulagha 16
Torulagha 17
Torulagha 18
Torulagha 19
Torulagha 20
Torulagha 21
Torulagha 22
Torulagha 23