Ann Kio Briggs And The Commercialization Of Struggles, By Suleiman Hashim
I watched the video about Ann Kio Briggs gathering people and discussing about self determination as a result of the defeat of GEJ in the March 28, 2015 general elections. After carefully listening to her speech, the following were running through my mind.
Firstly, I have been seeing Ann Kio Briggs in different fora and I understand her to be one of the elites of the Niger Delta who have benefitted a lot from the presence of oil in that domain. While she has benefitted a lot in my opinion, I don’t think she has empowered her kinsmen appropriately to show that she really has their welfare at heart. The empowerment I am talking about must not be as large as what a government can do but I feel charity begins at home and at least we should have been seeing her donate some drugs to some clinics, pay some little scholarships and help the less privileged and people with disabilities. Whether these have been done by her is something left for the public to research on so as to understand the intensity of the love she actually has for her people.
Secondly, her agitation was based on the defeat of GEJ in the elections and I wonder how in a short time she has forgotten that the whole country voted for him in the 2011 elections. Is it that they never appreciated that or she is just trying to show how less courteous she can be to other people’s sensitivities because all the people she mentioned as those who brought down GEJ supported him in 2011. What I expected is for her to probably do a proper research on the realignment and work on fixing the errors so they could probably bounce back by appropriately strategizing and not seeking a cheap means of intimidation and being relevant.
Thirdly, I have never seen Ann Kio Briggs come out to ask for accountability from all the agencies that have been pumped a lot of money to develop the Niger Delta. Chief among these agencies is the NDDC then followed by the various state governors and their heavy treasuries.
Having said all these, it is clear that Ann Kio Briggs was just coming up with her own agenda on how to “chop” from the incoming administration because from the body language of the people who were gathered there, you could see that they were paid crowd who were mobilized to give the business a boost and some sort of acceptability like it’s always been done. This was the same kind of strategy used to pick up funds from GEJ that were never put to use. What we saw there was Ann Kio Briggs trying to be smart by quickly putting up her own agenda on how to probably negotiate with the incoming administration and remain relevant. Don’t forget that it’s not necessary that the people who she claims to be fighting for will benefit from such negotiations because she has never agitated for them to benefit from the huge funds allocated to that region through the various government instruments. If she had been doing that maybe GEJ would not have been defeated, maybe there might not be reason for the recent call she is making.
Finally, I want to appeal to the elites of the Niger Delta to stop taking their people for granted and using them as pawns in their business of struggles. The people have done nothing to deserve such level of deceit and oppression. Instead of all these, we should see them trying to reorient people on how they should manage the resources better as well as be sincere with one another. When this is done with all sincerity, then we should expect to see a better and united Niger Delta in no time.
God Bless Niger Delta!
God Bless Nigeria!
Suleiman Hashim from Abuja (firstname.lastname@example.org)