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African Theocracy: A Panacea to Niger Delta Youth Restiveness

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Abstract

The paper is a research work on various social problems dominant in the Niger Delta. It focuses on youth restiveness and Ogba people system of traditional rulership referred to as Ogba theocracy in this paper. Its highlights is that this form of government could be used as a means of quelling Adamic sins represented in this context as youth restiveness. It pointed out some of the causative factors to Niger Delta problems. They include economic, political, oil industry, resource control, indiscipline, gangsterism etc. as major issues to Niger Delta constraints.
Open Journal of Philosophy, 2015, 5, 211-216
Published Online March 2015 in SciRes. http://www.scirp.org/journal/ojpp
http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ojpp.2015.54026
How to cite this paper: Dike, U. A. (2015). African Theocracy: A Panacea to Niger Delta Youth Restiveness. Open Journal of
Philosophy, 5, 211-216. http://dx.doi.org/10.4236/ojpp.2015.54026
African Theocracy: A Panacea to Niger Delta
Youth Restiveness
Uche A. Dike
Niger Delta University, Wilberforce Island, Bayelsa State, Yenagoa, Nigeria
Email: ucheuad@yahoo.com
Received 5 August 2014; accepted 24 March 2015; published 26 March 2015
Copyright © 2015 by author and Scientific Research Publishing Inc.
This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution International License (CC BY).
http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/
Abstract
The paper is a research work on various social problems dominant in the Niger Delta. It focuses on
youth restiveness and Ogba people system of traditional rulership referred to as Ogba theocracy
in this paper. Its highlights is that this form of government could be used as a means of quelling
Adamic sins represented in this context as youth restiveness. It pointed out some of the causative
factors to Niger Delta problems. They include economic, political, oil industry, resource control,
indiscipline, gangsterism etc. as major issues to Niger Delta constraints.
Keywords
Ogba Land, Theocracy, Niger Delta, Restiveness, Resource Control, Marginalisation
1. Introduction
Nigerian government defined Niger Delta territory as extending above 70,000 Square km, and occupies 7.5% of
Nigerian land mass. Originally, it is made up of Rivers, Bayelsa and Delta States, but today it includes Abia,
Akwa Ibom, Cross Rivers, Edo, Imo and Ondo States (Amanyie, 2006: p. xii).
Every nation on earth has its own set of problems of one kind or another. Niger Delta region is no exception.
At times social problems are symptoms of dynamic social life. As head-ache is normally associated with living
human skulls, so also are social problems the features of living and growing human societies. Accordingly,
Niger Delta is saddled with bristling social problems one of which is youth restiveness. Here, however, the pur-
pose is to identify some of the basic or causative factors to Niger Delta youth restiveness and try as much as
possible to proffer solution to them. The factors and solutions would be discussed under the following head-
ings: political leadership, economic situation, oil industry, misplacement of societal values and the genuine
struggle.
U. A. Dike
212
2. Causative Factors to Niger Delta Youth Restiveness
2.1. Political Leadership
Societal life is as natural to man as leadership is a necessary social attribute. In other words, leadership is to a
society or organization what the eye is to a human person. Hence, leadership is an indispensable element of any
social organization, institutions, units, departments, clubs, villages, towns, states, countries or regions. Leader-
ship therefore is the base of the society, this also allude to the fact that economic and socio-political prosperity,
peace and tranquility of a state is anchored more on leadership prowess or ability to articulate the co-operation
of the subjects for these objectives. Thus, the federal government is expected among others to provide the fol-
lowing: ensure the security of life and properties in the Niger Delta, provide employment and avenue for youth
development and resourcefulness, formulate policies, guide-lines for action and co-ordinate the execution and
implementation of these policies, resolve issues and conflicts, be the dedicated custodian of the welfare of those
under its jurisdiction or authority (Ordu, 2011: p. 25).
In view of these vital functions of leadership, its importance in every organized unit of human beings cannot
be over-emphasized. A country or nation without efficient leadership is usually doomed to exploitation, chaos,
marginalization, unemployment and a state of social disarray culminating into youth restiveness. This has been
the case of Niger Delta. In the Niger Delta leadership in all spheres is in a grave pathological state. Here, our so-
cio-economic and political underdevelopment is characterized by substantial mass illiteracy, low level of politi-
cal education, tribalism and lack of national consciousness, mass poverty in the midst of natural plenty, lack of
mechanization and neglect of the agricultural sector of the economy, siphoning of public funds by the elite to
foreign banks, conspicuous absence of social securities (such as old age, widowhood and other social disability
allowances) dysfunctional communication networks and social utilities, depressed and lean foreign exchange
reserves, paralyzing bureaucracy, corruption in high and low quarters, compounded and matched by the inepti-
tude and selfishness of those in vital position of authority and politicians. This catalogue of the factors of un-
derdevelopment, veritable obstacles to social progress has begun to excert its impact on the collective phyche
and consciousness of the Niger Delta, hence, it is no gainsaying that these deplorable situation in the Niger Delta
is partly responsible for the youth restiveness in the region which need urgent attention and corrections.
2.2. Economic Situation
The economic field in the Niger Delta is regarded as a jungle where to get the better of the other citizen in any
deal is canonized as the only gate way to success and wealth. It is a world without ethics and decent principles.
Here is the zone of official contractors, businessmen, merchants, traders, transporters and bankers who do not
have the interest of the masses at heart. Money is their god and he is to be worshipped absolutely without any
reserve or discretion, even if it means plunging Niger Delta into a more serious peril and chaos.
Economic leadership in the Niger Delta is still divorced from professional integrity and from the spirit of ser-
vice and due consideration for the rights of others. Respect for human rights and social justice is an attitude of
life unpractical to the financial and economic high priests and leaders of Niger Delta. Hitherto, our political
leaders have proved themselves impotent or unwilling to curb and channel positively the unbridled and irrational
man-made forces of our economy, thereby plunging the country particularly the oil rich Niger Delta region into
economic woes, unemployment, mass illiteracy among others leading to spontaneous restiveness.
2.3. Oil Industry
Niger Delta is dangerously poised on one single commodity-mineral oil because inadequate attention has been
given to other natural resources such as cocoa, oil palm, animal etc. our projected industrial revolution appears
far-fetched because we are still interested more in importing foreign products than in making our own. Moreover,
our business men believe they can make greater and quicker wealth by foreign trade than by building up local
industries. As a result, Niger Delta is faced only with one viable firmthe oil industry where almost every
youth wants to be employed. The issue of only one viable and prosperous firm in the Niger Delta has given rise
to a situation where plenty of money is chasing too few goods, namely inflation because, every youth cannot be
employed in the oil industry, couple with a worsened inflation by our poor distribution system and the unpatrio-
tic act of hoarders in our midst, unemployment abounds and the resultant effect is that youth restiveness be-
comes an order of the day in the Niger Delta region.
U. A. Dike
213
2.4. Misplacement of Societal Values
In Niger Delta today, secularism has overtaken the place of societal values. The region is today housing a crop
of youths who would want societal values relegated to the limbo and background of our social system, the dig-
nity and amount of wealth have been substituted by some of these youths for the dignity and quality of human
person. For some Niger Delta youths today, it is no longer your personality, quality and virtues that count, it is
the volume of wealth, no matter how dishonest and unjust is your wealth and the means of livelihood. Ostenta-
tious life-style, lack of fear of God is fast displacing the wisdom, the mobility and majesty of simplicity, and
modesty. As more emphasis is laid on the material and on quantity, the quality and meaning of life suffer set-
backs. Hence, the emergence and reign of youth mediocrity. These hoodlums are known by various names under
the guise of Niger Delta freedom fighters. Thus, militarization, misuse of fire arms and dynamite, bombing of
economic structures in strategic places, robbery, raping and kidnapping of foreigners and indigenes become an
order of the day in the name of fighting for the socio-political liberation and economic emancipation of the
Niger Delta people. The origin and evolution of the so called Niger Delta Freedom Fighters today is therefore
traceable to three phases. The eras of Niger Delta freedom fighters, political monsters and hoodlums (James
2012: p. 36).
First there was a genuine struggle for socio-political liberation and economic emancipation of the Niger Delta
people. This group was made up of intellectuals, human rights activists, civil right campaigners etc. with good
intentions for the people of the region. Secondly, there is the group which I choose to call here political monsters
because of their clandestine activities which is a public opprobrium in the Niger Delta political history.
Thirdly, these are the so called freedom fighters made up of hoodlums. They are tools in the hands of the
second group. If Nigerian daily news papers are to be believed, the daily papers are well inundated with substan-
tial evidences to prove that many arms have been received by this third group from the second group for the
purpose of quest for political powers. The second and third groups constituted the socio-economic vandals of the
region in the name of Niger Delta Freedom fighters and are responsible for some unnecessary youth restiveness
arising thereof (Fred, 2010: p. 50).
3. The Genuine Struggle
3.1. Marginalization
The core Niger Delta was part of Eastern Nigeria which came into being in 1951. In 1953, Prof. Eyo Ita the
premier of the Eastern region was expelled from office by the majority group in the region, the Ibos, This nega-
tive outlook and other trends signaled the political domination of the minorities by the majority groups. The mi-
nority groups were the Tivs, Nupes in the north, the Edos, Itsekiris in the west, the Ogbas, Ogonis, Ijaws in the
east (Reed, 2006: p. 108). These have led to bloody clashes all over the region. Even today, large numbers of the
minority such as the Ogbas, Itsekiris, Ikwerre and Ogonis are not satisfied with the issue of marginalization
which is still going on in Nigeria today. We can recall in the past of many Niger Deltans who were in the van-
guard of the genuine struggle they include Prof. Claude Ake, Ken Sarowiwa, Isaac Adaka Boro etc.
3.2. Oil Revenue
Derivation phenomena became questionable in Nigeria. When Niger Delta was seen as the dominant economic
and treasure base of Nigeria. When coal of Ibos, cocoa of the Yorubas, cotton of the Hausa contributed most to
the national budget, derivation was religiously adhered to. Chief Obafemi Awolowo in support of the then shar-
ing formula has this to say:
Where the opponents of the principle (of derivation) believe that they have the advantages of numbers, they
insist on all the revenues being collected into a common pool and then shared out on the basis of population.
Where this advantage is absent, they still insist on a common purse from being made on the basis of equal-
ity. In a capitalist society, whether it is a federation or not, it is untenable and dishonest in the extreme to
insist on sharing another state’s wealth on any basis other than that which the rules of the capitalist game
allow. In this kind of society, every state is perfectly entitled to keep any wealth that accrues to it either by
the sweat of its brow, by cunning or by unaided bounty of nature. And to accuse a rich state of lack of fel-
low feeling or patriotism because it insist on keeping practically all that comes to it by whatsoever means is
U. A. Dike
214
reasonable and unrealistic (Amanyie, 2006: p. 7).
In 1950, 100% was the derivation formula in Nigeria. In 1960 it was reduced to 50%, to 20% in 1975, today it
has depreciated to 13%. It is pertinent to note that the politics of revenue allocation constitute a major threat to
Niger Delta region. The region does not benefit in commensurate to the revenue accruing from her natural re-
sources, rather the region is under developed and in abject poverty. Ogba Egbema Ndoni Local Government
(ONELGA), Rivers state, the highest oil and gas producers in Nigeria is a case in point.
In the same vain a scholar observed
Oil and gas companies operating in the Niger Delta region should be compelled to comply with interna-
tional environmental best practices, to ensure the protection of the natural habitats. They should be held re-
sponsible for any negative impacts of all their operations in the Niger Delta Region (Obaro, 2012).
Therefore, the issue of marginalization of Niger Delta region, cheating, selfishness and economic parasite of
unproductive states, inadequate derivation formula, irrational politicking of the region’s natural resources has
among other social factors given rise to genuine Niger Delta struggle, leading to an unbeatable and incessant
youth restiveness in different parts of Niger Delta.
4. Ogba Theocracy: A Panacea to Niger Delta Youth Restiveness
In the second part of this discussion, I suggest that Ogba theocracy a principled government which has an em-
bodiment of religion and cultural ideology is the answer to Niger Delta youth restiveness. It is pertinent to note
that no one state or region such as Niger Delta or Ogbaland could be deluded to allow the control or monopoli-
zation of her resources longer than necessary, as this could result into clashes. Other reasons for proffering Ogba
theocracy or traditional government as a panacea to the causative factors of Niger Delta youth restiveness are as
follows.
5. Political Leadership
Ogba theocracy is an embodiment of impersonal and good leadership. Hence, the culture maintained: As a leader,
be it in the government, ministry or private sector or personal life, it is important to lead by personal examples.
We must humble ourselves before our subjects. It is only by so doing that we would be able to communicate and
understand their problems. A leader should always and at all times put on an impersonal character. The needs of
the subject should be considered first. A true Ogbaman will not be at peace until his subjects are at peace. Our
rest, peace and happiness are dependent on that of those around us. Starving your subjects, the youths, neigh-
bours, the proletariat or the so called commoners because you are privileged to be in a leadership position is un-
culturally Ogba and negates Ogba philosophy of impersonal leadership. The socio-economic set up in the Niger
Delta today whereby a government officer bathes himself with millions of Naira, while the subjects suffer in
penury is a deviation of Ogba socioeconomic culture.
True to Ogba’s culture, a hunter or fisherman who kills a big animal or plenty of fishes would not eat alone,
he would ensure it goes round as much as he could share it. Fellow Niger Deltans, if we can enthrone this cul-
ture in this country, particularly Niger Delta, I am confident that Niger Delta youth restiveness arising from in-
sensitive political leadership will be reduced to the barest minimum.
6. Economic Situation
Equally of note in the Ogba culture is sincerity of a leader to his oath of office and this enhances his sincerity to
the people. Thus, an Ogba person before the assumption of exalted traditional office in the community may be
given an oath of office which he must keep faithfully, punishable by the divinity when the oath of office is been
defiled.
Although, it is true that Niger Delta political leaders had always taken the oath of office before the assumption
of duty, it has become so ineffectual in the sense that the same leader who was empowered by an oath of office
vide the constitutional laws of Nigeria, always turn back to challenge the public through the same enabling law
over his misdeeds. It is a corresponding case of a scientific law, which provided a mechanical device for protec-
tion, only for the same science to provide another law which destroys the protective shield-what a double edged
sword. Many political leaders of the Niger Delta who were caught by EFCC over financial misappropriations of
U. A. Dike
215
huge sums of money have challenged EFCC through the same constitutions that brought them to office. What
this connotes is that we can no longer continue with the practice of a double edged obnoxious system in the
Niger Delta. Ogba cultural oath of office has been workable and has subsisted since ancient times till contem-
porary period. It is therefore a proffered panacea to youth restiveness in the Niger Delta in the sense that eco-
nomic and financial impropriety which is one of the causative factors to youth restiveness would be minimized.
Monies meant for youths’ resourcefulness, empowerment and creativity will not be carted away by office holder
without fear.
7. Oil Industry
The point being made here is that Ogba culture of self reliance, independent is a panacea to the youth restiveness
emanating from the mentality in which almost all the youths want to be employed by the oil company. An Og-
baman is resourceful, full of initiatives, committed to a positive goal, daring, adventurous and hardworking. At a
matured age, an Ogba person is not expected to be dependent on his parents, no matter how wealthy the parents
may be. Any act of parasital existence is frowned at and unacceptable.
The spirit of self reliance and independence upon parents in Ogba culture was exemplified by Christ at the
age of twelve years when he decided to leave his parents for the temple. As a youth, the tempo of his self re-
liance and his cosmological view of life in the King Solomon’s temple is worthy of emulation. The desire for
self reliance, self achievement and vocational independent of the youth is very intrinsic in Ogba culture and they
leave no stone unturned to exploit it. Therefore, since the government cannot provide varieties of avenues for
youth empowerment, self creativity, self reliance, resourcefulness and occupational independent, would it not be
appropriate to recommend Ogba culture of self reliance and independent to the youth as a solution to avoid
youth restiveness in the Niger Delta emanating from the desire of every youth seeking to be employed in the oil
company? I express the greatest optimism to recommend Ogba consciousness of self reliance, independent to
the youths of Niger Delta as a panacea to the problems in discourse.
8. Misplacement of Societal Values
Traditionally, Ogba theocratic culture laid more emphasis on the spiritual and social dimensions of human na-
ture and value. The culture set very high value on religiosity, the sanctity and dignity of human life, social jus-
tice, honesty, truthfulness, simplicity and frugality, consideration for others, respect for social norms and sanc-
tions. These societal values were veritable tools for moulding the characters of the youth for a better society. For
Smart there is no gainsaying about this hence he wrote:
There is no doubt that religions have been influential in moulding the ethical attitudes of the society they
are part of. Ironically, however, quite a number of those who profess these faiths either deliberately or ig-
norantly flout these moral prescriptions of their religions and hence, the social decay we found ourselves
today (John, 2009: p. 206).
In the given circumstance, we therefore recommend Ogba theocratic government in the Niger Delta, where
Ogba traditional religion and cultures would remould our youths for a better society.
Equally of note is the Ogba cultural spirit of service and love which was demonstrated by Christ and docu-
mented in the Holy Scripture. Christ consciousness was an embodiment and a continuum of Ogba cultural con-
sciousness. In the spirit of Ogba culture of love and selfless service, Christ relieved the need of others. Ogba re-
ligious consciousness therefore connotes self sacrifice for the welfare of all. In reality, it means good works for
the betterment of others. It requires personal sacrifice, self renunciation for the amelioration of others. Thus an
Ogba conscious freedom fighter will not use fire arms to eliminate the people he is fighting for, he will not de-
stroy their economic structures, he will not kidnap them, he will not abduct nor rape their children, he will not
constitute himself a nuisance and an obstacle to peace and harmony in the society. His sole intention is triple to
make the people live in peace, health and happiness in the community.
9. The Genuine Struggle
In Ogba theocracy to rob Peter to pay Paul is uncultural. An Ogba man does not reap where he did not sow. A
situation by which in the government of Nigeria today, the hen that lays the golden egg; the oil producing com-
U. A. Dike
216
munities are being marginalized, where derivation formula has become so twisted, inadequate and incommen-
surate to the revenue derived from the land is unculturally Ogba. In his Ali-Ogba. Ellah recalls historically the
derivation formula of Ogbaland:
When Ogbas eventually settled down in Ogba Land, they established a political structure marked by “King
and cabinet” the traditional cabinet posts reflect political offices, titles, rights, and privileges acquired by
different Onuobdos (Ellah, 1986: p. 460).
Different (Onuobdos) quarters, persons were awarded positions based on hard work. To this end, Ellah elabo-
rates that the Obosi people earned the title Ojoka defence minister of Ogbaland by merit. In like manner, other
relative titles were awarded to deserving quarters of the land. Hence it is obvious that derivation formula of Ogba
theocracy were each is paid according to production is the best and devoid of cheating.
10. Conclusion
Ogba theocracy is a form of government in which her principal organs are animated by religious values. Ogba
theocratic government is headed by the Oba. In governance the Ogba theocracy incorporates the divine Laws of
the Supreme Being, the ancestors and the deities. Socio-ethical values, such as honesty, non embezzlement of
public funds, professionalism, respect for elders, selfless service etc dominates Ogba theocracy. In this wise re-
searcher is of the view that such a refined contemporary system should be enthroned or acculturated by various
governments in the Niger Delta as a panacea to many societal ills found in the region more especially youth res-
tiveness which have become endemic in many sub Sahara Africa including the Niger Delta which we cite as a
case point. Ogba theocracy will fight against marginalization, cult of gangsters; it will give appointments and
resource control autonomy to deserving individuals, communities and states thereby minimizing youth restive-
ness in the Niger Delta.
Adamic sins which are still extant in our society today are problematic and devoid of positive knowledge for
furthers civilization, they are represented in this paper as “restiveness” which manifest in the society as greed,
adultery, fornication, political crisis, economic embezzlement, indiscipline, unlawful use of war weapons (AK
47, atomic bombs, dynamite etc.), assassinations, insincerity, misappropriations, unaccountability, inflation,
marginalization, illogistic and harmful discoveries or inventions etc.
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