An Ijaw leadership group on Wednesday called for a review of the leadership process to ensure that those who occupy public offices are answerable and accountable to the people.
The group, G24 Embaa, sara Foundation, unveiled its plan at a one-day summit on Visionary Leadership, Good Governance and Sustainable Development in Bayelsheld in Yenagoa.
Speaking at the event, Chairman of the group, Chief Amba Ambaiowei, said the organisation was made up of Ijaw people who are concerned about the underdevelopment in Ijaw land, and believe that the people deserve improved social amenities.
He said that although the group was non-partisan, it would ensure that those who have shown poor leadership in the executive and legislative arms of government are not voted into office as the group would scritinise the competences of ijaws seeking public office.
“There should be no imposition of candidates on the electorate by any Governor or political party, the popular candidates by the choice of the people should emerge. We want a change and for a change, we stand,” Ambaiowei said.
Also Mr Inuruo Wills, a former Commissioner in Bayelsa and Co-Convener of the group, said that the group was developing the Ijaw Nation Code of Ethics, Leadership and Governance which every prospective public office holder must subscribe to.
He said that the group was also interested in building the leadership capacity to prepare Ijaw people for leadership positions.
Speaking on the Theme, ‘Keys to Visionary Leadership, Good Governance and Sustainable Environment’, Rev Nnimmo Bassey, a renowned environmentalist, noted that oil and gas exploration and production had distorted the biodiversity of the Niger Delta region.
He said that the environment had suffered because lack of leadership with interest of protecting the environment as well as weak regulatory environment which has led to ‘ecocide’, destruction of the natural ecosystem.
He maintained that oil exploration had adverse consequences on the environment and was not sustainable, adding that efforts were not made to deploy the oil resources to conserving the environment.
“Oil production depletes environmental resources, for every barrel of oil, there is over 13 barrels of toxic effluents that comes from the oil wells and nobody gives account of these wastes which the oil firms discharge into the environment.
“How has the 13 percent derivation acruing to the oil producing states been utilised ?, what we see is that the resources are used to develop the urban centres while the rural areas are left behind to wallow in abject poverty.
“The attitude of our leaders in the Niger Delta region has made the environmental component of the Petroleum legislation to be at the background rather than the forefront.
“We have about 6.5 million people involved in fishing-related activities threatened by the oil industry which employs some 5,000 people, our leaders should think of the jobs of the majority and channel resources to developing renewable energy,” Bassey said.
He said that there is no future for fossil fuels which will be depleted in a few decades since the world had moved, making advances and developed cars that run without oil.
Bassey called for attiduninal change by the people in the Niger Delta, to refrain from pipeline vandalism, oil theft and illegal oil refining which further degenerates the environment.