In an apparent bid to cause confusion and further drive divisions among the people of the Niger Delta, President Bola Ahmed Tinubu has begun on a path of infamy by choosing to annoy and insult the people of Delta State and Niger Delta in general by renaming the Osubi Airport after a former military governor of Rivers State, an Ijaw from Bayelsa State and currently the Amayanabo (King) of Brass Kingdom in Bayelsa State.
Whereas there is an Airport in Port Harcourt, Rivers State, so fitting to be named after King Diete Spiff, yet the President chose to name that one after Obafemi Awolowo, a former Premier of Nigeria’s Western Region and decided to name the Airport in Osubi, Delta State, after Diete Spiff. What a way to annoy a people!
Benin Airport is correctly named after Oba Akenzua II, so should Port Harcourt Airport be named after King Diete Spiff, that is, if they prefer him to King Jaja of Opobo or the likes of the highly respected Melford Okilo.
Asaba Airport, if you may, should be named after Dr Dennis Osadebey, a former Premier of the Midwestern Region who hails from Asaba.
Then, Osubi Airport, which is situated in Urhobo land, particularly in the land of the Okpe People, should be named after Jereton Mariere, the first Premier of the Midwestern Region, former Chancellor of the University of Lagos and an Urhobo man from Evwreni, Delta State.
The Urhobo stock is not lacking in the list of prominent Nigerians. Once Africa’s richest man, Olorogun Michael Ibru and his younger brother, Olorogun Felix Ibru, former governor of Delta State, are Urhobo people.
President Bola Tinubu and his advisers must learn to respect the socio-cultural heritage and nuances of a people and their history.
Thus the misnomer in the renaming of the airports in Port Harcourt and Osubi is calculated to cause annoyance and provocation among the Ijaw and Urhobo people with a middle disaffection against the Yorubas, the name of whose reverred sage, Obafemi Awolowo, is used to achieve the agenda of cunning divisiveness among the people of the Niger Delta. This is such a wicked and insidious act that can only proceed from an insensitive government.
Of course the people of the Niger Delta know that they are already a conquered people by the Nigerian State. The natural resources of oil and gas in their lands are taken at will without their will to feed the Nigerian federation in such reckless disregard of their rights to development, safe environment, clean water, health, education and a minimum standard of living. When they protest, they are called militants and agitators hence, the region is presently the most militarised in Nigeria with a litany of human rights violations against the people by the members of the military Joint Task Force (JTF) who are now being accused as the main facilitators of crude oil theft in Nigeria.
But to rub the pain of oppression on the faces of the people of the Niger Delta by a deliberate distortion of socio-cultural sentiments by the APC led government of President Tinubu, to engender division among the people in the manner it has renamed these airports, is going too far for humanity to accept.
Therefore all well meaning people from all tribes and ethnic affiliations in Nigeria must condemn this callous provocation of the Niger Delta people by the Nigerian Federal Government.
Senator Ede Dafinone, in whose constituency this misnomer is taking place must lead the cause to reverse this act of government provocation against his people. He should take a hint from the time one administration, once recklessly renamed University of Lagos (UNILAG) as Moshood Abiola University (MAU). The stakeholders of that university vehemently resisted the name change until it was reversed.
Therefore, in the case of the Osubi Airport, all persons who recognize the sinister plot of the federal government to drive division must never refer to the airport in its said new identity whether in speech or writing until the hideous directive of the name change is reversed.
A Nigerian Citizen of the Federal Capital Territory, originally from Agbarho, Delta State, writes from Abuja.