By Andy Esiet, Calabar
Fresh crisis is brewing in Niger Delta region over the non renaming of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) new complex permanent building after Pa Harold Dapa Biriye, an illustrious son of the region.
Rising from a crucial meeting, stakeholders and opinion leaders of the region under the aegis of Niger Delta Democratic Alliance (NDDA) have called on the federal government to immediately return and retain Pa Biriye’s name on the NDDC permanent building to avoid crisis.
A statement by the Chairman of NDDA, Comrade Success Jack and made available to some newsmen yesterday in Calabar said, “Pa Biriye’s regional leadership to national and global levels over the decades, his support and direction to the Obasanjo Government, in handling the Niger Delta question was the reason for naming the NDDC building after him.
“Consequently, Secretary to Government of the Federation and the Honorable Minister of Niger Delta Affairs should reflect this change on the building immediately, to avoid evoking the wrong emotions from our people.”
They said, “Pa Biriye’s stout patriotic posture which saw him leading the Niger Delta region pre and post independence, into alliances with other national leaders and regions, like Tafawa Balewa, Ahmadu Bello etc has not been given the proper recognition like his pairs and contemporaries.
“That owing to his very pivotal and critical contributions alongside others, to the independence struggle, the Niger Delta people should be seeing other National assets, facilities, Airports etc named after him as a way of immortalizing intellectual approach to agitation, engagements and crafting processes of national unity and development”.
They warned that “a stitch in time, saves nine” as “the Federal Government misses an opportunity to raise the volume on matters with greater potentials of enshrining the culture of peace, unity and development as against violence and armed struggle, especially, at such a time in our nation that violence in different shades and form, threatens our very existence”.
The group said the resolution of the Senate via Senator Seriake Dickson’s motion, over naming the NDDC building after Pa Biriye as it always have been, “is a step in the right direction.
“That Pa Biriye in whose symbolic shadows of national cohesion, unity and development, intellectual and ideological positions, upon which the Niger Delta agitation for fairness,equity and justice in the national inclusion equation has been standing for decades, needs a bold national endorsement”.