In the cardinal directions, we have the East, West, North, South. Nigeria is divided into six geopolitical zones, North Central, North East, North West, South South, South East, and the South West.
According to Wikipedia, “The Niger Delta is the delta of the Niger River sitting directly on the Gulf of Guinea on the Atlantic Ocean in Nigeria. It is typically considered to be located within nine coastal southern Nigerian states, which include: all six states from the South South geopolitical zone, one state (Ondo) from South West geopolitical zone and two States (Abia and Imo) from South East geopolitical zone. Of all the States that the region covers, only Cross River is not an oil-producing State, after boundary adjustments that cost it wells.
Niger Delta is a very densely populated region sometimes called the Oil Rivers because it was once a major producer of palm oil. The area was the British Oil Rivers Protectorate from 1885 until 1893, when it was expanded and became the Niger Coast Protectorate. The Delta is a petroleum-rich region, and has been the centre of international controversy over pollution, corruption, and human rights violations.”
A couple of days ago, I was on Google carrying out some search on Niger Delta, and one of the searches involved a fisherman at sea with his nets and his catch, but I was stunned at the discovery I made and became heavily burdened with it.
All I saw were images of militants, oil spillage, riots, and various forms of youth restiveness and killings of various levels and this is worrisome. Of every 10 images shown 9 were not telling good stories of the Niger Delta and this is alarming and hugely embarrassing, since I am of the Niger Delta Region and I happen to know quite a number of persons who are of the same region as I, who are making positive impact in the Niger Delta.
I also know that there are talents and creatives who are not miscreants and wayward as the Internet seems to portray us, and it is sad enough that we are all lumped into the crop of unproductive indigenes and residents of the Niger Delta region.
People always flinch twice when you introduce yourself as a Niger Deltan and often times they go as far as calling you a “militant”, though they painstakingly infuse laughter into the sentence to make it end on a lighter note, but deep down somewhere in the inner crevice of their minds, they already have a preconceived conclusion or idea of you and they do business with you with less trust and unhealthy suspicions.
I am an indigene of Rivers State and I know how sad I become when I introduce myself to be a resident of Port Harcourt and silly remarks with an undertone of prostitution and laziness would be made, thereby making me wonder how that impression came to be.
I believe this is one of the problems of the single story and gruesome generalization, and I can say it is a huge problem which should begin to receive attention in a bid to debunk, rewrite this story or in majority of the cases, bring the true story or narrative to light – to the view of our neighbouring communities and the world at large using the medium available to us, the world wide web.
On rewriting the Niger Delta narrative, all hands has to be on deck, we have to wipe off the bad image we have as a region on the internet if we are to attract investors and more business oriented individuals and organizations.
Truth be told, if we do not tell our own stories, those who do would not always tell good stories of and for us as we have seen.
The Internet is a very vital tool and whatever is been said of someone or something or a group of persons on the Internet is widely believed, true or not. And this has left a mark, which could take so much effort to erase.
We all should contribute towards rewriting the Niger delta.
Assuage your curiosity; take a trip to Google, key in on the Google search space “Niger Delta”.
I belong to the Niger Delta Region by social or national stratification, I am a thinker, I am a creative and I am not lazy, I get offended when I hear the direct opposite being said about us.
Please send your comments to maureenAlikor@gmail.com