The Olu of Warri, HRM Ogiame Atuwase 111, has urged leaders in the Niger Delta region to deemphasise their personal interests and work together to tackle the various challenges facing the region.
He insisted that only collective action backed by sincerity of purpose would bring lasting peace and sustainable development to the region and its people.
The first-class traditional ruler spoke at his palace in Warri when he received the Interim Administrator of the Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col. Milland Dixon Dikio (rtd).
He decried the division among the people, particularly the leaders and stressed that the desired destination could only be reached with the concerted efforts of all stakeholders in the region.
“Our heads have been held down for too long. We have always been capable of greatness. The division among us have not allowed us attain the greatness we desire”, he said.
He charged Dikio, to use his office to unite people of the region, saying that “once the Niger Delta gets it right it would be easier for Nigeria to also get it right.”
The monarch said the region was blessed with many economic opportunities capable of changing the fortunes of the region’s economy beyond oil and gas.
“Everything that sustained our ancestors are still there, still valid. From palm, cocoa, fish and so on. All we need to do is to use the resources to grow our economy and make life better for our people”, he said.
He pledged the support of his kingdom to the PAP, especially Dikio’s vision of shared prosperity for ex-agitators using his Train, Employ and Mentor scheme.
He said: “In any way we can help to echo that message we will do so. We are here to support and encourage you”.
Earlier, Dikio pointed out many opportunities in the Niger Delta but harnessing them depended on peace.
He explained that the importance of Warri and the historical facts about the city and the kingdom compelled PAP to host a summit that would showcase the economic potential of the region
“We have chosen the path of economic prosperity and we feel that there was no better place to start than the great city of Warri”, Dikio said.
He also congratulated the Warri king on his ascension to the ancient throne and expressed optimism that the kingdom, under him would inspire others.