Saturday, 14 December 2013

Decade Blogs - Tolu Oloruntoba - Royalties at the end of a river

Decade Blogs
In Royalties, for my decade of blogging, Tolu Oloruntoba looks at a source of constant conflict in Nigeria from the history linked to an explorer who perished far from home to those who for exploitation perish in their own lands.
We are left with questions about rights; the rights of ownership in conflict with the rights to exploit without which the resource is a meaningless deposit with much potential yet undiscovered or wasted, so is the capacity we have to express our thoughts, some written and others left unknown how do you determine the royalties between expression and silence?.
Tolu Oloruntoba uses the Twitter handle @ToluOloruntoba, I guess his royalty check is in the post. Thank you.
Who owns the oil river
and the carbonaceous secrets of the Delta?
Why, the guys upriver, of course,
in silenced Sahara marshes,
saving in these banks for others to take;
Adamawas eaten by the river rising, oily;
And poor old Mungo,
at the end of his Niger at last,
in disillusioned increments we cremate, in pistons,
with forgotten insurrections and dynasties,
hunters, hunted, fishers and fish
writing themselves into strata of future,
beneath our feet.
You didn’t know?
It ends in fire.
Postscript
1. Geography teaches us about the millennia of deposits it really takes to create crude oil, thousands of feet down. Who, then, in our case, should really get Nigerian oil royalties? The Niger Delta, Federal Government, or all the highlands and places bypassed and collected from? At any rate, crude oil, like most other fossil fuels, is a legacy of bygone eras. Those who left it to us are long gone. It’s a pity we have to be so human in our squabbles to share it. One also wonders what we are laying down now, and what will be left of us, millennia hence.
2. Mungo Park, the Scottish explorer who died seeking the source of the Niger, is buried at Jebba. One can imagine how the circle of life would have brought him, eventually, to the end of his tragically shortened journey.
3. I have followed Uncle Akin’s blog for at least five of his last ten years of blogging. Here’s to many more, if only (we’re selfish, I know) to enjoy his sensitivity, cracking wit and depth of conviction. It has been an honour to glean from his uniquely fertile mind, and be moved by his thoughts, sense of justice, and bravery in the face of truth, triumph or tragedy. We cannot pay him enough, in glowing words or royalties J, for the bolstering of our conscience, and deposits into our soul.

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