The immediate past deputy governor of Akwa Ibom State, Patrick Akpan Ekpotu has spelt out ways to permanently end the troubles in the Niger Delta, in his new book, 'Lifting the Perils'.
According to him, adequate attention, a sense of belonging and joint control of the resources derived from the area would help put an end to the recurrent crisis.
In a review of the book, the former President of the Association of Nigerian Authors (ANA), Professor Olu Obafemi, said Ekpotu offered critical discourse on the search for an enduring resolution of the Niger Delta warfare.
A former Director-General of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs and also a former Minister of Foreign Affairs, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi, said Ekpotu demonstrated courage in the way he tackled the problems.
"Ekpotu has shown immense political courage in confronting the issues raised by the Niger Delta conundrum," he said. "If there is hope for the Niger Delta and the future of Nigeria, it would be because of the likes of Engineer Patrick Ekpotu who confronted complex and dangerous issues and took the long and hard road of the public good. On the whole, this book should have a positive and salutary effect on a debate that is bound to be with us for a long time."
The Bishop of Sokoto, Matthew Kukah, also commended Ekpotu for revealing the injustice meted by foreign oil giants on the Niger Delta.
Kukah observed: "...I had actually been wondering the impact of these foreign do gooders and how we are reaping some of their sour fruits. But you have captured it in an excellent manner. Great stuff. Let me commend you for being a thinker who just happens to have become a politician. I do hope that the narrow and corrosive political space will not erode your sharp intellectual cutting edge. I wish you well and well done for such an excellent work."
Veteran journalist, Ray Ekpu, described the book as a bold attempt at finding solutions to the crisis in the oil-rich region. In his words: "The author has shown courage in sinking his teeth into the complex and daunting Niger Delta conundrum and attempting to provide a new road map, a new paradigm of peace and development…. He has traced the changing trajectory of the crisis, the devastation of the environment and the devastation of the human dimension, which includes killings and kidnappings.
"The strength of the book comes from the clinical, scientific analysis of the author, and from the richness of his imagination which is helped by the helicopter view that his official position offers him as well as the candour and lack of fear of being controversial or disagreeable."
Ekpotu, a Chemical/Petroleum Engineer, is a member of the Nigerian Society of Petroleum Engineers and a Fellow of the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE). In 2003, he was appointed Commissioner for Information, Culture & Ethical Re-orientation, Akwa Ibom State and served from 2003 to 2005.
At the emergence of Godswill Akpabio as governor, Ekpotu became deputy governor and served in that capacity from 2007 to 2011.