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Oil Globalization in the Niger-Delta, Rural Historic Environments, and Mortgaged Future: What do we tell the Next Generation?

Ukaogo Victor,


This study analyzes the ways in which globalized oil extraction in the Niger-Delta results in the loss of cultural heritage of the people which is a critical asset for the well-being of the present and future generations. It explicates the ways in which the oil-ecology nexus in an oil producing, multi-ethnic developing country like Nigeria, could threaten sustainable development now and mortgage the future of the next generation. The study examines the local and transnational- alliance dynamics and ambiguities underpinning the inevitable reality of denying the future generations of their heritage and the prospects for resolving the contradictions occasioned by oil-related cultural drawbacks in the Niger-Delta. The ‘Hangzhou Declaration’ of 2013 was unambiguous in its advocacy for culture-driven development for human survival. The Declaration affirmed the ‘role of culture as a system of values and a resource cum framework to ensure sustainable development, thus the need to draw from the experiences of past generations, and the recognition of culture as part of the global and local commons for creativity and renewal’. Therefore, if sustainable development approximates to ‘development that meets the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet theirs’, it is crucial to discourage ecological destruction of historic cultural environments with persisting environmental scarcities that has continually fueled violent resistance in the impoverished enclave. The prospects for resolving the current crises thus lie in harnessing the past to create the future as well as promoting more ecologically sustainable patterns of oil extraction by global oil giants and the adoption of environmentally-friendly practices and attitudes by the locals for sustainable development to emerge. Keywords: Niger-Delta, Hangzhou Declaration, Culture, Oil Globalization, Sustainable Development.

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