RISKS, MYTHS IN A TRANSITIONING SUB-NATIONAL REGIONAL ECONOMY (CROSS RIVER
AND IMAGINATIVE GEOGRAPHIES OF NIGERIA
J. K. UKWAYI, R. INGWE , I. ANGIATING
ABSTRACT.- The emergence of an “international community” through accumulation of perceived risks that contrasts with those risks (of considerably lower levels of seriousness compared to those perceived) constitutes one of the interesting (or intriguing) subjects of risks and disaster studies surrounding the 9/11 era. The constructions of “imaginative geographies”, have frequently been biased in the practices that underlie the mapping of the foreign places tend to put-down the affected regions in their “paintings” for the global community. The latter are subsequently “demonized” in their ratings of competence for participating in world trade, tourism, travel, among other social/cultural, and economic and political activities. The objective of this article is to highlight how the exaggeration of risks (contrasted to actually existing/lived risks), practices that are frequently associated with such adverse “imaginative geographies” poses sub-national regional development dilemma in Nigeria’s Niger Delta. We trace the roots of adverse “imaginative geographies” of Nigeria to the Abacha dictatorship (1993-1997). Then we highlight the mixed characteristics of the Niger Delta conditions during the “return of positive image recapture” by Nigeria’s federal government (re-democratisation of the Fourth Republic, 1999-present, re-branding campaigns; as well as adverse conditions present. Most significantly, we show that despite these adversities, a combination of favorable geographical size, differentiation, sub-national regional security programme formulation and management taking aims at diversification have created “large oases” of peace and security in Cross River State, a part of the Niger Delta that has been completely unscathed by insurgencies of the nearby sub-national region and further away national origin. Apart from identifying sub-national regions qualifying for delisting from “adverse imaginative geographies” due to their unscathed security credentials/records, we argue for their subtraction from such “brown books”. Realisation of the latter requires vigorous campaigns that the “international community might be unwilling to undertake. However, we point towards sub-national regional tourism events that effectively re-map the evidences of security in the Cross River State.
Key words: Risks, Cross River State, re-mapping, security, “imaginative geographies”, Niger Delta.
ARTICOLUL IN INTREGIME