DESOPADEC MD, Bashorun Askia Tasks INYA President On Peace Building, Conflict Resolution In Isoko

…Throws Weight Behind New INYA Executive…

-Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA):

WARRI– The Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC), Bashorun Askia Ogieh has tasked the executive of the Isoko National Youth Assembly, INYA to mobilise and engage the leaders, women and the youths on peace building and conflict resolution especially of the crises-ridden communities in Isoko ethnic nationality.

He made the charge at the Headquarters of the commission in Warri on Tuesday, January 12, 2021 when the executive members of the Isoko youth body led by the President, Comrade Amos Ogbokor-Etaluku paid him a courtesy visit.

Bashorun Askia observed that, “there is a new wave in the Isoko Ethnic Nationality that is alien to us, where it’s coming from, I do not know, it is very alien to us. The Isokos are known to be brothers keepers. The Isokos are known to be good neighbours. The Isokos are known to be very religious, a pious one at that. The Isokos are known to be very sociable. We are known to be very civil. Yes, we may be republican but in all of these, we are known to be very responsible and peaceful people. These are what are known of the Isoko people for ages past, but suddenly, in the recent past, the narratives have changed, and it’s very worrisome that the narratives are changing not for good but for bad,”

“So Mr. President of INYA, I must say that the task is much on you, on your shoulder to bring the youths together, to pass on the message, there is need for us to be at peace with ourselves. There is need for us to be at peace, you have to talk to your members, if it is possible move from clan to clan, from village to village, sensitise them, that they should not make themselves available as tools for this war.

“You must find a way out to talk peace. Mr. President I want to have your commitment on this. You can work with me and I will work with you on way out to get this thing off. In terms of the logistics I will be available because I need peace in Isoko.”

Continuing, Bashorun Askia said, “Everything about my relationship with you people as at now is hinged on the peace process in Isoko. I am pained, the narratives out there is not good for us, please, help me, and let us do something to change the narrative.”

The DESOPADEC boss who assured the foremost Isoko youth body of the Commission’s continued support said, “Your our visit is timely, I am happy that you came, and DESOPADEC under my watch will continue to cooperate with you because like I said from the beginning that I am aware of the elections that produced you and your Exco and I know it was free, fair and credible, and very genuine and I know for you as Mr. President that I have always known all over the years, is that you have the capacity, and that is why I am saying that capacity I know of you before, this is the time to demonstrate it on the issue of the peace process”, he added.

In his remark, the president of INYA, Comrade Ogbokor-Etaluku said the purpose of the visit was to thank the commission’s Managing Director for the role he played in ensuring the emergence of the newly elected executive, the support to the assembly, the unprecedented development being witnessed in Isoko nation and to assure him of the unstinted support of the Assembly in the delivery of concrete dividends of democracy as enshrined in the mandates of the Commission.

Present during the visit were apparatchiks of the Commission including Chief Lawrence Eduje the Chief Security Officer of the Commission, Chief Obaro Godspower the Isoko South Chairman of the PDP and Chief Prosper Edo Special Assistant to the Delta State Governor on DESOPADEC Matters.

WHAT NEW INYA PRESIDENT MUST DO TO CHECKMATE COMMUNAL CRISES IN ISOKO LAND, BY BASHORUN ASKIA OGIEH

(Being the extempore speech by the Managing Director of Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC), Bashorun Askia Ogieh, on the occasion of the vourtesy visit by the Executive Members of the Isoko National Youth Assembly led by the President, Comrade Amos Ogbokor-Etaluku on Tuesday, January 12, 2021.)

The president of INYA, and his executives, let me formally welcome you once again to the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC.

Like I said earlier, I am aware you have been making efforts for this visit, and here we are today at the DESOPADEC, and I have listened attentively to you on the reasons why you came. I must thank you for all the encomiums that you have heaped on myself and the Commission, it will only spur us to do more because we will always stand by the truth, and we will always do that which will bring progress and development to our mandate areas at all times without fear or favour.

I am an Isoko man. I am a leader within the Isoko Nation in addition to being the Managing Director and the Chief Executive Officer of the DESOPADEC.

As the MD of DESOPADEC, I am privileged to have a lot of intelligence reports as to things that are happening around us, particularly the mandate areas. And as an Isoko leader, I am also opportune to know of the major events that are happening around the Isoko Ethnic Nationality. I am aware as of fact that indeed on the 13th of December, 2020, the INYA National election was held at Aradhe. I am also aware that the election was peaceful, and the election threw up a new executive. What I didn’t know was the full composition of the Exco. But I have been aware from reportage in the media that you Mr. President has emerged as the president of INYA.
That is why after you came on board, and the interim administration made an introduction to me of the new henchman we commenced immediately… Well, I appreciate that you have appreciated the level of physical development that we have brought to the Isoko axis of our mandate areas. It is my wish that we will do more for the Isoko people and indeed every other ethnic nationality within our mandate areas.

To bring about development you need an enabling environment, and one key area for an environment to be enabling is peace. We need peace in every area to be able to access, to be able to think for them as to what they will need, to be able to interface with the leadership, and other stakeholders, to be able to take our projects to these places, and get our contractors to be able to be on site. Where there is no peace, where there is crisis, you cannot develop that area, and so, it is our desire, and now that we are here, we have to request from you because the youths are critical, and very necessary partners when you talk about peace and development.

There is a new wave in the Isoko Ethnic Nationality that is alien to us, where it’s coming from, I do not know, it is very alien to us. The Isokos are known to be brothers keepers. The Isokos are known to be good neighbours. The Isokos are known to be very religious, a pious one at that. The Isokos are known to be very sociable. We are known to be very civil. Yes, we may be republican but in all of this we are known to be very responsible and peaceful people. These are what are known of the Isoko people for ages past, but suddenly, in the recent past, the narratives have changed, and it’s very worrisome that the narratives are changing not for good but for bad. Now, when you talk of Isoko land, anytime you talk of Isoko, the next thing somebody wants to hear is whether one town is at war with another. Whether one student in one of the schools there have been plucked for ritual purposes. It’s an unfortunate narration, and that it’s happening in our time makes it more worrisome.

Every tribe is moving from crisis to peace, and the Isokos are moving from peace to crisis, it’s not normal, this is not encouraging, and this is not Isoko.

My dear youths, there is a problem in our land and we need to come together to find a solution to all of this. I am particularly addressing this issue because when you talk of war and crisis, it is the people within the youth bracket that are always employed by the various communities to go into these wars. It’s a big problem, and its already affecting the quality of persons, or taking away the friendship of certain persons. Citizens of the crisis-ridden communities are beginning to be disenfranchised.

In the run off to the primaries of my own party, the PDP, because of the crisis in Isoko South, some communities fighting against themselves; the very brilliant candidates, or aspirants that were coming out of from some of those communities were all set aside, not because they were not fit and proper to go for the race, but because we were fashioning out a way to make you know… so it can serve as a deterrent to make them feel the pain of the crisis, hence every aspirant in those areas were asked to drop off the race.
The consequences are not too good, the signs are not good. We are by our own making denying ourselves of the services of some of the very brilliant brains in our midst because of our war mongering. Why would the Enwhe people and the Igbide people be at perpetual war? A gentle man was introduced there as Enwhe, you are Igbide, you are in the same exco, don’t you talk about it? Doesn’t it bother you? How do you drink and eat together, when your folks are at war at home, when the boys at home are being armed by the various communities to kill themselves over lands, land, a God given wealth, the lands that our fore fathers have been tilling over the time and handed over to us, and we will leave behind for the generations that are coming behind us? Must we kill ourselves? The other axis of Emede, they are at war with them again, houses are being burnt, people are being roasted, they were using trucks to carry corpses of people, and the social media is awash with all of these barbaric ways that we have turned out to be.

As an Isoko leader, I weep for Isoko people. I weep for our land. I have not actually resumed officially… I decided to see you people today to pass on this message, to harp on it very seriously because I think the time for peace is now! Thus, we must stop the carnage. We must stop the war. We can’t continue this way, you can’t allow yourselves to be used as youths. Yes, population is exploding, and land is not expanding but then, technology is making us to have more yields, better yield from less acreage that can still take care of the population, so why must we fight ourselves, why must we kill ourselves, why don’t we embrace technology; I am sad.
When there is call from home, the first thing I want to ask is “I hope all is well, which town again?” Oleh and Ozoro, eleven persons were slaughtered, families, father, mother, and children slaughtered, pregnant women slaughtered. People who just went to farm, because we are fighting over land, how long would this continue?
So Mr. President of INYA, I must say that I do not envy you because you are coming in at a time of crisis, and the task is much on you, on your shoulder to bring the youths together, to pass on the message, there is need for us to be at peace with ourselves.
There is need for us to be at peace, you have to talk to your members, if it is possible move from clan to clan, from village to village, sensitise them, that they should not make themselves available as tools for this war.
There is no amount of money that will bring back the life of every human being that you shed his or her blood. We do not need to shed blood. I am troubled. I am pained, that the Isokoland that is known to be very peaceful, the land where we practice so much Christianity, we pride ourselves that the Bible dropped there, we pride ourselves as good gospel songs singers, the early preachers were raised from the place, missionaries; that land is flowing with the blood of humans, this is not Isoko.
I want you to think properly, I want you to work on this, I want you to carry out this advocacy. Go on an advocacy mission, move from clan to clan, you need to do this for me, you need to talk to your age grade, these people you are leading now, let them know that there is sanctity of life.
This is sacrilege, you don’t take the life of another human being no matter the level of provocation. You must find a way out to talk peace. Mr. President I want to have your commitment on this. You can work with me and I will work with you on the way out to get this thing off. In terms of the logistics I will be available because I need peace in Isoko.
We cannot bring development to the place in the way that place is now, contractors cannot go to site in a war torn place. Before you know it, other ethnic groups will just surpass you, nobody is going to wait for you. So the key issue I want to talk about today is just this peace. How do we turn the clock round again back to our normal peaceful dispositional ways we have been known with?
In the time past when there are crises elsewhere they come to Isoko and take people to preach peace to the people but now we are at the receiving end, we have become a laughing stock; nobody listens to our kings again, the chiefs, they don’t listen to them, our women are running from their houses, and suddenly becoming refugees in their own land, a lot of them did not celebrate Christmas and New Year in their various homes.
The problem in Igbide and Emede is not abating yet, every time people are running, it shouldn’t be so. Now that you are president of INYA, a lot are on your hands, you need to make the people believe you, and you need to make them have confidence in you, that there can be an Igbide man that can be of peace. We know that place to have very peaceful and wonderful leaders that have led the Isoko Nation, that are patrons of the Isoko Nation. Maybe, just fashion a way, whether you talking to the leadership of various communities, and then talk to the youths, may be you need to cry to the leaders, so that they don’t send the youths again, and the youths should not make themselves available to be sent to senseless wars.
Land? Where are you taking it to? We met the lands, and we are going to leave the lands. Mr. President, you are very familiar with my aides, I want to say that I want you to have unrestricted access to me any time of the day, we need to work together, particularly, on this issue of finding lasting peace to the Isoko Nation, and I am saying that the cost implication, the logistics that will be needed, I want to partner with you in that aspect, so you must hit the road, let me see an action plan, let’s think through it, so that you can hit the road, and the time to hit the road is now!
All the issues you have raised, support for you to complete your INYA house, taking you to His Excellency, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, and remembering your organisation in terms of youth empowerments. All the issues are simple, and very doable, but I am going to hinge all of these on the key issue that I have put on the table. I want to see how serious you are in your ability to partner with us in this peace process, so that when you ask for my assistance in all of those areas we can flow seamlessly. You need to act now, my two lines are open, if you don’t have them I give them to you straight away, so that you can reach me at all times, reach all my aides, so that we can hit the ground running now.
I don’t want to bore you with more talks, everything about my relationship with you people as at now is hinged on the peace process in Isoko. I am pained, the narratives out there is not good for us, please, help me, and let us do something to change the narrative. Please, I will greatly appreciate, if there is nothing else that we are able to achieve in your time, if we are able to achieve this peaceful coexistence that we always have, that will surpass any other thing. It is not just for the social media, I need serious work, genuine peace process that will cut across all strata, the elders, leaders, the women folk, and the youths who are there making themselves available as an army that can be sent at all time. If you block that while talking to the elders I think we will have some peace.
And so Mr. President you are welcome, your visit is timely, I am happy that you came, and DESOPADEC under my watch will continue to cooperate with you because like I said from the beginning, that I am aware of the elections that produced you and your Exco and I know it was free, fair and credible, and very genuine and I know for you as Mr. President that I have always known all over the years, is that you have the capacity, and that is why I am saying that capacity I know of you before, this is the time to demonstrate it on the issue of the peace process. You are welcome Mr. President.

News Reporter
Blank NEWS Online founding Editor-in-Chief and Publisher, Albert Eruorhe Ograka, is a Graduate of Mass Communication. He also holds a Post Graduate Diploma (PGD) in Journalism from the International Institute of Journalism (IIJ).

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