–Blank NEWS Online (NIGERIA) –From Albert OGRAKA:
Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC, Bashorun Askia Ogieh, has enjoined youths in the state, especially in Isoko land to embrace peace and shun political thuggery, ahead of 2023 elections.
Bashorun Askia stated this in his remarks during the Isoko Youth Peace And Security Summit held on Thursday, February 17, 2022 at Opute Hall, Ozoro in Isoko North local government area.
He urged all Isoko youths and other stakeholders to painstakingly deliberate on the burning issues of insecurity in Isoko land, towards finding an all embracing, acceptable and workable solution that would endear sustainable peace and even development to the area.
While clamouring for sustainable peace, he revealed that DESOPADEC have been embarking on meaningful human, capital and infrastructure development, as well as partnering with youth bodies to engender peace in oil bearing communities throughout the mandate areas.
He however enjoined youths to change the narrative by taking decisive steps, devoid of violence, saying “These are no times for the drums of wars to be sounding in our clans; these are the times to be thinking of development, and we can only achieve this when we have peace”, Bashorun affirmed.
“Today we are gathered together as Isoko youths and other stakeholders who will do justice to the burning issues of insecurity in our land.
“Overtime, Isoko has transited from a warring nation to a very, very hospitable, friendly, and peaceful nation particularly when the book of God, the Bible descended from heaven into this land of Isoko at the Bible site at Araya. Since then, through the activities of the missionaries we have left our old ways and have embraced peace and the great religion of Christianity that to my mind has brought a lot of peace in our land.
“But very recently that peace has been broken by the quest of various individuals, personalities, and communities; either to expand their frontiers of the various communities and kingdoms and for some reasons I do not know. We have just discovered that the Isoko people have taken up arms at one point or the other, community rising against another community, something that was not known to us in modern times, and so I felt very agitated.
“Those of us in DESOPADEC have decided to partner with the oil bearing communities, particularly with youth bodies to engender peace throughout our mandate area, particularly as it affects me as Isoko man, because our agency is known for development and building of infrastructure.
“But we do know that without peace, without security, the atmosphere for the peace for the building of infrastructure will just not be there, and we needed peace in our land so that the needed development that we are yearning for as a people from government can be brought to us.
“Isoko land is one; it is only divided today for administrative purposes. The whole of Isoko stretching down to Bayelsa, down to Ndokwa East, to the North here we are all one; and we have done things in modern time as one. Your president was speaking of the crisis of Igbide and Ehwe, crisis of Igbide and Emede, Oleh and Ozoro, Igbide and Uzere, and Olomoro and Umeh in the past and continuously like that, we cannot continue to live that way.
“I recall when I was chairman of Isoko South Local Government Council, a lot of crisis were there that we inherited but we did so much to put them out, and we were able to bring back traditional rulers that were forced out of their kingdoms. At that time we thought we have had the worst moments and we are out of the woods. But in recent times I have discovered that we are still not out, but the worrisome aspect of it and why we have to collaborate with youth body is because we have discovered that it is the youths, this population that has a lot of energy, this population that mostly some of them are not having anything gainful at the moment, this population that some of them have not been able to find their ways through school, they are easily available to be used to perpetrate violence.
“We will soon be going into elections, and plenty of those that are being used in perpetrating the violence at times are mostly of the youth bracket and in most cases those who use us don’t have their own children in our midst. We need to think deeply and ask ourselves about the children of those using us to perpetrate this violence, are they partaking in this violence? It has got to a point where we need to make a resolution as a people, and ask those using us to bring their children to take the lead of perpetrating violence in our locality.
“That is why I have decided to grace this occasion today so that we can talk to ourselves and change the narrative of always picking on people’s children to cause violence in any form we may think of it. I just painted the one of the political front, but the most worrisome is this one of inter-communal crisis that the youths have been moving about for the past one week in talking to the various kingdoms. In the past, in the days of old, our kingdoms were frontiers to have a life space for our rulers to control but overtime we have come to the established and we now have known boundaries, our occupations are the same but we have known boundaries in doing all of these things. How come that people now leave where they have as their ancestral boundaries and are now rolling into other areas belonging to the neighbouring kingdoms and when you want to do argument over a mere piece of land we will resort to killing ourselves?
“We came into his world to meet these lands and we will leave this world someday leaving this land behind; why must we fight over this land? A fishing pond? That people will lose their lives? After the loss we still have sometimes to settle. As youth you can exhume some of the energy in you but it should not by way of violence, this energy can be applied to better productive avenues outside violence, and the fathers, the elders that are calling us out they have lived a better part of their lives for goodness sake, they have enjoyed their time. So why would they want to destroy you?
“We have so much ahead of us; we must meditate with these questions. I want you to identify those things that can bind us together so that we can have peace among ourselves. If it is because some of us are not gainfully employed, we should be thinking of how to do things that should give us employment. The commission I guide today, we are aware that a lot youth are perhaps not employable, some that are employable have not find the opportunity though; but for those ones that are not employable maybe because of skills, it led us into the establishment of the DESOPADEC Skills Academy, where we have taken people among the youths across our ethnic nationalities to train them in vocations that are useful to them. With such trainings they can now be employers of labour; they can now employ themselves and employ others. Let us key into some of these avenues that have been established by our agency and the state government that are training people every time to meet up with the various skills that we can acquire.
“We must take a decision for us as youths not to be used for any form of violence, and besides we must take a decision, we must resolve, we have to agree among ourselves that all those who to use us for the purpose of thuggery, for the purpose of violence should ensure that, first they must bring their family members, their children to the scene so that we can follow from the rear, if we have that as a resolution I think to a large extent the thuggery that we are seeing today will be minimised.
“If we insist that all elders who will call us to community town hall to say this community have done this to us we must fight back and they are beating the war drums saying come out let us go to the bush, you will tell that elder, that Oletu, that King, that chairman of community or President-general that yes we are going to the bush tomorrow, that your son Michael, he is available, he can just join us so that we go to the bush together. We must take this as a resolution so that anyone who believes that we must fight to keep a parcel of land, or a piece of fish pond, that person should lead with his children in front then we can follow from the rear, and may be when the bullets fly and he loses one of his children he will now know how it feels when you go to condole him, and not him coming to condole your father for the loss of his own children.
“It is important, let us try to deepen our friendship. I want to believe that when you have INYA, you are represented in every kingdom. I want to believe that if somebody like Amos Ogbokor gets to Uzere, Uzere youths should know him, and if the youths there get to Igbide or Emede they should know themselves. The essence is coming together in a relationship that can be so deepened, that will have bond that we can use for the development of the land, not the bond for crisis, bond for thuggery, bond for war.
“These are no times for the drums of wars to be sounding in our clans; these are the times to be thinking of development, how we can bring development to our clans to make it better than we met our communities, and we can only achieve this when we have peace, and so ladies and gentlemen I have come to reach peace, I have come to agitate our minds on the needs for us to come together and use our energy, the energy that God has given to us to develop it well, and use it for the purpose… Let us be tolerant, let us be Godly, it is not enough to say the Bible fell in Araya, the Bible is a book of peace, we cannot have the Bible descending from heaven at Araya and then that community around there will now be at war.
“I do know that we have a song called “Majovo, Emo-Isoko kpobi Majovo”, that’s what I want to leave you with.”
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