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SOUTH UPDATE

Isoko foremost political group, IAN, gets new executives

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The new IAN Chairman, Chief John Paul Odhomor (middle), Vice Chairman, Chief Dickson Ebegbare (right) and Secretary, Hon. Oghale Ofremu (left) after been sworn during their meeting in Oleh, Isoko South Local Area of Delta State, recently

BY Iteveh Ekpokpobe

Christ very vicar, the ‘Pope’ is considered by Roman Catholics to be the apostolic successor of Saint Peter and earthly head of the Roman Catholic Church. His election was ab initio devoid of the elaborate rigors it is accorded these days.

It was concerns around political interference leading to reforms after the interregnum of 1268–1271 and Pope Gregory X’s decree during the Second Council of Lyons in 1274, that the cardinal electors should be locked in ‘seclusion cum clave’ (Latin for “with a key”) and not permitted to leave until a new Bishop of Rome had been elected. Conclaves are now held in the Sistine Chapel of the Apostolic Palace.

Since the Apostolic Age, the Bishop of Rome, like other bishops, was chosen by the consensus of the clergy and laity of the diocese. The body of electors was more precisely defined when, in 1059, the College of Cardinals was designated the sole body of electors. Since then, other details of the process have developed.

In 1970, Pope Paul VI limited the electors to cardinals under 80 years of age in Ingravescentem aetatem. A two-thirds supermajority vote is required to elect the new pope. It is always a world spectacle.

Like the conclave which births a pope, an elective session of the Isoko Advancement Network (IAN), the foremost socio-political group of Isoko extraction is everything thing to talk about. Reason is not far-fetched from the lofty height the group is held in the ranks of Isoko politicking.

In fact, one cannot discuss Isoko Politics without a mention of Isoko Advancement Network (IAN) just as a discussion of Nigeria without making mention of ‘Jamar Mutani Arewa’ cannot be complete, in appropriating a leaf from prolific columnist Eze Martins-hassan Esomchi, one would say that any attempt to do so is like talking about Chinua Achebe’s ‘things fall apart’ and forgetting Okonkwo the tragic hero.

The Isoko Advancement Network (IAN) is a brain child of Chief (Comrade) Ovuozourie Samuel Macualay, the Okiroro of Isoko Land, Patron, IAN. It was formed in 2006 when he enthused about the need to form a political pressure group to articulate the needs and desires of Isoko people. It was the desire of Macaulay that, just like other ethnic nationalities in Delta state, Isoko should have a common voice in local and national issues. The first meeting of the technical committee of the group was held at International Hotel, Oleh.

In specific terms, the aims and objectives of IAN as enunciated include, acting as a think-tank to Isoko politicians in government, providing moral and logistic support before, during and after elections, playing the role of a pressure group to articulate the needs of the Isokos in particular and Deltans in general, assisting members in their quest for political and economic power and standing as a bulwark for our political leaders.

The group has since been under the distinguished leadership of Hon. Mike Ogwah aka ‘Worldwide’, described by fiery activist, Barrister Duncan Afahokor of ‘Umeh Need Road’ Fame, as one who led a template for political leadership in Isoko for all other groups to copy. But as Madiba would say it is only wise that one should bow out to reflect on how far one has come after climbing many a hill.

Today, the most revered IAN has a new leadership for a two-year tenure after an election at Oleh, Isoko South Local Government on Saturday. It is led by taxation expert and chartered accountant, Chief Paul John Odhomor, referred to in many circles as ‘the black Pope of the world’.

Little wonder the election that saw him emerging as the most coveted Chairman of the IAN was a conclave. For like cardinals the members in a file, sauntered into the meeting, with solemn gaits depicting the sight of practicing Catholics after partaking in a holy communion.

Emerging from the conclave after a dispatch of the symbolic ‘white smoke’ (rather, random plates of pepper soups or Ukodo as known in local parlance and sweaty bottles of drinks in all assortments) which traditionally announces the emergence of a new Pope, the new chairman promised a new chapter of activism, purpose and accountability, stressing that the new executive would ensure that IAN remains relevant as a foremost socio political group in Delta and State and Nigeria in general.

Others elected include, Chief Dickson Ebegbare (Vice Chairman), Hon Oghale Ofremu (Secretary), Dr Aloy Okpelogbo (Assistant Secretary), Hon Sunday Elueni (Financial Secretary), Hon Harryman Okoro (Treasurer), Comrade Felix Ofou (Publicity Secretary), Hon Daniel Tutumor (Welfare), Prince Sunny Uthoro (Chief Whip) and Chief Goodluck Idele (Auditor).

Meanwhile, the following were appointed ex-officio members: Hon. Mike Ogwah, Prof. Sam Aghalino, Dr (Mrs) Evelyn Aluta, Chief Emmanuel Edevor, and Sir Patrick Ferife.

Reacting to the development, former Secretary to Delta State Government, Comrade Ovouzourie Macaulay congratulated the newly elected executive of the Isoko Advancement Network (IAN) with a call on them to continue to pursue causes relevant to the development of Isokos in Delta and Nigeria in general.

Macaulay, who is the Patron of the group, urged the new executive to be unrelenting in rallying Isoko people for the common good as well as speaking for the voiceless, including seeking justice for the oppressed.

“Do not forget the very reason for setting up the IAN. It is not for the celebration of birthdays and other parties. This group was formed to rally our people for the common good. You are to be the voice of the voiceless, strive for a more equitable society and ensure justice for the oppressed” he advised.

In particular, the former SSG urged IAN members not to relent in their support and pursuit of justice for the late Miss Elozino Ogege, a 300 Level student of Delta State University, Abraka, who was brutally murdered for alleged ritual purposes and for which five persons are on trial for complicity in the crime.

Macaulay, acknowledged that IAN has provided strategic support for the deceased family, including resetting them to a relatively safer location and legal services, but advised them not to give up until justice is achieved.

“I know we all have contributed a lot towards this cause. We have spent a lot to relocate the family to a safer place. So much was spent on getting the autopsy. We are also providing legal support. But I urge everyone not to be discouraged. We should sustain the tempo until achieved. The essence is to send a clear message that you cannot kill an Isoko son or daughter and get away with it’, he declared.

As encomiums continue to pour in, erudite scholar of History, Professor Samuel Ovuete Aghalino also congratulated High Chief Paul John Odhomor on his emergence as the new National Chairman of Isoko Advancement Network, IAN.

Professor Aghalino who is the immediate past Chairman, Governing Council of the College of Education, Warri asserted that, the emergence of Chief Odhomor the Okobaro of Ellu Kingdom clearly underscored his uncommon intellect, vision, vigour, and utter commitment to both IAN’s goals and Isoko agenda.

He described Odhomor as a dynamic man with rich reservoir of knowledge, experience and proven track record in politics and public service who has remained a resilient torchbearer of harmony even as he stated that Chief Odhomor is mentally acute, ideologically consistent and morally incorruptible to reorganize and strengthen IAN for social and political responsibility and relevance.

He expressed hope and optimism Odhomor’s vibrancy, astuteness, resourcefulness, sagacity, courage and, visionary leadership would be brought to bear in piloting the affairs of Isoko Advancement Network and the actualization of its aim and objectives, and the advancement of the Isoko cause.

Aghalino also commended him the group’s patron and former Secretary to the Delta State Government for his selfless, charismatic, and progressive leadership qualities and abiding support adding that Macaulay’s avowed commitment and open-mindedness have made it possible for the people of Isoko to see and rally round him as a leader.

In nutshell, it is said that to whom much is given, much is expected. The Odhomor led executive is not an exception. As the eulogies and felicitations may not cease to flow, so also will the expectations be. Nevertheless, the Pope now at the helm of affairs is a known gun surrounded by defined marksmen, hence the tendency of missing a shot will be almost impossible. Let us and watch and pray!

 

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SOUTH UPDATE

Amnesty Programme profiles 308 beneficiaries for employment

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The Presidential Amnesty Programme is set to graduate no fewer than 137 persons trained in different vocational skills, its Official has said.

Three hundred and eight beneficiaries of the Presidential Amnesty Programme who had graduated from educational and vocational skills acquisition institutions within the country and offshore, have been profiled for employment in the public and private sector.

Some of the profiled beneficiaries have almost completed documentation for engagement by various organizations in a fresh initiative by the coordinator of Amnesty Programme, Prof. Charles Dokubo.

Towards this end, Dokubo created a Job Placement and International Development Partners Engagement Unit (JPIDPEU) on May 2, 2018, to facilitate job placement for beneficiaries of the Programme.

The 308 beneficiaries profiled for employment comprises 193 trained in vocational skills and 115 graduates of educational institutions. Among them are 28 delegates profiled for underwater welding jobs in oil servicing companies, 10 delegates for aviation crop spray pilot jobs; 25 delegates for catering services, hotel and fast food jobs and 175 delegates for other job opportunities.

This is just the beginning of an action plan of the Post Training Engagement and Job Placement units of the Amnesty Programme.The 28 successful delegates for underwater welding jobs in oil servicing companies are among 53 delegates profiled for selection after a data verification of 103 beneficiaries on the list of those trained in welding.

The Job Placement unit of the Amnesty Office has stepped up efforts at securing job placement opportunities for beneficiaries trained in catering, garment production and agriculture, on which it is partnering Life-ND, an agriculture-based project with a concept approved by the United Nations International Fund for Agricultural Development (UN-IFAD/Nigeria) Executive Board, and aims to integrate the youth into profitable agriculture in the Niger-Delta.

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SOUTH UPDATE

Makinde’s private sector experience will help Oyo – Gen. Abdusalami

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…As Ex-Head of State, Makinde harp on security

Former Head of State, General Abdusalami Abubakar on Thursday said that the private sector experience of the Governor of Oyo State, Engineer Seyi Makinde will help him in the governance of the state.

The ex-Head of State, who was on a brief visit to the Governor’s office, said that he was in Ibadan to attend an inaugural lecture of the University of Ibadan.

He congratulated Governor Makinde for his victory at the March 29 polls, adding that he was in the vanguard of encouraging the younger generation of Nigerians to take interest in politics.

According to him, Governor Makinde would bring to bear his wealth of experience from the private sector.

General Abdusalami said: “Let me congratulate you on your victory as the Governor of Oyo State. I commend the younger generation like you to go into governance.

“As somebody coming from the private sector into governance, you are coming with lots of experience in the private sector, so one can be sure that you will deploy that experience into governing Oyo state.”

Speaking to newsmen shortly after the courtesy visit, General Abdusalami stressed the need for government at all levels to provide an economic base for individuals with a view to tackling poverty and preventing many from engaging in criminal acts.

He said: “Each and everyone of us has a role to play in trying to pass any information that can be helpful to the security agencies. If you see any strange faces in your area, it’s your civic right to report that individual.

Governor Makinde in his remarks described Abdusalami as a father figure, adding that the visit was that of a father to his son.

Speaking to newsmen shortly before Abdusalami’s departure, Governor Makinde said that his administration was already taking security seriously adding that his government was already reviewing the security architecture of the state in order to draw up a formidable structure for peace and security.

He said: “Yesterday I visited the Oyo State Security Trust Fund Office because we are trying to have a deep appreciation of what we have on the ground; to know precisely how to go about the security of the state. We are in the phase where we are getting all the data to know the gaps. In a very short time, you will start seeing the changes in the security architecture of the state.”

According to the Governor, the incumbent government in Oyo state will not toy with the security of lives and property.

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SOUTH UPDATE

Fund Amnesty Programme adequately, Niger Delta leaders urge FG

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Niger Delta leaders have urged the Federal Government to adequately fund and sustain the Presidential Amnesty Programme to maintain peace and fast-track development in the region.

While reviewing the impact of the interventionist Programme since its creation in 2009, leaders of the hitherto restive region said it has helped to stabilize the security situation, increased crude oil production output and boosted the nation’s revenue.

This is just as they commended Prof. Charles Dokubo, Coordinator of the Amnesty Programme for his demonstration of passion and commitment towards achieving the objectives for which it was created.

Rights activist and respected Ijaw leader, Elder Timi Kaiser-Wilhelm Ogoriba, said the Federal Government should sustain the Amnesty Programme in view of its immense benefits to the people of Niger Delta and the nation’s economy.

“This programme has to stay. It has to stay because if as at yesterday your oil production quota was low, and because of the programme, it has become high, then you have to maintain the momentum. Thank God the people that are running the Programme are in tune with the ideas that formed the bedrock of the formation of the Programme”, Ogoriba said.

He added: “Prof. Charles Dokubo who has taken over from past coordinators and leaders is continuing the programme the way we want it; we have to be thankful to him. Some persons could have come and derail it. But there is no derailment. And because of the fact that the Programme is old enough, 10 years now, we have to be seen as improving upon it regularly, including its funding.”

 In the same vein, another Niger Delta leader Chief Anavs Sara-Igbe expressed joy that efforts of the initiators of the Amnesty Programme has yielded results and hope of the Niger Delta people for a better tomorrow has been rekindled.  

“We are beginning to see the impacts of the Programme in the region. For that reason, we need to thank President Muhammadu Buhari who in his magnanimity, found it very necessary to continue with the Programme. We thank all those who have been supportive to this Programme from beginning to this time. Particularly, we thank Prof. Charles Dokubo for his giant strides in uplifting the people of Niger Delta through training and empowerment. I think it is a very good thing that the government must continue. We are appealing to the government to continue this programme. This Programme is not only good for the Niger Delta people; it is also very good for the Nigerian economy. With this Programme, the economy is stable, and the Federal Government is generating more money”.

Also speaking, frontline Niger Delta activist, Chief James Evah, said leaders of the region were happy to see their sons and daughters being trained and empowered. He called for expansion of the Amnesty Programme to accommodate more persons.

“We want all unemployed youth in the Niger Delta to be part of the Presidential Amnesty Programme, and it is possible. President Muhammadu Buhari is in love with this Programme; he should inject more funds into it. Amnesty is giving its best to our people, and we want adequate funding. If that is done, the sky will not even be the limit of the Programme; it will be the beginning”.

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