BY GBENGA OKE
It was a colourful weekend for Isoko indigenes in Lagos last weekend when they converged at Regency Hall, Ikeja to discuss ways to move the Isoko nation forward.
The Isoko gathering under the auspices of the Mr. Mike Ogwah led Isoko Advancement Network, (IAN) gathered for a programme tagged “Isoko Interacts”. It was an avenue for the sons and daughters of Isoko extraction in the government of Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan and at the Federal level to tell their people what they have been doing.
Among the personalities were Secretary to Delta state Government, Comrade Ovuozourie Macaulay, former Delta state commissioner for Information, Oma Djebah, Hon Tebite, High Chief S. Uredi, pioneer speaker, Delta State House of Assembly, Emmanuel Okoro, Deputy Majority leader of the House of Representatives, Rep Leo Ogor, Delta state commissioner for Lands, Survey & Urban Development, Mr Patrick Ferife, Special adviser to Gov. Uduaghan on security, Rear Admiral Kpokpogri, Chief Solomon Ogba, Member Delta state House of Assembly, Tim Owhefere, special assistant on media to Governor Uduaghan, Mr Felix Ofou, popular gospel artist, Sammie Okposo and the Ghetto soldier, Daddy Showkey.
Flagging off the event that day, Ogwah said: “We have come to the realization that where information is lacking, rumour is bound to thrive and today’s forum is to create an avenue for a regular flow of information between Isoko people in government and Isoko people at home and diaspora.”
The high point of the event came when the popular gospel artist, Sammie Okposo took the stage to sing in the native Isoko language. His action sent the gathering into frenzy.
Subsequently, the session flowed into an interactive session during which the people freely asked questions from the government appointees and dignitaries in government.
Fielding questions from journalists during the event, Mr Macaulay maintained that Saturday’s event was a unique one because the meeting made him realize government needs to be closer to the people to enable them have an idea of what government is doing.
His words, “One problem government continues to have is the fact that they distant themselves from people, so people are less informed about what government is doing. In Delta state, we have a town hall meeting that is being anchored by the governor at senatorial districts but today, we have decided to bring the meeting here to the Isokos in Lagos state to enable them know what the government is doing, we want them to have the feeling of government. The governor cannot be everywhere, but with meetings like this, we can hear from them what their feelings are and we will now tell them what government programmes are and I think that is the essence of government”.
On the alleged marginalisation of Isoko people which has been raising some questions, he said, “I am not keen in hearing anything about marginalisation. Today, Urhobo people will shout marginalisation, the Ijaws will shout, even the Itsekiri’s where the governor hails from will shout marginalisation, so it has become an order of the day. How are they marginalized? I am an Isoko son, what others are having, we are also having, nobody can have everything, on that basis, they can say they did not have enough but everybody can say he is not having enough but not marginalization”.
On his scorecard as the Secretary to Delta state government, he responded, “I am serving Delta state and not Isoko people alone. My duty is to ensure no part of Delta state is neglected, that is my work and duty. And it means that Isoko people will not be neglected as well”.
Speaking on the quest by the Isoko people for the governorship seat come 2015, he is of the opinion that Isoko people can be whatever they want to be if they speak with one voice.
“My idea on the quest by my people is that Isoko people can be whatever they wanted to be in 2015. What I can do to position the Isoko people is what I am doing right now. What they want to be is left for them. My own is to continue to preach oneness, unity and for them to come together to speak with one voice.
“They should extend relationship to other ethnic nationalities in Delta as well because no matter what they want to be, only one ethnic nationality cannot do it alone except being supported by other nationalities. If they think they can plan it alone, they are only making a mistake and I am sure they are aware of that”.