Following his appointment as the commissioner representing Delta State in Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC, by President Muhammadu Buhari, Ogaga Ifowodo was hosted in a grand reception by the Isoko nation led by Isoko Development Union, IDU (the umbrella body and mouthpiece of the Isoko people) at Oleh, the headquarters of Isoko South council area, Delta State.
The event, which was well attended by several dignitaries including Mike Igini, former INEC Commissioner in Edo State, Felix Ogbaudu, Jones Erue, Delta State APC Chairman, traditional rulers, businessmen, politicians, social media advocates, etc, has its Special Guest of Honour as O’tega Emerhor, the governorship aspirant of APC in the 2015 governorship election in Delta State and was chaired by Joe Arausi.
The event began with a warm reception of Ogaga Ifowodo by the Otor-owho kingdom, the maternal ancestral root of the NDDC Commissioner at the town hall of the community in Isoko North council area, Delta State. While expressing his heartfelt gratitude to his maternal people, Mr. Ifowodo re-assured the community of his desire to leave a lasting legacy in NDDC and this sparked off a renewed hope for quality development of Isoko land and Delta State.
“I fought for the democracy,” he said, “during military regime and was opposed to the violations of human rights though my efforts were voluntary services. Therefore, if I have been called to serve and to be paid accordingly, you can be rest assured of quality and better services from me,” he added.
It may interest you to know that Ogaga Ifowodo, as the then Secretary General of Students Union at the University of Benin, UNIBEN in 1989, led the students of the institution in a three days “solidarity rally” following the call for a nation-wide protest by the National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) against the then Structural Adjustment Programme (SAP) introduced by the military regime of Ibrahim Babangida. Benin City was described as the epicenter of the anti-SAP riots due to the fearless manner the then 23years old Ogaga Ifowodo coordinated and led the UNIBEN Students across the city of Benin.
Meanwhile, Oleh community, the paternal ancestral homeland of Mr. Ifowodo had earlier declared a traditional holiday in honour of the NDDC Commissioner. The ceremony took another wonderful turn, when Anthony Ovrawa, the Omogha I of Oleh kingdom confined a chieftaincy title on Mr. Ifowodo as the “Ogba” (Champion) of Oleh Kingdom, after the entourage of the NDDC Commissioner arrived the palace of the traditional ruler in a grand style.
At the Oleh civic centre, the main venue of the grand reception, the Isoko people turned out in their numbers to rejoice and felicitate with Ogaga Ifowodo, the Ogba of Oleh Kingdom for bringing honour to Isoko land not only through his appointment as commissioner representing Delta State in NDDC but also for his reputable selfless services to restore sanity and dignity to the Nigerian State from the military era till date.
As the reception continued, the atmosphere was saturated with the joy, inspiration and exclamation that come with the success of freedom agitation and human rights activism, as Mike Igini succinctly presented the curriculum vitae of Ogaga Ifowodo to the large gathering of well wishers. Honestly, the “aluta” spirit in many of the attendees was rekindled and re-awakened for the pursuit of a better society.
Speaking, one of the attendees said, “the life of Dr. Ogaga Ifowodo has re-ignited my taste to fight for good governance and credible leadership for the betterment of our society and the common man. It shall be a guiding light and motivation to me henceforth.”
However, the peak of the joyous celebration was the ovation that engulfed the arena following the speech of Mr. Ifowodo, where he emphasised that “whoever was awarded any contract in NDDC and was mobilized for same but failed to execute the project is an enemy of our development and as such a wizard in our land.”
He advised persons and contractors that fell in such category to return to site and execute the abandoned projects for the sake of peace or be prepared to answer queries. He also assured the Isoko people and Delta State of his readiness to bring meaningful development as the Commissioner of NDDC representing Delta State pending the expiration of his tenure in office.
The event, which was a huge success, shall indeed redefine the political terrain in Isoko nation and provoke unprecedented level of development and credible representation across the land, which has been missing in the area for long.
No wonder the leaders of People’s Democratic Party, PDP in Isoko land were restless over the hosting of the reception by IDU. Hence, convened a two days emergency meeting at Asaba, the capital city of Delta State on December 6 and 7, 2016 and summoned the IDU President, Iduh Amadhe demanding that he backed out of the hosting. Though, the party leaders were turned down, the move was most mischievous, unnecessary, immature and unexpected.
It can be said that the Party leaders goofed because IDU is apolitical and non-partisan ethnic organisation, which serves as the umbrella body and mouthpiece of the Isoko people. The body can host any son of the Isoko nation, who has brought honour to the Isoko land like Ogaga Ifowodo, irrespective of his political affiliation. The PDP must eschew such divisive tendencies and politics of acrimony for the sake of development and peaceful Isoko nation.