By Paul Emumena Michael
Let me begin this write up by congratulating my friend and newly elected President of the Isoko National Youth Assembly (INYA), Comrade Umuakpo Ovie and all the elected executive members. The victory of Comrade Ovie as well as that of his executive members was not a surprise, seeing how the Isoko advocacy family shown interest in the just concluded INYA elections.
A look at the electioneering period will reveal several pledges and promises that were made, which were channelled towards the need to get things right and give the Isoko Youths and ethnic nationality a befitting voice. Those that believed that the new President, Mr. Umuakpo Ovie was a sure bet and the best candidate were numerous but at the same time, were of the same ideology, bloc and political party.
As one with a discerning spirit, I saw the enthronement of a yoke that would take the Isoko youths ten years behind but after listening to Comrade Ovie one faithful night, I chose to stay neutral and let the will of the people prevail. From all he said that night, I was expecting a strong, formidable, united, selfless and nonpartisan Isoko youths body. Now, the elections have come and gone and Comrade Ovie has been sworn in as the President of the Isoko National Youth Assembly after his elections on Sunday 20th August, 2017.
There was jubilations and celebrations across Isoko nation and the social media, especially as a result of the successful conduct of the elections after a delay that was ignited by the unwillingness of the outgoing President of INYA, Hon. (Chief) Victor Egbo, who is also an aide to the Governor of Delta State, His Excellency, Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, to relinquish power having successfully completed his tenure. Honestly, there was a breath of fresh air and a relief that a new house of intellectuals and gifted youths, as it was preached, has been built. As a result, expectations of all Isoko youths and people went up to the heavens.
Unfortunately, the first move of Comrade Ovie on 23rd August, 2017, three days later after being sworn in, was a move that has not just triggered wide condemnable and raised suspicion, but has actually kick started a cold war, an ideological battle and a political strive among youths and leaders within the Isoko nation.
The President, Umuakpo Ovie in company of political associates, reportedly paid a courtesy visit to pledge allegiance to the Principal Secretary of the Delta State Governor, Hon. Hillary Obi Ibegbulem when he has not even met with leaders from Isoko nation.
Alas, some opposition political party members and leaders of divergent interests and ideology kick, “our fears have been confirmed, the Isoko youths have been mortgaged for self aggrandizement and political selfishness.”
This has currently raised nerves and I am not of a contrary opinion. I am not in support of fractionalization of the Isoko youths body, but I strongly frown at the first move of the President to monetized and politicised, a body that ought to be autonomous, independent and nonpartisan. Umuakpo Ovie has by that single move brought the entire Isoko leadership to a state of disrepute, as wisdom demands that the leaders of Isoko nation – cultural, traditional, social, security, political and economical – ought to be the first visitation he would have made.
In another vein, Ovie has revealed that he was sponsored to sabotage the advancement of the Isoko Youths body, that the likes of Chief (Barr.) Fred Obe, the Grand Patron of the body, is fighting to reborn, by monopolising it to satisfy political yearnings and desires.
There is no gainsaying that Comrade Ovie has already headed the very wrong path, where the youth body have been threading for over a decade now; a path of self glorification, self enrichment, self promotion and self pursuit; a path of mediocrity, shame, mockery and ridicule; a path of crisis, conflict, fractionalization and rebelliousness; a path of political negligence, national abandonment, marginalisation and lack of development; a path of voicelessness, indecisiveness, incompetence and lack of visionary leadership.
Thoughts of how the Isoko nation will be taken aback and excluded from the scheme of things as well as not taken seriously in Delta State, Niger Delta and Nigeria as a whole for the next two years or so, is wrecking and devastating. How we degenerated so low and unpatriotic is totally unimaginable. Our selfish interests is always overriding our collective interest as a people. Obviously, the opportunity to redeem the image, voice, vibrancy and foresightedness of INYA is almost defeated because of our flair for political gangsterism. This is totally wrong and condemnable.
Being that as it may, I know that things can still take a different and the right turn but this is dependent on the willingness of Comrade Ovie and his political associates jettison all their lusts and ego for the sake of a better Isoko nation. Otherwise, the Isoko people should be prepared to resist every attempt to politicise, monopolise, monetise and compromise the leadership of Isoko youths for whatever reason as the implications would be alarming and detrimental to our development and growth.