...As Esan Okpa Promises to Tackle Unemployment, Massive Urban Drift
…Resolves Not to Play Second Fiddle to Any Groups
Names of high fliers in the academia, politics, industry and other professional groups dominate the list of members of different committees inaugurated by the President, Esan Okpa Initiative (EOI), Rt Hon Mathew Egbadon at a zoom meeting held at the weekend.
The working groups which also include retired senior military officers, prominent community and religious leaders, are expected to work out proposals on different thematic areas concerning the growth and development of the Esan people, who comprise the central senatorial zone of Edo State made up of five local government areas.
Explaining how the team was constituted, Egbadon, a lawyer and pioneer Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, says members of the committees who represent some of Esan’s brightest minds, were deliberately nominated to chart the path of development of Esanland.
“Assembled here are distinguished men and women who are not only exceptionally accomplished in their chosen professions but also persons who have demonstrated commitment to the cause of our people.
“The choice of this team was also guided by the pedigree of the individual members. This team represents an array of the big Iroko in Esanland.”
On the tasks of the groups, he asserts, “We have reached out to some of our brightest minds to assist to chart the path of development of Esanland in the 21st Century. It is important to begin to extrapolate our development agenda not just in Edo State and our dear nation, Nigeria but the world.
“We need to particularly chart a future for our people and particularly for our youth and women who constitute the bulk of the population of our highly resourceful and enterprising people.
“Like I said in my Christmas and New Year message, our highly resourceful people cannot play second fiddle to any groups. And that’s why we must fully equip our people to be able to compete and hold their own at any levels anywhere in the world. I have no doubt that this formidable team is capable of charting the vision for our people.”
Expressing regret at the abysmal lack of job opportunities and other openings for the youth which has resulted into some social ills now pervading the Edo central zone, Egbadon said there’s a need to work out modalities for the setting up of industries in Esanland not only to give hope and means of sustenance to the people but also arrest the high rate of migration that has bedeviled the area.
Decrying the waning of Esan language and culture, which threatens the survival of the people, he restated that something urgent needed to be done to prevent the language from going extinct.
“We must do something to arrest the massive migration and urban drift that has been the lot of our people. We also need to ensure that our language and culture do not become extinct like the 230 languages said to have gone extinct between 1950 and 2010 by the United Nations,” Egbadon quipped.
The UNESCO Atlas of the World’s Languages in Danger’ disclosed that between 1950 and 2010, about 230 languages went into extinction, revealing that a third of the world’s languages now have fewer than 1000 speakers left.
“In every two weeks, a language dies with its last speaker; that about 50-90 percent of them are predicted to go extinct in the next century.
“In other words about 600 languages have already gone extinct and most linguists have estimated that about 50 per cent of the world’s 6,500 languages would be gone forever by the end of this century.”
Inaugurated are members of the Esan Economic Development Committee, Political Strategy Committee, Esan Language & Culture Committee, Publicity & Media Committee and Esan Assembly Planning Committee.
Amongst important personalities unveiled as members of the five committees which comprise 15 professors, renowned professionals and community leaders, include the former Edo State Governor, Prof Oserhiemen Osunbo, the former Vice Chancellor, University of Benin, Prof Abhulimen Anao, a renowned Economist, Prof Mike Obadan, Professor of Constitutional Law, Mike Ikhariale, Sociology Scholar, Prof Philomena Ozo Eson and acclaimed Language & Linguistic Experts, Prof Ogbeide Omo Ojugo and Prof Julie Okoh amongst others.
The list also include frontline Chartered Accountant and former President, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Mr Emmanuel Ijewere, Prominent Businessman, Chief Ezekiel Anabe, accomplished Banker and former President, Association of Esan Professionals (AEP), Mr Mike Osime and Award Winning International Journalist, Mr Tony Iyare.
Prof Obadan leads the Esan Economic Development Committee which also has Anao, a professor of Accounting as alternate chairperson and a renowned Chartered Accountant, Mr Emmanuel Ijewere as member. Other members include Prof Christiana Okojie, Ms Patience Oniha, Dr Onoohomen Ebhohimhen, Engineer Charles Osezua, Mr Henry Egbiki, Mr Chris Ubuane, Mr Festus Onanokhua and Mr Rawlings Oseghale.
Heading the Political Strategy Committee is Chief Ezekiel Anabe, a prominent businessman whose tentacles spread from shipping, heavy equipment, automotive, oil & gas, agriculture and financial services. Other members include former Edo State Governor, Prof Osunbor, former Fellow, Human Rights Programme, Harvard Law School, Prof Ikhariale, Prof Friday Okonofua, General Cicil Esekaigbe, Rear Admiral Peter Ebhalemen, former President, Trade Union Congress (TUC), Mr Peter Esele and President, Esan Okpa Initiative, Rt Hon Egbadon. Others are Chief Lee Ikpea, Mr John E. F. Usifo, Mr Sylvester Ileomoh, Mr Efe Akhigbe, Dr Ebhohimhen, Mr Nicholas O. Itulua, Mr Tony Iyare, Pastor Itua Ighodalo, Rev Father Fidelis Arhedo and Mr Abdulkadiri Mukhtar.
Chairperson of the Esan Language & Culture Committee is a Financial Expert and Banker, Mr Mike Osime, who’s very passionate about the issue. To work with him are an array of Language and Arts Experts – Professor Emeritus, Omo Ojugo, Prof Julie Okoh, Prof Ekeikhomen Ejele, Prof Charles Aluede, Dr Sebastine Ehiagwina, Dr Judith Oremire Ehibor and Dr E. Joseph S. Uujamhan. Other members are Mrs Ose Ogun, Dr Celey Okogun, Mr Collins Okhueleigbe, Prince Mathew Ahianba, Mr Pat Ube and Rev Fr Peter Alli.
The Publicity & Media Committee which is chaired by an International Journalist and Development Expert, Mr Tony Iyare has Prof Myke Omoigberale, Dr Okogun, Dr Roseline Etiti Okosun, Ms Blessing Onojeide as members. Others in the team include Mr Jack Obinyan, Mr Ezomo Ehikioya, Mrs Peggy Ikhuoria, Barr Steve A. Egbor, Mr Chris Ogbeide and Mr Kingsley Okoirhon.
An accomplished Engineer and Vice President, Esan Okpa Initiative, Engineer George Okoyo heads the Esan Assembly Planning Committee which has Prof Ozo Eson, Prof Ejele, Prof Ikhariale and Prof Okoh, Dr Pascal Ebhohimen, Dr Okogun, Dr Roseline Okosun and Sir Onohiliaghe Aigbe Uduebor. Others include President, Ikolo Esan, Engineer Henry Ikheloa, Mr Steve Oboh, Mr Iyare, Mr Charles Omonaide, Mrs Louisa Eikhomu, Barr Steve Egbor, Mr Chris Ogbeide, Mr Kelvin Irefo, Ms Isemua Ighodalo, Engineer Frank Oriakhi, Engineer Obehi Okosun, Mr Peter Esele and Mr Kingsley Okoirhon.