Prominent citizens of the Niger Delta region were among those who bagged Gesi Publications achievement award for their outstanding contribution to societal growth and development.
Amongst those who receive the award include, Governor Douye Diri of Bayelsa State for effective management of COVID-19 award, Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State for sustainable development award, Chief Timipre Sylva for petroleum industry reforms/Bayelsa development award and Engr. Simbi Wabote, Executive Secretary NCDMB for man on mission award.
Other are Hon. Paulinus Nsirim, Information Commissioner, Rivers State for journalism development award, HRM, King Alfred Diete-Spiff, former Military Governor of old Rivers State for Izon icon award, Prof. Lawrence Ekpebu for Izon icon award and HRM, Ebitimi Banigo for Izon icon award.
Also among the awardees are Mr. Ayens Adogu, Bayelsa SEEFOR project coordinator for sustainable development award and Preye Inebaraton for Norman Morris prize for resourceful journalism.
The public lecture and award ceremony held in Yenagoa, the Bayelsa State capital was organised by Gesi Publications as part of activities to commemorate 18th year of consistently pushing the frontiers of journalism practice in Bayelsa State and the Niger Delta region at large.
Speaking as chairman of the occasion, HRH Bokumor Orukari, Amana-owei of Sabagreia recalled that 38 years ago former President Alhaji Shehu Shagari layed the foundation stone of Oloibiri Oil Museum but regretted that ever since nothing has been done on the project.
HRH Orukari therefore called on the Bayelsa State Government and the Federal Government through the NCDMB to ensure that the 38-years-old-dream of Oloibiri Oil Museum and International Conference Centre (OOMCC) become a reality, as according to him it the surest way towards industralising the state and Nigeria.
The royal father while congratulating Mr. Izontimi Otuogha whom he described as a young entrepreneur for venturing into private media business, however praised him for the remarkable feat achievement so far when others young men are literally soliciting for alms and becoming rampaging sea pirates in the creeks of Niger Delta.
In his remarks the co-chairman of the occasion, Prof. Lawrence Ekpebu who spoke on Leadership and Development in Old Rivers State under Commander Alfred Diete-Spiff-led Millitary Administration asserted that Millitary Administration of Diete-Spiff was able to achieve and conceptualised people-oriennted policies and programmes that stood the test of time because of the crack team of technocrats assembled as commissioners as well as the sacrificed brought to bear.
Ekpebu who was also the longest serving commissioners in that administration stated that appointments into offices should be based on capacity, competence and the ability to render sacrificial selfless service to fatherland rather than on political considerations.
Prof. Solomon Ebobrah, Dean Faculty of Law, Niger Delta University who delivered the lecture titled: “Deliberate and Sustainable Development of Critical Infrastructure in the Niger Delta vis-a-vis the Oil-Wealth Generation the NCDMB Example” noted that the right for the provision of basic infrastructure in the Niger Delta is contained the the Nigerian Constitution as well as the United Nations Declaration of Rights to Development.
Ebobrah noted that the undevelopment of the region is as a result of the failure of the government at the centre to live up to its responsible as well as sustainable and deliberate neglect of the area, stressing that Willink’s Commission report of 1958 aptly captures the fears of the minorities and the neglect of the region.
” On the Willink’s Commission report of 1958 on the Fears of the Minorities in Nigeria. The Commission simultaneously described the peculiar challenge of the terrian and record the fact of neglect by regional and federal authorities.
” Referring the Ijaw people, the Willink’s Commission noted that:” The country in which they live is divided by creeks and inlets of the sea and of the Niger into small islands…. their transport is by water and the construction of roads and railways would be prohibitiively expensive. Their is a country which, through no fault of man, has been neglected and which is unlikely ever to be highly developed,” the report concluded.