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Published On: Wed, Aug 14th, 2013

We are Greatly Marginalised- Isoko Youth Leader

Comrade Lawrence Emuobonuvie Owhe is the President of Isoko Youth Warri branch

Comrade Lawrence Emuobonuvie Owhe is the President of Isoko Youth Warri branch. In this report he speaks on the gap between the leaders and the youths in Isoko community stressing that this has resulted in great marginalization of the youths in term of employment, empowerment and other social problems affecting the youths. He called for urgent attention in resolving the problems of isoko youths if not they will be force to do things that will make government to look towards their direction in due course. OGHENEKEVWE LABA reports
What did you think the Isoko youths are lacking?
The Isoko youths are the only youths in this nation that is lacking behind in all governmental activities. Isoko land is the second place in the federation where oil was discovered in 1957 in Uzere after Oloibiri in 1956. The indigenes are not feeling the impact in term of development from oil companies operating in the land. There is no sign of empowerment or development to show that this is the land that is flowing with honey and producing the golden egg for the nation. I will not say if the government is trying or there are some impostors up there that are hijacking what is due for the people of Isoko land. Before the Ijaws started benefitting what they are enjoying today the struggle started from somewhere. I will say at this junction that the resources coming out of Isoko land is enough to take care Nigeria youths at large. Unfortunately, we are not having any feeling of it.
Who do you blame over the marginalization of the Isoko People?
I blame the Isoko political leaders for the marginalization of the people. The political leaders have a cartel. Within the cartel there are leaders. My blame goes to the Secretary of Delta State Government (SSG) Comrade Ovuzere Macauly. I am blaming him because all other Isoko political leaders are loyal to him. Everyone in Isokoland look unto as a rallying point. But, unfortunately he seems to be running away from his responsibility.
The leaders of Isoko do not practice true democracy. There is no freedom of speech. We do not have access to our leaders who are up there. Anytime we want to see them in view laying our complains they will not give us audience. They do things within themselves. The SSG is the most guilty of this accusation.
Macauly has the right to query the member representing us in house of Representative Hon Leo Ogor. He supposes to be close to the grass root people. But he is not doing that. They only come to the grassroots people to demand for our votes. After getting power they forget about the people. You cannot get close to them.
In what area are the Isoko youths losing out and what do you want the government to do for you?
We want the government to empower us by creating job opportunities through establishment of industries,. The Isoko youths are not carried along on issues of youth activities. It is those that are not indigenes of Isoko land that are benefitting from the resources. It is a known fact that they do say we are blessed with natural wealth and we are suppose to be benefitting from it. We suppose to be getting it coolly the way the Ijaws are getting it coolly. But the case is the reverse as the powers that be in Isoko community sat on our progress.
As a youth leader, have your organization ever met Macauly one on one and explain your situation to him?
God bless you. We have made several attempts to get across to him, but they were all in vein. We shuttle Asaba almost every day. My fourth car got spoilt in the process of trying to get in touch with him. We do go along with the President General of Isoko Youth Association Comrade Anthony Ogwalor. Anytime we get there, it is either he is in a meeting or he is not around. We have not been able to have any round table discussion with the SSG.
Have you made any presentation to him in writing?
We have forwarded various documents to him about our plight but there were no responses.
At this stage, what do you want the government to do for Isoko youths?
We want government to come down and listen to the voices of those in the grassroots. The voices of the apex and profound youths. Our demands ae filed up in the office of the SSG. This can be done through the assistance of Isoko political leaders in person of Comrade Ovusere Macauly. One of our demands has to do with the authentication of the youth body in Isoko land. The second one is to resolve the issue of factionalisation in Isoko youths organization that have been rampaging the youths. The third one is the -proscription of Isoko National Youth Movement which was outlawed by a competent court judgment. Unfortunately, the government is still operating with a proscribed organization known as Isoko National Youth Movement. It was because of this that the Isoko youths on November 19TH 2012 engaged on one million man match protest which resulted in shutting down the Isoko South and North Local Government area secretariats. The Isoko youth are ready to confront the government with our lives except they give us a listening ears.
Isoko land as an onshore oil producing area, what would you say you have benefitted from the oil companies operating in your area?
May God bless you. We have not benefitted anything from them. They do their things in clandestine manner.
Is it the oil companies or the leaders?
The oil companies, the leaders and some of the community people who are holding leadership position. What is happening in Isokoland is like a modern day slavery. You cannot query them. For instance, in the oil surveillance contract of which 5,000 slots is giving to the five communities of Isoko, Ijaws, Urhobos, Itsekiris and the Ndokwas We expected each ethnic nationality to get one thousand slots. But it was only one hundred slots that was giving to the Isoko community to guide pipeline that cut across the whole Isokoland. Can hundred youths guide pipeline in Isoko land? Because we were not satisfied with the slots giving to us, we wrote to the company Oil Facilities Surveillance Limited. We were later told that it was the SSG that collected the Isoko slots and we should go and meet him.
How many slots where you told the SSG collected?
Martin Utuedor who told us the SSG collected the slots refused to unveil the number of slots to us. He said we should meet the SSG.
Did you meet the SSG?
We wrote to the SSG but there was no reply.
What are your final reactions?
Our reactions are varied and voluminous. We are appealing to the International communities to assist us in any area they could to resolve our problems. We need liberation. We mean the human right organizations. They should look into our problem. We are not thinking of bursting pipelines. Those are minor troubles. We are getting prepared to create problems to get government attention.

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