2nd Anniversary: Douye Diri inaugurates projects, launches Izon history book

Ijaws, worldwide, have been charged to rally around and give wide support to the Izon history book, “The Izon of the Niger Delta,” as part of a concerted effort to ensure the Ijaw language does not go into extinction.

The Bayelsa State governor, Sen. Douye Diri, gave the charge while launching the book as part of the events to mark his 2nd anniversary in office with the inauguration of road projects in the state amid jubilation.

Tribune reports that the second year anniversary of the Bayelsa State governor coincided with the launching of the Ijaw history book, “The Izon of the Niger Delta.”

The governor of Oyo State, Engr. Seyi Makinde was at the epochal event and inaugurated a 4.5 km road project at Igbedi community in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area, which was named after Gov. Douye Diri.

At the book launch, Gov Diri, in his opening remarks, appealed that the Ijaw history book project, which started years back by the late DSP Alamieyeseigha government, should be given wide support by all Ijaw sons and daughters as part of concerted efforts to ensure the Ijaw language survives extinction.

He commended past governors of the state who initiated, funded, and superintended over the book project.

He also thanked the only surviving editor of the book, Emeritus Professor E.J Alagoa, who will turn 89 years in a few months’ time, for embarking on the project, stressing “the beauty about Alagoa is that even at his old age, he still reads without lenses.”

Diri also prayed for the repose of the soul of late Prof. Tekena Tamuno and late Prof. John Pepper Clark, who were co-editors of the book.

Chief Launcher of the book, High Chief Emonena Victor Wayles (JP), however, reminded the gathering that the Ijaw culture was built on the foundation of truth and asked all citizens of the Ijaw nation to continue in the same vein, noting otherwise history would not judge the present Ijaw nation well.

He also pleaded that maximum value should not be placed on the token he donated, stressing it should rather be considered as the starting point, and applauded Gov. Diri for making the dream of the book launch a reality.

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The chairman of the book launch and president of Ijaw National Congress (INC), Prof. Benjamin Okaba, in his speech, was nostalgic about the days when the rallying cry of “Ahh Izon” represented steadfastness to the Izon cause, especially by the male folk.

He was also saddened by the increasing attitude of Izon parents not being able to communicate with their children in the language, thereby failing to promote that aspect of the Ijaw culture.

The event featured symposium presentations by Izon intellectuals and resource persons including the Deputy Governor of Bayelsa State, Sen. Lawrence Ewhrudjakpo, Speaker of Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Abraham Ingobere, Chief Judge of the State, Justice (Mrs) Kate Abiri, and Immediate past Deputy Governor of the State, Rear Admiral Gboribiogha John Jonah (rtd).

Others in attendance were Prof. Paingha Alagoa, Prof. Mark Okorobia, Dr. ThankGod Apere, Mr. Dianam Dakolo, Mr. Matthew Seiyefa, Hon. David Alagoa among others under the keen watch of Gov Diri.

The high point of the occasion was the launching of the book, “The Izon of the Niger Delta,” with the full participation of traditional rulers of the Ijaw nation, who are the custodians of Ijaw tradition and culture, technocrats, captains of industries among others, who donated millions of naira for the project.

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