Irri Federal Advancement Network: A Quest for Isoko Leadership – By Godday Odidi

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Since the creation of Isoko region in 1996, Irri clan has been totally relegated to the background of Isoko leadership. Irri is one of the largest clans in Isoko but not politically recognized in the national or state level. In spite of Irri sons and daughters are greatly doing well in their various professions. The recent flood disaster in Isoko , some of the sons and daughters have greatly extended their kind hearted and munificent donations to salvage the present predicament of famine in Isokoland while Irri camp of flood victims was not recognized by the Delta State government due to marginalization at the highest level of governance..

The recent plan to set up Irri Federal Advancement Network (IFAN) to checkmate the excesses of failed leadership in Isoko land was a welcome development. Irri clan is big enough to have its own local government without qualms but the reverse is the case. Some of the past and present elections conducted so far in Isoko, Irri clan has the highest votes but not actively involved in political governance. This Irri Federal Advancement Network (IFAN) is to bring hope to local leadership within the Irri clan and nothing else. Irri clan has over 10 villages that are Ivrogbo, Orie, Uro, Ivori, Utuwhe, Idheze, Warri- Irri, Ekeneni- Irri , Ikpideand Ada. The purpose of setting up this Irri Federal Advancement Network (IFAN) is to resolve some internal conflicts within the Irri clan. Most Irri high-flying sons and daughters have tried to contest for some key Isoko political positions but not able to attain such enviable heights of leadership except few. Though each of the Irri clan villages operate with its own Union which tagged as Ivrogbo Progressive Union (IPU), Idheze Progressive Union, Ada progressive Union and others which is affiliated with Irri Federal Union (IFU).

It is heartrending and tear-jerking that Isoko development Union (IDU) is not recognized at the national or state level due to leadership tussle among members of the union. One of the significant problems of Isoko leadership is that many people elected into the community leadership are mere illiterates not exposed to advance leadership whiles those that are grounded with knowledge and wealth refused abruptly to attend their local meetings in Isoko region. Even in Igbo, Urhobo and others, they help to promote their regions with community leadership by fixing learned brains into the system but in Irri clan or Isoko will rather criticize the local leadership to the latter. Most Isoko people lack encouragement spirit which has drawn the region backward over the years. Even some Irri people prefer using the name as Irri Advancement Network (IAN) which helps to project Isoko vision to the Promised Land. The agitation for Isoko region to have their own constitution through Hon Leo Ogor of House of Representatives is a welcome development if all Isoko fathers and mothers will support the noble ideal to grow without sentiments or altercations. The present President of Irri Federal Progressive Union (IPU) Mr A. D Akeni must be totally commended for the assemblage of Irri communities to set up this network to promote creative leadership in Irri clan.The archaic system of Irri leadership in the 10 communities that copy the symbol of Irri as Union is gradually taken another new invention of digital style of leadership in Irri clan with the kind of people being elected into power in recent times.

Over the years, Irri clan only produced few political leaders but not nationally recognized. The problem with our politically elected office holders in Irri clan is that they easily abandoned their local leadership and root which invariably drawing Irri can leadership backward in all ramifications. Our political office holders in Irri clan axis must be answerable to the people that voted them into office. Even some of the sons and daughters in the private sector that are doing very well fail to help the downtrodden ones while the mystic of voodoo powers are the mechanism of the rot in Isoko land. No region in Nigeria that is not induced with evil powers but still making significant progresses at all levels. The zoning arrangement of Isoko leadership into Political offices should be discarded because of its digital system of leadership in Nigeria. Even the National political parties have discarded zoning system which led to the emergence of President Goodluck Jonathan of the PDP. Irri clan is made of two notable political parties that are the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Democratic peoples Party (DPP). Most of these think thank Isoko sons and daughters especially in the irri clan do not belong to their local community meetings which adversely creating unstable and failed leadership system in irri communities while illiterate leaders pilot the affairs with selfish mindsets of siphoning the community monies while few have the minds of the people. Those with good minds to lead are not allowed to move their communities forward which is beclouded with many impeachment notices and motions. The good leaders are yet to be born in Isokoland. As big as Isoko region, there is no father representing the voice of Isoko nation since the glorious demise of Chief Ekpre Otobo of Uzere kingdom. During the electorate registration, only few Irri clan communities who reside outside isoko region came out to register their names at that time. The fear of being killed by mystic powers is one of the factors that are negatively contributing to the retrogression of Irri clan. It has been observed that that those that rule some of the political offices in Isokoland always favor their communities than others and showcase projects that are not visible

Out of the 17 clans in Isoko region, Irri is one of the marginalized clans in all ramifications. Irri sons and daughters must wake up from slumber to build strong synergy of future leaders in Irri clan. Though most of our sons and daughters have language and cultural challenges which makes it difficult for some to be involved in community leadership. Even no higher institution is sited in Irri clan except secondary and primary schools, divisional health centres and nothing else. If the present government is sensitive with development, then some irri communities would be have used as tourism centres while some bridges would have been constructed to link some Irri riverside communities. Some of these secondary and primary schools are overstretched which needed to be converted into polytechnics and Universities. The only study centre in Irri clan is College of Education and multiple communications and nothing else. Our market system is still rotating four or three days which population of the region has drastically dropped as a result of high migration of people from the rural settlement to the urban region due to lack of basic social amenities in Irri clan. There isc no court, police stations, banks, and other government offices. The population of Irri clan is over 100 000, yet the political recognition is at the lowest ebb.It is a shame to our so-called political leaders representing Irri clan. The likes of Hon Benjamin Essien and others must be commended for their significant development in Irri communities while Hon Leo Ogor must be questioned for his third term without achievements.75 percent of Isoko people are fully represented in public offices than Irri clan. The mindset of Irri community must leave beyond violence and too much reliance on Agip oil and gas as means of employment to our youths. While Irri Federal Advancement Network to train irri youths on entrepreneurial skills and others and advance on digital leadership in the region. The likes of Hon Raphael OKelezo of Mazino hotels, chief Sunny Okedi, Chief Edwin Ozah, chief Emmanuel Omoefe, Evang J. E. P Othe, chief Okih John, Godwin Akporube, Richard Akpavie, Cornelius Ubuwere, Lucky Oria, Blessing Okpowo , and Akeni must be commended for their visionary mindsets of moving Irri forward in the nearest future.

Lastly, Irri clan must unite its people to enhance growth and development and elect egg head people into community leadership. Everybody in Irri clan must think what to do for the irri communities to grow now.

BY GODDAY ODIDI. Public Affairs Analyst 08058124798. 20 oro street Ajegunle Apapa Lagos




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