Ebie; A ‘Prophet’ Honoured By His People
By; Jerome-Mario Utomi
In the Christian holy book, the Bible, Mark 6; 4, Jesus said to the people of Nazareth, the town in which He was brought up ‘a prophet is not without honor except in his own town, among his relatives and his own home’.
Essentially, while finding background to, or reasons behind what prompted Jesus’s statement may not be the primary objective of this piece, the recent reactions by the good people of Ika nation to the deserving appointment of Hon. Chiedu Ebie as the Chairman of the governing board, Niger Delta Development Commission, (NDDC) shows a man that enjoys some level of exceptions to the above declaration as he has been ceaselessly honoured by his people.
Adding context to the discourse, the people of Ika nation are reputed for welcoming, acknowledging, celebrating and honoring their very own that achieves a phenomenal feat in any positive human endeavor. They were born into this culture; they live in this culture and exist within it and transit it to their progeny. To an average Ika man, celebrating achievement of every Ika blood is an important agent of socialization within and among their communities.
A telling example to the above assertion is the torrent of accolades, congratulatory messages and visits by different socio-cultural groups from Ika nation to Honourable Ebie since his appointment with more expected.
This amply points to the fact that the new NDDC helmsman is not only loved but demonstrates a personality that has proved beyond reasonable doubt that ordinary calculation can be upturned by extra-ordinary personalities.
Out of so many examples of such visits, the latest came from the umbrella group of the Agbor people, Agbor Community Union, (ACU). The group which has Chief Lawrence Egun Onyeche as its President General presented the congratulatory message to the NDDC Boss during a courtesy visit to his residence in Agbor by the executive members of ACU, Agbor Palace Chiefs and other prominent Agbor indigenes.
The ACU congratulatory message going by media reports reads in part, “We, the Executive Members of Agbor Community Union alongside the representatives of the Dein’s Palace as well as representatives of Ndi-Agbor are here to formally congratulate you on your appointment as the Chairman, of Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC. This appointment is in no way a surprise to us because you deserved it especially, with your vast experience with the government of Delta State, first as commissioner and second, as secretary to the Government.
“We have been observing you, right from your first time in the service of the Delta State Government where you excelled greatly. We have seen you to be a very reliable man, an industrious, intelligent and a wise gentleman whose future in the Nigeria field of politics is very promising.”
The apex group thanked the President, Federal Republic of Nigeria, Bola Ahmed Tinubu for finding Ebie worthy to serve as Chairman, NDDC. It also appreciated former governor of Delta State, Chief James Ibori for the great role he played towards Ebie’s appointment. It concluded.
For me, Ebie’s capacity and readiness to offer his best in moving NDDC to an enviable height is not in doubt. This point becomes even more evident when one remembers that there exists presently, a veiled agreement among Niger Deltans of goodwill that he will live up to the expectations.
While this endorsement is celebrated, there are however, classified reasons why this piece is particularly consumed in seeing Hon. Chiedu Ebie’s led board develop Niger Delta region.
First and very fundamental, the region is of enormous significance because they have positively and sustainably impacted on the socioeconomic development of the nation. Secondly, their protracted underdevelopment has in the past provoked wars and presently guaranteed peace. They inflicted socioeconomic wounds on the nation and have healed festering ones. Niger Delta region has in the past caused the nation economic despondency and up lifted dropping spirit. We must not allow these oddities again on the political geography called Nigeria. And the only way to achieving such objective is through sustainable development of the region. As a nation, we may choose to forget but history will not forget. This is the only possible explanation!
Therefore, as the saying goes, our dear NDDC Chairman must not fail to remember that ‘the cock belongs to a particular household but its crow belongs to the entire village. What this tells us is that ‘you are somebody’s child and also a child to the entire Ika nation and you should look for most creative way of giving back to the community that made you.
Finally, as native wisdom professes, ‘every forest has layers. Ranging from the ground level and scaling up the heights, these layers include the forest floor, the understory, the canopy and the emergent layer. The forest floor is composed of dead leaves, decamping trees and animal droppings. This provides manures and nutrients for the forest to flourish. The understory comprises shrubs, bushes, and the young trees while the canopy include the leaves, branches, twiges and intricate interweaving of the aged trees which provide a protective shade for the rest of the forest. The emergent layer on its part is the topmost crown of the forest that towers above the canopies’.
Whereas each of these layers has its place in the forest geography and hierarchical system, this piece holds the opinion that with this latest appointment, it will neither be wrong nor hasty to characterize Honourable Chiedu in Ika nation as one of the emergent layer that currently towers above the canopies.
Most profound good news is that you have joined the few Prophets honoured by their people!
Jerome-Mario Utomi is the Programme Coordinator (Media and Public Policy) at Social and Economic Justice Advocacy (SEJA), Lagos. He can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org/08032725374.