I am unable to pinpoint aptly how the concept of organising an economic roundtable in Ika land gave many of us a kick.
I also cannot decipher what qualifies me to be part of Ika Village Square, IVS, the engine room of Ika sons and daughters that has become the platform that accommodates all manner of persons not connected by political, social or clannish affinities. I do not need to dissipate energy praising the eggheads who created the arena that made Ika Economic Summit a reality. After all, it would have been a disservice if they had failed to use their God-given talents to better the lots of their people.
That there will be an all encompassing summit where the problems, progress and prospects of Ika Nation will be under focused is no longer in contention. What is uncertain is how best we take full advantage of the event?
The summit will attract people of diverse backgrounds and social stratifications. It is entirely business, divulged of any partisan leaning. Ika sons and daughters who call the shots in the banking, media, ICT, education, entertainment, security and manufacturing subsectors are all expected.
Not many will argue that there has never been any window for all our clan heads to sit together in a very conducive environment not only to interact with themselves but with their subjects. The Ika people who were geographically removed from us will sit with their kith and kin in search of development. What a great moment there is?
During this summit, the challenges against the Mbiri farm settlement established in 1958 will receive attention just as the dry season okra farmers in Alihagu and Alifekede will get the opportunity to solicit for preservation of their produce.
The tomato farmers in Igbodo will benefit from the summit as the likelihood of investors in canning would get confirmed assurances of investment-friendly environment. What is responsible for the lack of support for the pineapple farmers in Emuhu?
Why is Ute and Otolokpo palmwine not bottled? And why did the ancient mat weavers in Ute-Ogbeje stop? Do you know there is an expanse of land acquired by federal government in Agbor Alidinma for root crops that its ownership is raising issues? We will have insights at the summit.
The exploration of oil in Ika Nation started in earnest about six years ago. What are the challenges? Why have we not been made member of oil-producing communities in Delta State? The huge kaolin deposit in Ozanogogo is yet to benefit the community. The Orogodo River which hitherto was a haven to aquatic animals and swimming resort has become a dumpsite. Why have will failed to key into state government’s impetus to develop fish ponds along the Orogodo River banks?
There was a time when products from Crest Biscuits and Confectioneries Limited were breakfast delights. Who will tell me why Masta Tissue Papers produced by Central Industries Ltd could not continue? Why did Lay-Tech Company at Owanta, close shop? What influenced some friends to build Ika Guest House? Hmmmm. Can you remember ‘Big H’ meatpie?
Penthouse Hotel was noted for clubbing. What happened? Uromi Junction was an economic hub until the road became an embarrassment both to government and our big ‘bosses’.
Why is it that our youths prefer internet wealth to dignified affluence? Are we happy that Fulanis and the illegal migrants are the only source of farm labour?
How many of us are bold enough to publicly confess been victims of rape by those we pay to till the soil?
Are we happy that our university graduates abandoned their certificates to die in the Mediterranean Sea in their desperate attempts to ferry into Europe? Is it not better to learn how to make bricks than to be political thugs where you get one-off payment? Can we be candid enough to recall that despite been beneficiaries of stigmatized ’empowerment’, our financial status has not improved?
The Ika Economic Summit will make us free from macule. It is an opportunity to produce our own Mark Zuckerberg. Have we taken time to x-ray the ingenuity of those boys at College Junction fixing our phones and laptops without traceable source of their skills? We can redirect our internet maneuvering skills to replicate the exploits of Jerry Yang and David Fill who created yahoo in 1994. Now is the time to know that government needs us more than we need government. When we are able to micro-source and extricate our life from dependence on government, we will be respected and in the long run, determine who lead us politically.
The success of the summit depends on you and I. I am glad that we do not have the culture of ‘begging’ money under whatever disguise. Begging is not our culture as we have always flaunted the gains of hard work. We should not be encouraged into thuggery as no one is happy to be introduced as a thug. If you are privileged to be a guest at the summit, do not betray our time-tested hospitality.
The best way to earn money is to employ yourself. It is good we exploit our environment to find out what the problems are. The next is to find solutions to the identified problems. And whoever finds solution, is the master. The summit holding this June with the theme: “Exploiting the Economic Potentials of Ika Nation through Strategic Partnerships”, will provide several answers. Be part of it. It is unfortunate that Sir Fortune Ebie won’t be part of it.
Williams Eghebi Wrote