By Binebai Princewill
Prof. Benedict Binebai of the Niger Delta University, NDU has called on Ijaws to strive for political power to properly transform Niger Delta communities and her people from the tortures state of underdevelopment.
Prof. Binebai made the assertion yesterday in Odimodi community, Iduwini Kingdom, Burutu Local Government Area while delivering a lecture at the instance of Odimodi Graduates Association, OGA on the topic entitled “The imperative of social entrepreneurship in a society where no one believes in you”.
While stressing on the thematic preoccupation of the topic, Prof. Benedict challenged the youths of Ijaw nation never to give up in their quest for greatness, stressing that education remains one of the most viable option for a better Ijaw nation.
Earlier in his welcome address, president of Odimodi Graduates Association, OGA, Prince Perez Bibaikefie had encouraged youths of Ijaw nation to be employers of labour than job seekers.
Addressing various issues, President Perez said “It is with utmost joy and warmth that I welcome you all to this epoch making event, being the very first time Odimodi Graduates will gather for some serious discuss.
“In today’s world of lack and scarcity, the human quest for equitable distribution of these scarce resources have often resulted in multiple conflagrations.. some rightly, others appearing to be untimely and without credibility. Terror, crime, greed, corruption and other social vices have also become prevalent in our territories owing largely to scarcity and want. Many have began to question the necessity for a good education in a country where it no longer guarantee gainful employment.
“School Na Scam” some say. I’d like us to interrogate this phrase. Is school really a scam? If “No”, why “No”? On an average, many who graduated with the best of grades find themselves learning trade over again to survive as there are limited spaces available for both the son of the mighty in society with a 3rd class grade and that of the poor with a 1st class grade to compete over…the most likely results, you and I can tell. Two friends completed basic education the same day, before the one with intentions to acquire a degree passes JAMB, his friend who desired to quit schooling already live a comfortable life. That a graduate girl would rather learn tailoring, hair bradding, even advanced prostitution to give back to family…Could these be the justification for that street statement ‘School Na Scam’? Could it be about the time seemingly lost to school while others started making their hundreds of thousands already?
“Today, there’s a growing trend of taking a break from school to acquire some financial muscles before going back to school. Could those who chose this path be wrong after all?
“Odimodi and her birthed communities pride themselves in an impressive number of Professors, the latest being Professor Oweilayefa Gere, Professor Benedict Binebai and Professor Henchard Erezene, not forgetting our emeritus Professor Christopher Ikporukpo and Professor Angeyama. Manny PhD and Masters Degree holders, over 500 known graduates and a thousand undergraduates. Yet our political and economic stand is yet to fully harness this vast human resources, but for the undying spirit of compatriots who are massively taking a trip back to the classroom having served our communities politically and economically.
“The Odimodi Graduates’ Association was therefore birthed from an initial ‘mindseed’ which aimed to bring together the political, economic and academic elites of Odimodi to champion a project of guiding and directing our teaming graduates towards making the legitimate best out of life and our communities aright. This was to be known as “Odimodi Elites Forum”, founded by my humble self. It was still at the incubation and consultations stage when great minds converged in 2014 to redefined the bounds and brand of this body to become “Odimodi Graduates’ Association”
“We aim to give direction to our communities, our members and our younger comrades in the National Association of Odimodi Students amongst other things.. a feat we believe, we are gradually gaining momentum in.
“Today’s event is tagged “EDUCONOMY” and deliberately so, as the theme “The 21st Century Employer” potents that we gradually tilt our minds towards becoming ‘Job Creators’ than ‘Job Seekers’. This is the only way we can generate more of readily available jobs for the next generation. In fact, this is the antidote to the earlier argument which seem to favour ‘School Na Scam’. It is said that “What is rewarded is practiced”. There’s therefore an urgent need to start creating that value chain that will keep oiling the wheels of education in our dear community, kingdom, Ijaw nation and indeed Nigeria.”
High point of the event was the presentation of awards to deserving Niger Deltans who according to Odimodi Graduates Association have distinguished themselves from their different fields of disciplines, stressing that their positive contributions towards the growth and development of Ijaw nation and the region in general earned the recipients the awards.
Those who were honoured by OGA as Icons of educational development award include Prof. Benedict Binebai, Dr. Paul Bebenimibo, commisioner representing the Ijaw Ethnic Nationality on the board of Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC and Barr. Frank Oseya.
Others who presented firebrand lectures during the maiden OGA convention in Odimodi at the Eluwe Hall, Iduwini Kingdom, Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State were Barr. Frank Oseya who dealt with the theme of the convention tagged “The 21st Century Empolyer” and Prince Perez Bibaikefie, President Odimodi Graduates Association who delivers a lecture on the topic “Building Wealth from scratch”.
Meanwhile, in their goodwill messages, Dr. Jude Ikporukpo, Dr. Paul Bebenimibo, Dr. Sunday Abraye all lauded OGA for the convention, stressing that the future of Odimodi is bright.
The event was well attended by academic dons from Niger Delta University, NDU, Niger Delta human rights activists, political leaders, community leaders, women groups as well as others too numerous to mention that massively turned out to grace the occasion.