TRUE STORY OF BASHORUN ASKIA’S PENCHANT FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP AMONG YOUTHS, WOMENFOLK – By Albert Ograka

The good intentions in the human resource policies of Delta State Governor, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa’s administration, have started yielding good fruits in the oil and gas bearing communities in the state, as the wealth creation strategies is being carefully replicated by the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC), under the people oriented leadership style of the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Bashorun (Hon.) Askia Ogieh, (FCNA, CrFA), in the evolving activities of the Commission.

Owing to his zeal to uplifting the less privileged among youths and women in his constituencies which form the Commission’s mandate areas within the various ethnic nationalities that bear oil and gas as their natural resources, Bashorun ASKIA has endeared himself to solving human related problems as a means to achieving desired results in repositioning DESOPADEC, as not just an interventionist agency but also as a human capital development agency. This rare feat of Bashorun Askia is already being exemplified in the actions of other members of the Board to make the Commission wear a sort of human face.

Bashorun Askia has continually expressed immense appreciation to His Excellency the Governor of Delta State, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa for his consistent commitment to the development of the DESOPADEC mandate areas.

“In the face of this serious economic challenges, the Governor has continued to fund the activities of the Commission. DESOPADEC Board’s prudent financial management of resources is highly commendable. We (Deltans) are lucky to have Okowa as Governor. We are lucky to have a Man who understands the dynamics of the political, economic and social life of contemporary Deltans and has successfully managed the meagre resources accruing to the State.”

It is quick to recall his very recent remarks at the Thanksgiving service on his appointment by His Excellency Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, which held at St. Matthias Catholic Church in the oil-rich Uzere Community, in Isoko South Local Government on Sunday, January 26, 2020.

“As we have it in our local cliché, to whom much is given, much is expected. Your Excellency, I do not take lightly the huge confidence you reposed on me and my team with our appointments. It is a call to duty, a call to build a Delta primed to equip our people with the wherewithal to become entrepreneurial and by creating a clement environment for them to achieve their potentials. I will not fail you. I will not fail our good people of Delta State.

“To our people in the oil producing communities, I pledge that under my watch, we will be engaging and liaising with you in decision making. In project execution, the desires and priorities of the communities will be paramount. This is an effective way of making the people buy into and own the projects in their areas.

“I am an apostle of “Politics is Local” as it is what you do at that level that enhances your status at both the state and federal levels. My political followers, especially of the Peoples Democratic Party stock, across the Isoko Nation can attest to the fact of my modest sharing of my successes with them even at the immodest risk of saying so myself. I can take that risk, after all, no good politician should be quiet about even the little things he has done for his people. And I think I am a decent politician, with special grassroots touch, even though not a wily one like some in the opposition.

“It is in this regard therefore, that the BASHORUN ASKIA FOUNDATION (BAF) will be encouraged now more than ever to continue to carry out those activities that one way or the other elevate the status of our people. I will, in this instant, encourage all of us to do the same, just as I will advise that we should not envy, deride, do or say things that may discourage those who are modestly sharing their successes with their brothers and sisters without means. We must all resist the worms that devour from within and among us.”

Bashorun Askia, who has been nicknamed “Angel of Empowerment” has through the BASHORUN ASKIA FOUNDATION (BAF) impacted on the lives of the people, in which he has been commended for his human capital development and various empowerment programmes across the Isoko nation and beyond.

Recently, a high powered delegation of Ewheyae Isoko Women International at home and in the Diaspora, led by Evangelist Mrs. Catherine Illolo, described Bashorun Askia as the pathfinder of the people and expressed appreciation to him for his numerous empowerment of women and youths across Isoko in general

Bashorun Askia’s benevolence dates back, as he was on Thursday 23rd February, 2017, honoured by the West African Students Union (WASU), an umbrella body that covers all students within the West African Countries which was founded in London August, 1925. on Thursday 23rd February, 2017, honoured with the prestigious Kwame Nkrumah Leadership Merit Award.

The Union President Hon. Adjei M.O. Abel, had revealed that the West African Students Union Parliament Conference held in Accra Ghana unanimously adopted and approved the Award for his youth empowerment initiatives, hard work and dedication to service, high administrative/financial prudence and charity to the less privileged.
He was further described as an icon, a selfless charismatic personality and above all, an epitome of development worthy of emulation.

On Sunday December 1, 2019, the Justice Development and Peace Commission (JDPC), of the Catholic Diocese of Warri, Delta State conferred him with an award of Excellence in Developing Mother Land.

The Media and Public Affairs Unit of the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC), has also honoured the Commission’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Bashorun Hon. Askia Ogieh FCNA, CrFA, as the Most Media Friendly Chief Executive Officer, 2019. Head of the Unit, Mrs. Chinenye Ezonfade, poured encomium on the Managing Director and other members of the Board, for their active role in bringing the Unit to its present enviable level.

The awards of honour bestowed on the Udu 1 of Isoko-land are numerous, likewise Chieftaincy titles from different communities within and outside Delta State conferred on him by Royal Traditional Institutions for his good-will and philanthropy.

As part of his pledges to building human capacity, Bashorun Askia Ogieh FCNA, CrFA, issued appointment letters to a total of 100 persons as Community Liaison Officers (CLOs) selected from the wards across the oil producing Isoko ethnic nationality, a mandate area of DESOPADEC.

The gesture which came on the heels of his continued pledge to ensure the establishment of human capital development and empowerment programme for his people, especially the youths, to complement the ongoing entrepreneurship schemes of the Governor Ifeanyi Okowa led administration, is yielding remarkable results.

The overwhelmed beneficiaries drawn from Isoko South and Isoko North local government areas respectively, who collected their letters of appointment alongside salaries on 24th December, 2019, expressed appreciation to the Delta state Governor His Excellency Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa and Bashorun Askia Ogieh on their human capital development initiative.

These liaison officers presently disseminate information on DESOPADEC and government programmes; encourage communities to participate in DESOPADEC/Government Economic Programmes; rendering periodic reports on the condition of DESOPADEC facilities such as roads, schools, Primary Health Care centers among other things in the various communities.

Moreso, in keeping to his promise of making youths millionaires and independent in entrepreneurship, Bashorun Askia Ogieh and members of Team Bashorun Askia Foundation (BAF) supported a popular Isoko Gospel music Artist Evangelist Vincent George Eriega, with the sum of N 3 million at the official launching of his musical Album and instruments.

In December, 2019, a women empowerment programme, with the theme, “Converting My Passion Into My Source Of Income,” was organized in line with the Commission’s human capital development mantra and as a reflection of His Excellency, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa’s desire to empower women in the state.

The two-day empowerment training held at the Delta State College of Education, Warri, was for women from the six ethnic nationalities of Itsekiri, Ijaw, Urhobo, Isoko, Ndokwa and Ika, that make up the mandate areas of the Commission.

Welcoming the participants, the Managing Director/ CEO of DESOPADEC, Bashorun Hon. Askia Ogieh said that this administration would pursue human capital development, starting with the women and stated that the programme was designed to get a data base record of women in the state that has interest and passion for work, adding that from the collation of the record of the women, the Commission would be able to identify what each woman was good at doing and enable them to convert their passion to income.

In fulfillment of the promises made during the 2019 elections, the Managing Director/CEO, Bashorun (Hon.) Askia Ogieh, (FCNA, CrFA), through the Bashorun Askia Foundation (BAF) donated the sum of N5 Million to Isoko Market Women Association to boost their various businesses, shortly after empowering Miss Blessing Oghenetejiri Thompson with the sum of N1.1 million naira for her Hair Dressing business as well as Mr. Arutase Ukeko with the sum of N1.5 million to start up his Bakery business.

Bashorun Askia’s display of uncommon benevolence to better the lives of his people and members of host communities in Delta state have been widely lauded by Deltans who claim that it has been the trend since he was the council chairman of Isoko South Local Government Area. “This act of kindness by the MD/CEO DESOPADEC is now a yearly pattern to his people,” they said.

However, in the pursuit of human and infrastructure development, peace is sacrosanct and necessary to fast-track growth process. The Traditional Rulers of the Oil Minerals Producing Communities of Nigeria (TROMPCON), Delta State Chapter, have expressed confidence in the choice of His Excellency, Senator Dr. Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa, on the appointment of Bashorun Askia Ogieh led Board of Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC).

The Traditional Rulers led by the Chairman of TROMPCON, HRM (Dr.) Emmanuel Sideso, Abe1, the Ovie of Uwie kingdom, said this during a courtesy visit to the management of DESOPADEC, in their corporate head office, in Warri on Friday November 22nd 2019.

While reading his address, he congratulated the Bashorun Askia led board, stating that their appointment was well deserved and that TROMPCON was confident in the choice of His Excellency, Senator Dr. Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa, of them.

He further stated that the visit was mainly to formally introduce the newly inaugurated executives of TROMPCON, Delta State Chapter, whose inauguration took place on the 8th of October 2019, to the board and to intimate them about their activities, which include Seminars, Conferences and Welfare of Traditional Rulers.

Responding to the address of the Royal Fathers, the MD/CEO DESOPADEC, Bashorun Askia Ogieh FCNA, CrFA, warmly welcomed the kings and acknowledged that DESOPADEC was the baby of TROMPCON and stated clearly that there was need for the Commission to work in collaboration with TROMPCON, because the royal fathers, as members of the grassroots, relate more closely with the people of the Oil bearing Communities and know them better.

He therefore appealed to traditional rulers, youth and community leaders in the various communities that form the oil producing areas of the State to continue to maintain the peace in their various domains.
“We can only thrive and fast-track development in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility”, he said.

Meanwhile his new year message was succinctly of the Commission’s poise to rebranding and finishing strong.
“The year 2020 is unique as it marks the first full year into the new DESOPADEC management as well as the second term of His Excellency, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa, Governor of Delta State. As you are well aware, ours is a major plank of the Stronger Delta policy of the Government and we are therefore poised for greater accomplishments despite our peculiar challenges as oil producing communities.

“With God helping us, our focus in the year will be on the tangibles and intangibles, in providing for the needs of our people and meeting developmental aspirations of the various communities that form the oil producing areas of the State. We will be fully involved in the provision of healthcare facilities, educational and infrastructural development as well as socio-economic welfare of our people, throughout the year and in the coming years. We intend to ensure that every facet of the wellbeing of our mandate areas are captured and executed, in keeping with the overall developmental objectives of the Delta State Government.

“All these lofty projects earmarked for the year will be a mirage in the absence of peace and security. I am, therefore, pleading with all our traditional rulers, youth and community leaders to continue to maintain the peace in their various domains. We can only thrive and fast-track development in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility.

“We pledge to run a transparent and people-oriented Commission, where we will be accountable at all times to all stakeholders. We urge you to continue to support the state government as the principle of building a Stronger Delta, through the provision of infrastructural and human capital development programmes and projects, will guide our activities throughout the year.”

Albert Ograka