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OPINION: Celebrating Dr. Bello Oboko @ 60, a piercing voice in Niger Delta, by Alaowei Cleric

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High Chief (Dr.) Bello Oboko

Today a great son of Ijaw nation was born into this world. He is a liberator, a martyr and a legend of our collective struggle for human emancipation. At the period of the dim past of our bleak history, especially at the 90s when the Niger Delta people have no hope of existence in Nigeria, High Chief (Dr.) Bello Oboko joined forces with other like-minded generals in the region to fish in the turbulent water of oppression.

 

At the height of oppression, especially when the people became increasingly aware of their status as slaves in the land of abundance, Comrade Bello as he was fondly called in collaboration with the likes of Dr. Felix Tuodolo, Asari-Dokubo, Oronto Douglas (late), Kingsley Kuku, Kime Engozu, T. K. Ogoriba, Patrick A. Ziakede, Owei Bosini and many others gathered at Kaiama town in the present day Bayelsa State in 1998. After weighing many options on how to prosecute the Struggle, they declared a nonviolence economic war against the Nigerian economy. The same witnessed the preparation of the Charter of Vision christened the Kaiama Declaration which culminated into what is known today as the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC).

 

Not done with the feet achieved through the Kaiama Declaration, Dr. Bello again joined forces with other comrades to launch the Federated Niger Delta Ijaw Communities (FINDIC). As the President of FINDIC, he externalised the once moribund struggle and make it a centre of international attraction. Prominent world bodies such as Human Rights Watch of USA and others sought audience with Dr. Bello to have a knowledge about the reverberating struggle. The governments of the UK and the USA constantly sought his audience to have first hand information in order to wade into the raging conflagration between the FG and the riverine communities.

 

High Chief (Dr.) Bello Oboko is a pundit now deserving the title of professor. I hereby call him High Chief (Prof.) Bello Oboko. This is a man whose academic prowess has made him to stand tall in the midst of professors in an intellectual debate about the Niger Delta struggle. No wonder former President Olusegun Obasanjo courted him as the arrowhead of our collective struggle at that point in time. A man whose intelligentsia has made the Ijaw communities to defeat the war of attrition launched by the military Joint Task Force (JTF) against the Ijaw communities. No wonder they said the pen is mightier than the sword.

Prof. Bello’s records are innumerable. Space will not also be enough to record them. Happy birthday to the liberator of our struggle. Your indelible marks will continue to be the legacies for the younger generation to follow. We are grateful to have you. We pray God to grant you long life. We will continue to tap from your wealth of experience as the struggle evolves from one stage to another.

Congratulation Sir.

 

Barr, Alaowei writes from Warri

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