Ondo State Governor Rotimi Akeredolu, former Managing Director of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Timi Alaibe and the Interim Administrator, Presidential Amnesty Programme (PAP), Col. Milland Dixon Dikio, have said that sustainable peace in the Niger Delta is possible if ex-agitators think about development, peace and empowerment.
They spoke at the weekend in Arogbo Ijaw, Ese-Odo Local Government when High Chief Biobopere Ajube, popularly called ‘Shoot-at-Sight’, was conferred with the highest chieftaincy title of Beleukoriwei (Pathfinder) by the paramount ruler of the kingdom, Pere Zaccheaus Doubara Ebgunu, at his palace in Arogbo, Ondo State.
Akeredolu, Dikio and Alaibe, who spoke separately, called on Niger Delta ex-agitators to emulate ‘Shoot-at-Sight’ disposition on peace and entrepreneurship.
Akeredolu, represented by his deputy, Lucky Aiyedatiwa, said the state was proud of Ajube because of the ways he had impacted on the lives of his people.
The Ondo governor urged him not to relent in the empowerment programme and appealed to him to extend similar gestures to other parts of the state.
“We’re gathered here to celebrate a man who through self-development and engagement is where he is today. We’re proud of him as a true son of Ondo State. All he thinks about is development, peace and empowerment, which is a good thing,” he said.
Dikio, who praised Ajube for leading the charge for a peaceful and prosperous Niger Delta, described him as the face of what could happen in the region.
He said: “With the likes of Ajube, who had undertaken the task of having 400 ex-agitators trained in his Bradama facility under the PAP’s Train, Employ and Mentor (TEM) model, the dream of moving Niger Delta from incessant protest to peace and development is achievable.
“We’re here to tell this community and indeed the world what Ajube means to us. He is very special and we’re excited that he bought into our vision in PAP, which is tailored to change the narrative in the region.
“He took the lead of our Train, Employ and Mentor initiative and has pledged to have 400 of our people trained in his facility. He is the face of what can happen in the region and there is no doubt that with people like him, Niger Delta can truly be the place to live and do business,” Dikio added.
Alaibe, the chairman of the occasion, said Ajube, at the height of militancy in the Niger Delta, was misunderstood by the Federal Government.
He said as the head of the amnesty programme, he stood firmly by Ajube to explain that he meant well.
Said he: “This honour is well deserved. The story and struggle of the emancipation and dealing with the issues in the Niger Delta will not be complete without the mention of Senior High Chief Bibopere Ajube. The story is deep for some of us.
“I’m proud that we’re gathered here to celebrate peace, excellence, leadership, strive for sustainable development, a honest and sincere man that loves his God. I knew him when he had nothing. He is a man that has the interest of his people in his heart.”
The ruler of Arogbo Ijaw Ibe, Pere Zaccheaus Doubara Ebgunu, said the chieftaincy title on Ajube was not a mistake, but to reciprocate that the kingdom had been blessed by him.
Other dignitaries at the event were Secretary to the Ondo State Government, Princess Catherine Oludunni Ode, members of the Ondo State House of Assembly, ex-freedom fighter Ebikabowei Victor-Ben also known as ‘General’ Boyloaf, among others.
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