In a bold move to reinforce its new vanguard role in Esanland, the Esan Okpa Initiative (EOI), a leading socio-cultural and non-partisan organization, plans to hold a crucial hybrid maiden assembly to discuss burning issues affecting the people of the Central Senatorial District of Edo State.
The Assembly is expected among other issues to strategize on how to create an enduring industrial base in Esanland and ensure that the largely agrarian community benefits from all the value chains in agriculture as a way of checking the massive drift of the bulk of its population to major urban cities like Lagos, Abuja and Port Harcourt. The gathering is also meant to prepare the groundwork on how to ensure that the next Governor of Edo State is of Esan extraction.
The two day gathering slated for Uromi, Esan North East Local Government Area, between Friday, May 6th – Saturday, May 7th, 2022, with the theme, “Development of Esanland And Its People: Confronting the Challenges of Our Time”, is expected to be graced by a cross section of prominent Esan people including traditional rulers (the Enijie), political actors, academia, civil society activists, public administrators, women, youth, business persons, security experts and Esan people in the Diaspora.
According to the Chairman, Esan Assembly Planning Committee, Engineer George Okoyo, matters to be discussed span from the economy, security, agriculture, politics, media, Esan language & culture, women, and youth development while the gathering will elicit virtual and physical attendance. An array of distinguished scholars and notable public speakers will lead the discussions at the event, which will also feature a welcome address by the President, Esan Okpa Initiative, Rt Hon Mathew Egbadon, pioneer Speaker, Edo State House of Assembly, a goodwill message by the Chairman, Board of Trustees, Prof Gabriel Oteze, and a fraternal message by the Edo State Governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki.
A keynote address will also be delivered by popular human rights activist, Prof Sylvester Odion Akhaine of the Political Science Department, Lagos State University (LASU) while a former Deputy Vice Chancellor, University of Port Harcourt, Prof Joseph Donatus Okoh will be the chairman of the assembly. Other speakers expected to grace the occasion include Economics Scholar, Prof Mike Obadan, who will be speaking on the Esan economy.
Former President, Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), Mr Emmanuel Ijewere will discuss a paper on agriculture. A Communication and Development Expert, Mr Tony Iyare, a Sociology Scholar, Prof Philomena Ibhade Ozo Eson and Dr Pascal Ebhohimen, a former director at the Nigerian Deposit Insurance Corporation (NDIC), will also deliver separate papers on the media, women, and youth development respectively. A retired Army General, Cecil Esekhaigbe will present a paper on security while the former President, Association of Esan Professionals (AEP), Mr Mike Osime will also be speaking on language and culture.