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Rev. Jude Isiayei: An Advocate of Climate and Roadmap For Community Development in Niger Delta

By Asiayei Enaibo – The Talking Drum

The benefit of knowledge and wisdom to human society is to create awareness and make a positive impact in life that guards and guides the society aright. One common and unnoticed phenomenon that has threatened the green and loving Niger Delta environment is climate change. Climate change orientation is a National awareness campaign across the world.

From the creeks to the international coast, Rev. Jude Isiayei, an advocate of an environment free of pollution over the years before travelling the United States of America as the National Coordinator Coastal Heritage and economic watch, CHEW has joined the credible work capacity with Tantita in bringing the dying and polluted environment of the Niger Delta to its original state, thereby commending High Chief Dr. Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo for his fight against crude oil theft, environmental pollution, sea pirates, drug abuse and other social vices in many of his presentations.

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Yes, he is that brother and friend I have come to celebrate his birthday as he continues to make impacts in the Diaspora and creates a positive roadmap for community development.

In celebrating birthdays, we usually reflect on the person’s contributions to the growth of human society by providing blueprints and road map for community development in two ways such as short term and long term approaches through dialogue, mediation and intervention to provide workable formulas for peace stabilization.

Yes, birthdays are symbolic, the time of a new soul’s arrival to Mother Earth as a heavenly being from God to humanity, as the beginning of life as parents become joyful of the heavenly gift not sold in the human market. Then, as the soul’s personality grows, humanity celebrates this historic coming to reflect on the journey of what we have come of age to appreciate the Creator for both the easy and tough journey of life as Jude Isiayei becomes my discourse of human value and impactful living on Earth for his kindness, love, empathy and generosity.

In writing about the birth anniversary of Rev.Jude Isiayei, a beloved brother who always wanted a befitting coastal community just like this year’s theme of Great Martin Luther King Jr. Day 2022, “The creating a beloved community starts with me.”
Yes, about twelve years ago, Rev. Jude Isiayei, who hails from Agge in Bayelsa State and Ogulagha in Delta State, the born activist had grown to become a conscious advocate of coastal communities and environmental justice, foresaw that climate change in the Niger Delta is a threat to our communities into extinction and if proactive measures are not taken by various stakeholders in the Nigerian environmental space, major oil bearing communities will be lost to the sea, like the caving of Aghoro in Bayelsa, Agge, Yeye community in Burutu LGA where the primary school has been taking over by erosion are clear signs of climate change challenges.

A man who refused to fold his hands to look but used his ideas to create a beloved community of love, peace and preservation of the environment as the human first right to a peaceful society should be commended.

Rev.Jude Isiayei is the founder and national coordinator of Coastal Heritage and Economic Watch (CHEW) a Non-Governmental Organization whose sole aim is promoting sustainable development and a greener environment in coastal communities, environmental rights through sound environmental advocacy, building environmental health, protection of our heritage and natural resources conservation in a sustainable way, to ensure that there is economic and environmental justice for the people of the coastal communities to enlighten them on the dangers of climate change and the possible effect of crude oil pollution and gas flare to the coastal dwellers.

And how it affects their primary source of occupation such as fishing, become the coming of Tantita Security that has come to restore environmental sanity in curbing illegal bunkery, Kpofire and other illegal activities in the Niger Delta.

The birth anniversary of Rev.Jude Isiayei is slightly a note on the proactive awareness campaign of the coordinator of CHEW for us to reflect on.

What does it mean to celebrate ideas in promoting a peaceful society not just cutting a birthday cake to eat and dancing around as if today is your birthday, what will people around you count to reflect upon?

This cardinal point became imperative in the journey of growth as Ijaws in the coastal communities need to be aware of what is causing our shorelines to cave in erosion to take over our homes, seawater rise, and flooding.

Yes, the Aggie community has become a classic flash point of the dangers of climate change in the Niger Delta region, then soot now takes over the cloud, the once greener mangrove forest dying and dead fishes float around our rivers and environmental denigration. These are common environmental threats to our peaceful existence as a people.

The old Ogoni case and the Gbaramatu Kingdom and the Ogulagha Kingdom in Delta State are case studies that need the intervention of Jude’s ideas with stakeholders and media centres to enlighten the people on the impending dangers of climate change as it affects the well-being of the coastal people.

The intervention of Tompolo’s Tantita has gradually challenged the narrative as our environment gets back to its loving nature as fishermen and women rejoice over cleaner waterways.

Yes, awareness and sensitization campaign programmes are key to human development in any society. Twelve years ago, precisely, Thursday 5th, September 2013, the National Coordinator of CHEW Rev. Jude Isiayei and other stakeholders of the Niger Delta region organized a one-day symposium at Oasis Hotel Warri, Delta State and invited community stakeholders on the need-to-know the environmental challenges our communities are facing and the precautionary measures that could help us as people.

Yes, Dr Akpo Mudiaga Odje, a highly revered constitutional Lawyer who spoke on “The Impact of Climate Change in the Coastal Communities and the Bleeding Earth” a lecture that since 2013 remained valid in our hearts.

The symposium itemised some of the challenges as follows;

1.Sea level rise

  1. Storm surges and coastal erosion,

  2. Saltwater intrusion into freshwater reserves

  3. Consistent loss of land,

  4. Destruction of the means of livelihood like fishing and farming of the coastal dweller’s participants at the conference, etc.

Climate change is inspired principally by oil exploration activities by oil multinationals in the coastal environments.

Yes at the end of the symposium, a communique was issued to proffer solutions to the issue as aforementioned:

  1. That oil Multinationals should enter into a comprehensive memorandum of understanding with coastal communities on the areas of sustainable development and environmental protection.

  2. That the government at all levels and other stakeholders should commence a comprehensive process of protective piling of coastal communities.

  3. That the National Assembly should make laws that will protect the marine and coastal environment.

  4. That there should be a marine and coastal fund meant specifically to develop and protect coastal, marine environment and communities, etc.

These ideas alone can address climate change and environmental denigration.
Yes, I do not intend to write a birthday tribute to my friend and end up writing a book titled “Rev.Jude Isiayei and the Bleeding Niger Delta Environment” that intelligent advocacy has made my brother friend to a foreign land where people who value human ideas that proffer solutions to the collective growth of their environment has gladly applauded.

It will interest you to know in honour of your birthday, let me remind you what was done as I make slight reference to the lecture.

“If the world is to avoid the rising sea levels, agricultural losses, increased water shortages and widespread adverse health impacts expected from global warming, dramatic efforts are needed.

With climate change, there is an ecological time bomb ticking away and the people are becoming increasingly concerned by the changes and the extreme weather events they are already seeing.”

According to Rachel Carson “But man is a part of nature, and his war against nature is inevitably a war against himself.”

No wonder the late Ken Saro Wiwa of blessed memory said, Environment is man’s first right, without a safe environment man is not fit to do any other business, be it political, economic or social.”

Dear Jude Isiayei, your vision has given birth to a new vision called (CADA) Coastal Area Development Agency to develop the coastal communities as a bill in the Delta State House of Assembly where others have advocated in recent times. Yes, you are the pioneer of this Ideological movement in 2013 as the symposium clearly states the facts of this crusade, and on your behalf, the journey continues.

You have done your life blueprint in contributing your quota in the Niger Delta and as the talking Drum of the Niger Delta, now that you have found your way to a land more peaceful in the diaspora, Indianapolis Indiana, United States, I wish to share this moment of joy with you and all those who at that time were our stakeholders.

Yes, in the journey of life, always remember those who were with you, and the new empires you have built, the old bricks are still great as they’ve formed the relevant foundation to your journey of greatness. Yes, you have shown kindness and love to humanity when there was no rain at their abode, you fetched from your rain waters to water their gardens by providing for them. You have demonstrated a true definition of friendship to us your friends as we look forward to greatness at all times.

May this day January 21st of your life be always guided and protected by God as you live in your newfound country to make ends meet.

I sincerely celebrate you for adding your voice to the good works of high Chief Dr. Government Oweizide Ekpemupolo and the entire team of Tantita, the MD Tantita High Chief Kestin Pondi, your advocacy and recommendation inspire my write-up.

Friends, Comrades, Patriots, friends to media, diplomatic associates, peace ambassadors, and environmentalists, join me as I wish my friend what he wishes himself on this auspicious day of his life.

Life is a journey, in this journey of life, it is what you make out is what people see to talk about. Let us create an impact so that people can read our biographies for us while we are alive.

Happy birthday and congratulations senior man!

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