By Oluwayemi Davidson, Warri
IT was a day of thunderous ovation in Patani, headquarters of Patani Local Government Area of Delta State on Tuesday as renowned marine, construction cum oil magnate, High Chief Emomena Victor Wayles Egukawhore, Chief Executive of De Wayles Group of Companies, drew the creme de la creme of the society to the agrarian community to celebrate the fourth anniversary of ‘Enduring Love for Motherhood’
Our correspondent gathered that the event was in commemoration of the anniversary of the transition of a respected community leader in Patani, Deaconess (Mrs) Magdalene Zipuamere Egukawho (nee Okoro), mother of High Chief Wayles Egukawhore.
Virtually everyone in Patani, the Delta boundary community with Bayelsa State on the East West road, was a partaker in the celebration, just as family, friends and associates from all walks of life trooped into the town to felicitate with the Egukawho dynasty on the occasion, which is virtually becoming an annual gathering of philanthropy.
In attendance at the event, which featured Christian Memorial Service, tributes and cultural displays, among others, were traditional rulers, government officials, captains of industry as well as members of the public, drawn in their numbers particularly from Bayelsa, Delta and Enugu states.
Among the dignitaries was the paramount ruler HRH Emmanuel Arikawei, MD/CEO Etopo Energy Ltd. The Ebenanaowei of Obotebe Kingdom in Burutu LGA, Delta State as well as High Chief Tunde Smooth who led representatives of the captains of industry.
Other captains present included Evang. Chief Johnbull Ejovi, Ejovi Shipping and Dredging Limited; Taiwo Oyegunle, MD Weats Nigeria Limited; Chief Voke Oshasha, MD, Vokestar Oil and Gas Nig Ltd; Cmr. Shuwa Oyemami, MD, Chidco Petroleum Ltd; Engr. MacDonald Amadin, MD/CEO, Don Mac Limited; Chief Kenneth Oboku, MD. Clintwell Nigeria Limited.
Also in attendance was Sen Emmanuel Aguariavwodo, Senior Political Adviser & Rep of Governor of Delta State, Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori while Hon Anthony Alakpala and his colleagues in the Delta State House of Assembly represented the Speaker, Hon Emomotimi Guwo.
Alabo Gideon Ekeumei, the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), represented the Bayelsa State Governor; Dr. Iti Orugbani, the Commissioner for Tourism; Chief Ekisah Esinkumoh, the Commissioner for Special Duties; Hon. Jones Ebiere, the Commissioner for Mineral Resources; Dr. Martin Chukwuwenke, Enugu State Commissioner for Housing as well as his Lands and Urban Development counterpart, Prince Lawrence Eze, among others.
Speaking while welcoming the teeming guests, the Chief Host of the get-together, High Chief Emomena Victor Wayles Egukawhore, said that the annual event was to primarily immortalize and honour his beloved mother, who passed on four years ago, “for the lasting legacy she left behind for the family and the society at large.”
He aptly described the event as a forum to formally showcase his “enduring love for motherhood” and also exhibit part of his philanthropy to the community.
Addressing the gathering, the Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Western Izon, Rt. Reverend Victor Ebipade Okporu, extolled the qualities of departed Deaconess Egukawho, mother of the celebrant, whom he described as “an exceptionally virtuous woman who had left good legacy and impacted positively on the lives of all those who came in contact with her during her lifetime.”
The Bayelsa State Commissioner for Tourism, Dr. Iti Orugbani used the occasion to exhort the Federal Government of Nigeria and the various state governments in the Niger Delta region to explore the hidden tourism potentialities of the region in addition to their enormous oil and gas endowments, to further boost their local and foreign exchange earnings.
The Tourism Commissioner also emphasised the urgent need for cultural reawakening in the region through teaching and learning of the indigenous languages in schools “to avoid the indigenous languages of the Niger Delta from going into extinction”.
Speaking with journalists at the memorial get-together, Dr. Orugbani enjoined Niger Delta youths to embrace cultural revival in the overall interest of the ethnic nationality.
Orugbani stated that the Niger Delta region of Nigeria is endowed with a lot of festivals and cultural events that are tourist attractions, and qualify as tourism destinations, noting that if extensively explored, they would add to the socioeconomic development of the region.
He said, “Apart from the prospects of oil and gas in the Niger Delta region, it is high time the Federal Government and the various States explore the tourism and cultural potentialities of the region.
“One of the numerous untapped tourism potentialities of the Niger Delta region is the Seigbein festival of Kabowei Kingdom, a subset of the Niger Delta.
“Seigbein festival alongside other festivals and cultural products in the Niger Delta region, are money spinners because both local and foreign investors will be attracted to the region to invest their money, if adequately explored”.
Consequently, the Commissioner called for the allocation of more money to the culture and tourism sector in the annual budgets of the respective States in the region.
While canvassing for increased investments in the tourism sector in the Niger Delta region, the Commissioner however emphasised the need for improved security across the area saying “this is highly imperative to further boost the confidence of potential tourists”.
Furthermore, he called for urgent rehabilitation of all the failed portions of the East West highway to make tourism a more interesting venture in the region.