Tribute to Rev. Jude Isiayei on his Birthday

In celebrating birthdays, there are things we can actually reflect upon — the contributive aspect of what that person has done for the growth of the human society.

Yes, birthdays are symbolically, the time of a new soul arrival to the mother Earth as an 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 personality grows, humanity celebrate 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.

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 of a belong community starts with me.”
Yes, about ten years ago, Rev. Jude Isiayei, the Agge in Bayelsa State and Ogulagha in Delta State, born activist had grown to become a conscious advocate of coastal communities and environmental justice foresaw that climate change in the Niger Delta is graduating threats in 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 like the historic Atlantis, the lost continent.

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

Rev.Jude Isiayei the founder and national coordinator Coastal Heritage and Economic Watch (CHEW) a Non Governmental Organization which sole aim is promoting sustainable development and greener environment in coastal communities, environmental right 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 oil pollution and gas flare to the coastal dwellers.

The birth anniversary of Rev.Jude Isiayei is slightly a lecture note on the proactive awareness campaign of the coordinator of CHEW for us to reflect upon, what it means to celebrate ideas in promoting a peaceful society not just cutting of a birthday cake to eat and dance around as today is your birthday, what will people around you actually 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 actually causing our shorelines caving in and erosion taking over our homes, sea water rise, flooding. Yes, Agge 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, environmental denigration, these are common environmental threat to our peaceful existence as people.

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

Yes, awareness and sensitization campaign programs are key to human development in any society. Ten 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, 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 remain valid in our hearts.

The symposium itemized some of the challenges as follows;
1.Sea level rise
2. Storm surges and coastal erosion,
3. Saltwater intrusion into fresh water reserves
4. Consistent loss of land,
5.Destruction of the means of livelihood like fishing and farming of the coastal dwellers participants at the conference, etc.

That climate change is inspired principally by oil exploration activities by the 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 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 of 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.

It will interest you to know in honor of your birthday, let me remind us what was done as I make slight reference from 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 ecological time bomb ticking away and the people are becoming increasingly concerned by the changes and the extreme weather events they are already seeing.”

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

No wonder 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 Delta State House of Assembly were others are advocating in recent times. Yes, you are the pioneer of this Ideological movement in 2013 as the symposium clearly states the facts to this crusade, and on your behalf the journey continues.

You have done your life blueprint in contributing your qouta 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 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 build, 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 we your friends as we look forward for greatness at all times.

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

Happy birthday to you, my beloved friend as we were once upon a time, environmental co- advocate as where you are is more greener while our trees are still dying the way you left them. See photos of dead forest awaiting your coming home to make them greener again as Chief Wellington Bobo too waves his hand of greetings through my mind as a day to reflect our endless movements for the coastal dwellers as stakeholders.

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

Happy birthday and congratulations!

By Enaibo Asiayei 

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