The 2023 edition of the annual Izoguo(flood and erosion control) festival of the Otuokopti community of Ogbia Local Government Area of Bayelsa state officially kicked-off today, November 24th, 2023.
Part of activities lined-up for the day-one of the three-day celebration include a road walk held in the early hours of today.
Others include a tour of parts of the community currently experiencing the recurrence of the menace of erosion affecting failing sections of the old shore embarkment and protection project which was carried out by the Government of y late former Governor of the old Rivers State, Chief Melford Okilo between 1981 through 1982.
A statement made available to Newsman by the organizing committee of the festival has it that also to feature in the day-one of the programme is a boat cruise, amongst others.
Speaking on the significance of the celebration, Acting paramount ruler of the community, HRH Rescue Orisa Abi(Okpoti XV) said the festival was necessitated by the resolve of the late Chief Okilo’s administration to bring socour to the people of the community through the flood and erosion control contract awarded by the late sage which brought an end to the once perennial menace faced by the community.
The monarch noted that the Otuokpoti community evolve the annual festival as a way of immortalizing the late ex-Governor, saying that but for Okilo, the community would have still been in a sorry state, pending when any unforseen successive administrations would have mustered the political will to embark on the project.
Also speaking, Secretary of the 2023 festival planning committee and Secretary, Otuokpoti Community Council of Chiefs, Chief Mansi Makeni Ebenizer described the festival as unique.
Chief Mansi who also described Okilo as God sent said the community intend to preserve and hand over the festival to future generations of the community.
He called on Government, the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), and good spirited individuals to come to the aide of the community as the old controlled erosion project has began withering away in the Southern parts of the community.