Comrade Joseph Evah: Pillar of the Niger-Delta

2014-02-11
http://sunnewsonline.com/new/opinion/evah-pillar-niger-delta/

Comrade Joseph Angodeme Evah is the Founder and President of the notable Ijaw Monitoring Group (IMG) and the Publicity Secretary of the Ijaw National Congress (INC). He was born on the 24th December 1965 into a humble family of Chief John Brebayah and Madam Tuku Evah which he cherished most in his life as a role model at Ekogbene Town in Delta state.

His father, Chief Brebayah was one of the many children of the late Pa Abiri of Peretorugbene Bayelsa State. Evah had his primary School education at Ekogbene, the Ekumu Primary School and later came to Lagos and stayed with his visionary uncle who saw him through at African Primary School, Ajegunle and his Secondary School education at Satellite town and proceeded to the University of Lagos where he read Mass Communication in 1992 and diploma in Law from the Lagos State University (LASU).

As a young man growing up with full of activism, to liberate the Niger-Delta people from the political marginalization, he fought tooth and nail to see that Niger-Delta people are politically and economically liberated. His sincere activism gave him an opportunity to be the first Press Secretary to the first Ijaw woman to be elected the local government chairman in the history of Ijaw nation, Chief (Mrs.) Felicia Orunagba of Burutu local Government Area of Bayels State. Due to his career in journalism and flare for writing, he briefly worked with one of the foremost Nigerian Newspaper, "The Vanguard" and left the paper in the heat of June 12, 1993 annulment crisis to join the Committee for Defense of Human Rights, A Pro-democracy group, to fight the Babangida Government. It was the annulment of the June 12 elections that changed everything about his life.

Evah is fondly called the Super Comrade of the Living Encyclopedia of Niger Delta people while some called him as the genuine caretaker of Niger- Delta physically-challenged persons and freedom fighter of the region. Before he went into full time Niger-Delta activism, he took the Nigeria Army form and another set of forms to go to St. Peter and Paul Seminary, Iperu Pemo, Ogun State, to become a Catholic priest. The army and the church rejected him, perhaps his destiny never tallied with those callings.

With the full knowledge of the print and electronic media with his educational background, he was able to establish 'The Niger-Delta hour' in some of the notable radio and television stations to discuss pertinent issues affecting the region. He fought to see that Babangida and Abacha governments never marginalized the Niger-Delta people. He mobilized the Niger-Delta people to fight against injustice of the military governments. His mission was the total emancipation of the Niger- Delta from social, economic, political and cultural bondage. Niger- Delta region was relegated to the background and regarded as second class citizens in Nigeria and was tagged as marginalized minority group against the majority group in Nigeria. He used the media to open the eyes of Nigerians over the injustices meted out to the Niger-Delta people over the years. Even before the advent of militants in Niger-Delta region, Super Evah had started full scale activism that gave the Niger- Delta people a voice to be heard. The fear of Evah was the beginning of military governments' adjusting their callous plots towards the Niger- Delta people. Some critics saw him as wasting his time on frivolous exercises but today, it has borne fruits in the sands of time. Who ever thought a creek boy from the village could become a voice for the Niger- Delta people. Never despise the little beginning of any man that has goal in lifelike Super Evah of our time. Super Comrade Joseph Evah's platform gave room for Niger- Delta people voice to be heard in the media.

Though the likes of Isaac Adaka Boro and Ken Saro-Wiwa fought for the common cause of the Niger- Delta people's and died for it. Though, they did not fulfill the struggle before they were caught in their primes by military dictatorship. But Evah took the struggle upon himself to see that Niger- Delta people are reckoned with in all strata of life.

Ijaw nation is the fourth largest ethnic group in Nigeria that produced the current President Goodluck Jonathan. He was one the frontline freedom fighters in Niger-Delta region that gave President Jonathan the position, he is today.

Today, many Niger- Delta peoples are receiving different scholarships abroad through Joseph Evah's effort and other government officials from the Niger- Delta region.

Though when Evah started his activism, many saw it as a waste of time and trying to get media attention so that he can be compensated as a result of joblessness but today, his activism has brought notable leadership to the Niger-Delta region.

Bayelsa state is one of smallest states in Nigeria with 8 local governments and LCDAs created by previous civilian governments in the state. He has turned down many political appointments from different governments to concentrate on his activism in the Niger-Delta region. He is one of the oldest activists that Niger- Delta region has ever produced in terms of his focus on the Niger- Delta people.

 

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