For over three hours, the long procession of different clubs, age groups, associations and societies marched on major streets of Sobe in Owan West Local Government Area of Edo State, drumming, singing and dancing. Led by a team of power-bike riders, the colourful parade rounded off the week-long activities with cultural performances and award presentation to mark this year’s Sobe Day celebration. Assistant Editor (Arts) OZOLUA UHAKHEME was there.
To a first timer, this year’s Sobe Day celebration could go for a carnival of sort. But, the yearly celebration, which attracted thousands of participants from within and in the Diaspora, meant more than that to the people of Sobe.
To them, it is a rallying point for the development of the community as well as to commemorate the merger of Sobe with her kith and kin in Edo State in 1991. This year’s celebration was to raise funds for the completion of the new community town hall.
Little wonder the community honoured Governor Adams Aliu Oshiomhole with “team leadership for unity and development of the community award” for the developmental projects executed in the town by his administration.
Receiving the award on behalf of the Governor, Chairman of Owan West Local Government Area, Hon. Reginald Okun promised to deliver the award and the community’s messages to the governor. He also pledged to support the community’s town hall project with the sum of N200, 000.
Also in recognition of the contributions of some of its illustrious sons and daughters, the community gave awards to no fewer than 14 recipients. They included the late Chief S.J Mayaki, the late Chief Andrew J. Sule, the late Pa Michael Arenrin, the late Odibiado of Sobe, Gold Omonikhe, the late Pa Eboh Addo and the late Chris Obadan.
Others were Mr Francis Iruobe, Mr. Modupe Olomu, Bishop Pandit Oburekin, Pa Anthony Ehimiaghe, Mr. Olu Sikpojie, Special Apostle Funso Osoro, Chief Cletus Owuze and Mr. Joseph Oziren Igure.
In the beauty pageant contest, Miss Bridget Egbezomo emerged Miss Sobe Day Queen and won a deep freezer while second place went to Miss Adelomo Udugbezi who won a flat screen TV, followed by Miss Blessing Desimoh who got a power generating set as third place winner.
In his address, His Royal Highness Anthony Ero Aleburu, the Odibiado of Sobe land, said the slow pace of development in the community is not a function of lack of will to pool resources but that of global economic recession.
“In terms of pooling our resources for development, not much has been achieved in this regard as a result of shortage of funds due to economic meltdown. However, our merger with our kith and kin has given us sense of belonging as we now feel at home with our people,” he said.
The Odibiado of Sobe commended the developmental projects completed by Oshiomhole’s administration; citing the renovation of Sobe High School and renovation and fencing of St. Thomas Moore’s Primary School, Sobe as some of such projects. He, however, appealed to the Comrade Governor to post teachers to Sobe High School, reconstruct and equip the Science laboratory in the school.
He assured that “on our part, we would support the present administration…We should come together and unite towards moving Sobe to greater heights.”
He also urged parents to have time for their children and wards, noting that this has become necessary because of the high rate of crime in the community. He stressed that “our youths should engage in learning skill at the Skill Acquisition Centre in Sobe because an idle mind is the devil’s workshop.”
First Deputy Governor of Edo State Rev. Dr Peter Obadan described Sobe as a distinct clan that must not be treated as an appendage in any scheme and to be left as a single political ward is also an error.
“Sobe is a great community that must not be deserted. It must be given the altitude to show forth her greatness in commerce, education, politics and agriculture. Let no other community neither marginalise your community nor let anyone despise your greatness. I am persuaded that one day, a light will shine from Sobe that will lighten the hearts of men to the greatness of our nation and to the glory of God. Your glory will soon and very soon manifest,” Obadan added.
In her address entitled “So, Love it is”, the chairperson of Sobe Day 2015 Dr. Kate Obasuyi enjoined all to embrace love as the only element that would drive patriotic zeal needed to make Sobe an enviable society.
She said Sobe has a large heart for love to germinate and grow but that ‘we must bury all those grievances and animosities that create clog in the wheel of progress of Sobe community.’ She noted that Sobe has all the tools required to be great but that love is the only oil to make the tools work.
“Politics and titles should not be used as weapon of disorganising our society. Rather, they have to be harnessed as tools for progress and development of Sobe. Let each and every one of us resolve today to be good ambassadors of Sobe through genuine love that promotes conflict resolution coupled with sincere spirit of forgiveness,” she added.
Interim President Sobe Development Association (SDA), Mr Francis Uwaifo, who commended Governor OShiomhole for his developmental projects in the community as well as the state in general, however drew government’s attention to some urgent needs of Sobe High School which include the uncompleted school hall, science laboratory block and equipment, fencing of the school compound, provision of teachers and classrooms furniture, renovation of the dilapidated primary school at the Agricultural Farm Settlement and the renovation of St. Eugene’s Primary School.
Others are the purification of water from the borehole sunk by the state government near the Skye Bank, the abandoned 19km Sobe – Sabongidda-Ora road which is A federal government project, the abandoned market project (a project handled by the past House of Assembly member Hon. Mike Ohio-Ezomo and the former Council Chairman, Hon Godwin Aigbodion ), the upgrading of the three health care centres in the community to a general hospital; effective use of the approved court in the community as well as the building of a standard police station to checkmate criminal activities in the community and its environs.