Comrade Macaulay: An Iroko Of The Isoko People

NOT many prophets are recognized at home. Comrade Samuel Ovuozorie Macaulay, may be counted amongst such prophets amongst his people. But despite his Pan Deltan attributes in the various positions he had found himself in over time and space, this genre of comrade, a fighter for the masses had been different things to different people, particularly, his own kith and kin in Isoko Nation. As a journalist, he cut his professional teeth and skills long ago and established himself in Bendel State and turned out to be NUJ chairman. With the creation of Delta State, the hardworking, almost self- made man, came over and was the NUJ leader and later earned his place as Chairman of the Delta State Labour Congress.
As the labour boss, he shared similarities with the Edo State Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, who was always ready to fight for the rights of the workers of the state.
On Friday last week May 22, 2015, I got an invitation to witness an unusual encounter between the Secretary to the Delta State Government, Comrade Macaulay where he eloquently gave an account of his stewardship to his people in Oleh, at the Isoko South Local government , in Otobo Hall.
The programme scheduled for 11 a.m took off about 12 pm and the hall had been gradually filled by the who is who of Isoko nation, from traditional rulers, to palace chiefs and Ovies of various kingdoms and the clergy dressed in white cassocks, across the two Isoko local governments, Isoko North and South.
Major Gen. Paul Ofuoma Paul Omu, the Isoko Development Union, President General, manned the chair for this unusual kind of stewardship account by an appointed politician, not an elected one.
The hall was oversubscribed by students, women, farmers and sundry politicians, most of whom had been touched by Comrade Macualay’s sojourn through public life in various positions as Commissioner for Conflict Resolution under former Governor, Chief James Ibori, and later as Power and Energy Commissioner, ministry under Governor Uduaghan. After his second coming in 2007, Macaulay, a comrade with a difference, was elevated to the powerful position of Secretary to the Delta State Government.
With this newly-found power, Comrade Macaulay, worked rather assiduously to ensure that his people benefitted from his vantage position as the ‘Engine Room’ of Governor Uduaghan’s government.
Cynical observers and critics of Comrade Macaulay’s stewardship account to his people felt he was not voted into power why did he bother to give an account to his people.
That was where the audacity and courage of Comrade Macaulay counted for something. He wanted to put certain records straight and, perhaps, disabuse the minds of his sharp critics, who feel he had not done enough for his people. His account published in a booklet has more for the suspicious minds within his people to think again when pitched against others who had held similar public offices without giving account, even for those elected by the voters over time. It seems a record setting event for others to follow in future.
Amongst dignitaries at the event was Barrister Simeon Efenudu, a former Secretary to Delta State Government under Colonel David Dungs, the late Military Governor, Chairman of Isoko South Hon Itiako Ikpokpo, Chief Tim Owhefere, DTHA member, Patrick Ferife, Commissioner for Special Infrastructures and earlier Commissioner for Lands and Urban Development, Architect Ambby, Chief Talib Tebite, a friend of Comrade Macaulay, Mr. Joel Thomas Onowakpo, Chairman of the Delta state Revenue Board, Fred Majemite, Chief Aduwawa, and Philip Adheke among other..
In an opening speech, Maj-Gen. Paul Ufuoma Omu, Isoko Nation’s Development Union’s President General said ‘Comrade Macaualay is not an elected politician who had been in government from 1999- 2015 and he had agreed to give us his stewardship, the first of its kind in our Isoko Nation.’ The occasion was marked by some cultural dances and songs but above all, Comrade Macaulay, felt he owed his people a duty of care to report back to them after his oddyssey in government service.
The moment Comrade Macaulay said thus ‘ I have been serving as a union leader before I joined the government of former Governor Ibori and now under Dr. Uduaghan’, then suddenly, a spontaneous shout from the background broke into a song ‘We no go tire Comrade Macaulay’ The song came from students who are fans of the comrade. Comrade Macaulay went on this way, ‘It is better late than Never’ and the stewardship account documented in booklet containing all the projects he had influenced and brought into Isoko Land without discrimination.
The comrade shot into the political limelight under Governor Ibori during the Izon-Itsekiri crisis and “I was invited in November 2003 to resolve it by achieving a ceasefire agreement from the two sides within a year. Warri became a business centre for the oil companies after a year of fratricidal killings and burnings of properties, the two ethnic groups agreed to see reason and worked for peace. ‘Warri’, according to Comrade Macaulay ‘was locked down in curfews, police and military security check points dotted every street and the night life was extinct and with my conflict resolution expertise garnered from my Labour Unionism days, was meant to prevent the fight from escalating because the ‘Warri Wars’ affected every community. ‘as Warri, according to Comrade Macaulay, was home to all the ethnic groups in Delta and other ethnic nationalities – the Wazobia groups had long turned Warri to their permanent homes.. ‘After the conflict security years, I was appointed Commissioner for Power and Energy in 2008 and during this period, I made sure that every community in Isoko North and South was affected, where every wooden pole was replaced with concrete poles’.
His stewardship account was rendered in both English and Isoko. And from his account in English, from which I gleaned rather word for word, I found that Comrade Macaulay seemed to have had the biggest effect on Isoko people, North and South as he brought electricity to all the small crannies and nooks, villages and hamlets.
Areas which never had electricity were provided 7.5 KVA generators to Oleh, Olomoro and Ozoro. There was one at the Oleh campus of the Delsu Engineering Department. All parts of Isoko had light, especially, a very remote and inaccessible village, called Umeh, also was given light and before the last year or so, Umeh had been given a good road and good secondary school, something they had never dreamt for many years, has come into fruition.
Comnrade Macaulay gave kudos to late Professor Sada for the movement of Oleh campus of Engineering to Isoko land.
The comrade praised the unity of purpose of Isoko leaders in politics and working closely with Mrs. Erijo, Chief Solomon Ogba, ‘We saw to it that after the law faculty was moved to Oleh and there was the problem of land for the Engineering Department and we settled for a Skills Acquisition Centre in Oleh to enable us domicile the Engineering Department in Oleh, and today, Oleh campus is almost a university of its own.’
The major part of the stewardship was rendered in Isoko for the native speakers of the language. And in between his rendering of accounts, there were shouts of “More and Fire on.”
The peoples’ comrade had done so much for his people, particularly, in the power and energy sector. He said a 33KVA line was now supplying light to the Oleh Campus with an additional standby 100KVA generator is there and also in Iyede another one is in place.
Comrade Macaulay is a tireless worker and he collaborated with Rt Hon Leo Ogor to offer Five million naira to two Isoko Women Petty Traders group in Warri.
Comrade Macaulay, who had seen many battles as a Labour leader and now a top politician in Delta State, was quite unhappy with comments from some of his critics, who according to him. ‘My detractors say I have turned myself into a slave of Governor Uduaghan. I am not a slave to Dr. Uduaghan but I am slaving for Isoko people’ This is a rather very harsh criticism from a people you are working round the clock to be placed in partity with other ethnic groups in Delta State.
And true to the fire-brand labour leader in Comrade Macaulay, he too fired back in like terms.
I had long followed Comrade Macaulay with keen interest and for those who may not know, his love Delta State came to the fore under the regime of of a former military administrator, who could have short-changed the treasury of the state during a transition season on the eve of the coming of the Ibori administration when billions of federal allocations were received by the office of the Accountant General of the state and it was Comrade Macaulay’s labour apparatus that ensured the monies were not handed over to a departing military governor on his way out. A man of courage and patriotism, Comrade Macaulay may not have the praises of his people in Isoko land, for those of us onlookers, Comrade Macaulay is an Iroko tree, and not likely to be threatened by armchair critics , envious of his rising profile.
There was no doubt the comrade had always had an input in the appointment of Isoko sons and daughters into positions of Dr Uduaghan’s administration.
In the hall of fame of prominent Isoko leaders, like the late, Chief James Otobo, the father of the Isoko Nation, late Chief Abel Ubeku, a leader and business tychoon, Chief Senator Spanner Okpozo, Major Gen. Paul Ofuoma Omu, amongst others, Comrade Samuel Ovuozorie Macaulay, definitely can proudly be proclaimed as An Iroko Tree, overlooking lesser trees in the Isoko Forest of upcoming leaders. I salute him and he should not be cowed or distracted by being called names by lesser masquerades.