Iboma: The man who sown, nurtured the seed of Isoko Mirror newspaper
When Chief Joseph Aziakpono Dele Iboma met with me in 2004 to continue with Isoko Times, because, the sponsor then, Chief G. Ighodeme told him (Iboma) that I was done with the newspaper. I replied yes, that I am no longer interested with Isoko stuff because 80% of Isoko people are not supportive especially example of the late publisher, Patricia Akpavie of Ivrogbo. But Chief JAD said it is unfair not to have any newspaper in Isoko after the defunct of the first three newspapers (Isoko Hope, Isoko Vanguard and Isoko News) followed by Isoko Times because other ethnic nationalities have their own newspapers that highlight their noble cause. I insisted that I am going back to the movie industry where I came from because I cannot continue working without payment and I asked him how do I survive? The three months I managed Isoko Times was a terrible time for me. Iboma said: “I am not stopping you from acting but think about it, it is unfair not to have a newspaper in Isoko nation just like other tribes. Think about it”. Immediately I replied him that there is no point to think about it because we have a lot of Isoko journalists he can contact to publish a newspaper. Thereafter, Iboma’s response was that he has seen someone who can publish a newspaper and you are the person and I left him without uttering a word.
In February, Iboma came to me again and said: “I want an Isoko newspaper to be on the newsstand by March. You can give it any name, use any company name all I want is for Isoko name to be heard like every other ethnic group and Iboma gave me N30, 000.00. I asked Iboma that what should i do with the aforesaid money, he said, start the newspaper and I am expecting some money and there maybe people of like minds who will support the Isoko project”. I told Iboma that with my experience in Isoko News and Isoko Times, 80% of the Isoko people don’t want the less privileged to be informed of the news in other ethnic groups and when they owe, they don’t want to pay so as to run the newspaper out of the newsstand. In fact, it was one of the reasons that was responsible for the death of Patricia Akpavie, publisher Isoko Times. Iboma added: “Don’t worry I am working on something. It is unhealthy not to have an Isoko newspaper after four newspapers have folded up in Isoko, it is unacceptable, just start and I will get back to you”. I told Iboma that the money was two small, he said, “I am not asking you, I am ordering you and the newspaper must come out in March”. After making that statement, he drove off. I was confused, so I contacted my media friends who helped me in the management of Isoko Times (Gabriel Ejuwa and Fidelix Umukoro, the present Advert Manager of The Urhobo Voice). I had a meeting with them (Gabriel and Fidelix) on the assignment that my Uzere Chief (Iboma) wanted me to execute. They (Gabriel and Fidelix) were very excited that at last, an Isoko newspaper is coming out again. They (Gabriel and Fidelix) heartily congratulated me on my new task of piloting another newspaper in Isoko. They equally told me that i can do it. I was perplexed because I wasn’t expecting their enthusiasm, all you need do is travel to Delta State, reconnect with your vendors and staff, open an email and we shall support you. When I discussed the newspaper issue with my son, he said: ”You have done it before though we had financial challenges, it may be different this time around”. I was encouraged by these words and I set the ball rolling.
Before we published the maiden edition, Iboma truly added to the N30, 000 that he gave me initially and by the time we came out with the second edition of Isoko Mirror, Chief Iboma had given me N100, 000. Among all the people we spoke with, Chief Jerry Lucky Esigie (Esco Superstore) and Sir Simon Uchenunu (Planet Graphics) were the only two personalities that supported us in terms of adverts placement. When Iboma saw the publication, he was impressed. Iboma said he didn’t plan it this way before now because the fund he was expecting didn’t come. Iboma told me not to worry that I should be focused and we shall get there. I categorically declared: “We are not getting anywhere, because I have spent my savings on the project and I don’t even have time to hustle in the movie industry again”. How am i going to pay my bills if I focus on the newspaper? I will give it another month and if nothing tangible happens, I will quit”. Iboma noted that it can only get better and I should have faith. While preparing for the fourth edition, I visited Chief (Dr.) Opa William, a movie producer to carry out my original plan of studying TV presentation at ITPAN. Opa asked: “Why are you running away? I told him that I am not running away. He laughed and said you cannot run away from the Isoko project you have embarked on. He added: “You can’t come to the movie industry because some people laboured and sacrificed for the industry to get to where it is today”. I told Opa that if God has hand in the project, He would have made it easier because I am suffering and I am not qualified for the project. Opa said you are not suffering. He asked me “do you know what happened to Jonah in the Bible?” I said Jonah was swallowed by a fish when he refused to execute God’s divine assignment. Despite the fact that he was swallowed by a fish, he still did what God sent him to do. He noted that God alone qualifies a man for any project adding that: “Don’t worry we shall be calling you for shootings while you are on the Isoko project”. He gave me a cheque of N60, 000 for one year advert bottom strip of the newspaper. The title of the advert was: “Isoko man why won’t you help Isoko man” .The advert was published for one year. Later, i briefed Chief Iboma who beamed with smile and said thank God someone has talked sense into you. Iboma again said: “You should be focused and have faith in God. I am sorry I had to stress you because what I had in mind for this project didn’t come again”. I accepted it as the will of God.
Later, we published the fourth edition and things changed before I travelled to Delta State. Bashorun Askia Ogieh, the present Managing Director of Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) called and gave me an address to meet him the next day in Lagos because I had discussed the project with him earlier. At the meeting, Ogieh said he wanted to give me N50,000 but he had N40,000 with him. At that point, he asked his friend to borrow him N10,000 after explaining the project to him. The politician friend told Askia that he wanted to waste his money because he (Ogieh friend) was once a publisher and he wasted a lot of money.
Ogieh added: “As far as I am concerned, it’s not a waste because the fact that she started the newspaper is a good thing. She is my sister and we are proud of her in our family. Even if the project fails, I would have contributed”.
Ogieh gave me the N40, 000. Chief Augustine Owah, my father’s former landlord gave me N20, 000.
I must deeply thank Comrade Joseph Evah, Rotarian Jevi Eduzuka, Chief John Araka, Opa William, Pastor Benson Osieme, Chief Longley Evru, Chief (Barr.) Joe Arausi and Hon Eta Enahoro who pushed in adverts
The genesis of Isoko Mirror publication was propelled by the late Chief Joseph Aziakpono Iboma (JAD) and on the 17th of May he passed on. Chief JAD Iboma was a man of integrity, a man of honour. He was the initiator of Isoko Mirror and he could also be described as an indomitable leader. The Isoko Mirror team will definitely miss the invaluable roles of Iboma.
Adieu Chief Joseph Aziakpomo Dele Iboma, the Elo of Isoko Nation. The man who sow and nurture the seed of Isoko Mirror. You came, saw and conquered. You made an indelible footprint in your life sojourn.
Continue to rest in peace till we meet to part no more. I will miss you, we shall miss you, but God loves you more.
Comrade Dr. Felida Osede Essi
Publisher, Editor-in-chief, Isoko Mirror Newspaper.