Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri has said that his government will support the ongoing work to produce the full version of the Bible in Izon (Ijaw language).
Diri made the promise at St. Stephen Anglican Church, Odi, during a thanksgiving service to mark the 50th anniversary of Government Secondary School, also in Odi in Kolokuma/Opokuma Local Government Area.
The governor, in a statement on Monday, March 14, by his spokesman, Mr. Daniel Alabrah, said a Bible in Izon would help protect the language from extinction.
He said as part of his administration’s effort to ensure that the Izon language was preserved, the state executive council had adopted Kolokuma as the official dialect to be taught in schools in the state.
Diri, added that Izon teachers were being trained to take up the responsibility of teaching the language, stressing that the number one identity of a people is their language.
The governor also urged people of the state to support the government’s policy on the language.
He however, expressed concern over the low turn-out of the alumni members at the thanksgiving, saying that without appreciation to God, man could celebrate nothing.
He also encouraged the younger generation to take their education seriously if they must achieve greatness like most of the old students from his alma mater or even surpass their achievements.
Diri said: “We celebrate nothing if we do not celebrate God. The day of thanksgiving is the most blessed day. The Bible said of the 10 lepers that were healed, only one came back to say thank you. Let us be like that one leper.
“I like to appreciate all that are here, particularly the Amananowei of Odi, who has been like a father to me. I like to appreciate our mothers too.
“We have every reason to be here to thank God. Whatever position we find ourselves, we must be grateful to God for it is only by His grace we attain heights.
“In the State Exco, we have adopted Kolokuma as the dialect of communication. It means that the Kolokuma dialect has been chosen as the language that will be studied in our schools and to that extent we are training teachers to teach it.”
Delivering a sermon, Bishop Funkuro Amgbare, Bishop of Diocese of Northern Izon, stressed the need for people to be thankful to God, saying it attracts more blessings.
He appreciated the chairman of the Bayelsa State Council of Traditional Rulers, King Alfred Diete-Spiff, who he said God used when he was military governor of the old Rivers State to establish GSS at Odi and expressed delight over the number of successful people the school has produced.
Also speaking, chairman of GSS Odi Alumni Association, Prof. Ebimieowei Etebu, said the decision of the old students to give back to their school was borne out of a desire to guide the younger generation to success.
He thanked everyone that made the celebrations possible and prayed God to continue to bless and enable them to do more for posterity.
In separate interviews, member representing Kolokuma/Opokuma Constituency 1 in the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, Dr. Tonye Isenah, and the Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr. Moses Teibowei, both described the 50th anniversary celebration of their secondary school as a huge success.
They expressed the optimism that the achievements of most alumni of the school would encourage the younger generation to achieve greatness.