IJAW HERO? 50 Years Later, Boro's Remembrance Shuts Down Bayelsa
Not many Nigerians alive today know Late Major Isaac Adaka Boro, a former Nigerian soldier from the southern part of Nigeria.
It has been 50 years since he died, but he lives on in the hearts and minds of Ijaw youths.
On Wednesday, there was a public show of affection for him in Bayelsa as businesses were shut and youths thronged the streets.
Songs were chanted as the youths marched within Yenagoa, the state capital.
Their activities culminated in the laying of wreaths at the tomb of the late Ijaw emancipation advocate.
Born on Oct 10 1938, Late Boro was fought for the liberation of the Ijaw and May 16 every year has been devoted to honouring him.
Again, on Wednesday, the atmosphere in Bayelsa reinforced that saying that references are continually made to individuals who left their footprints in the sands of time.
They are never forgotten even when they are long gone.
For those who do not know, Adaka Boro, as he is fondly called, he was immortalised because of his struggle to liberate the Ijaw people from oppression, intimidation, neglect, marginalisation, manipulation and degradation.
Governor Seriake Dickson has a ritual of honouring Ijaw fallen heroes of repute and Adaka Boro is the most celebrated.
The elaborate annual celebration began after four decades of his demise, his remains was exhumed from his grave in Ikoyi and reburied at the Ijaw Heroes Park located at Sani Abacha Expressway in Yenagoa.
As a teenager, he attended a public college in warri in 1958 and proceeded to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka where he became the Student Union President.
He later formed the Niger Delta Volunteer Force (NDVF ) and urged the Federal Government to stop the exploitation of Oil and gas resources in the Niger Delta as a result of deprivation.
Boro used any means possible to try and make his people control their resources and was subsequently arrested.
He was later granted amnesty and enrolled into the Nigeria Army where he died in active service mysteriously as a Major in 1968 at the age of 30.
After his demise, some Ijaw youths gathered at his home town is Kaiama and made a declaration known today as the 'Kaiama Declaration'.
As years passed by, some hoodlums hijacked the peaceful Boro Day celebration and turned it into a day of committing various crimes: robbing passersby of their phones and money, fighting one another and destroying public property.
This explains why business owners did not bother to open their shops in the metropolis on Wednesday.
Some traders at Kpansia market told Bounce News that the Ijaw youths should find a way to commemorate Boro's remembrance without making them shut their businesses.
Speaking in pidgin English, one of them lamented: "E get as this things be. Make people wey go celebrate Boro Day do am for Ijaw House make we dey sell our market dey go. How dem go carry their reggae spoil our blues"?
The Commissioner for Ijaw National Affairs, Austin Dressmann, adviced the youths to be peaceful because, their hero, was a peaceful, intelligent man.
As they gyrated, many of them chorused: "Rest on the liberator! Rest on the great Ijaw warrior!! Rest on Isaac Jasper Adaka Boro!!!"