Bayelsa State Governor, Hon. Seriake Dickson over the weekend presented special awards to some Ijaw musical icons in the state, in recognition of their various contributions to the preservation and promotion of Ijaw culture and tradition.
Governor Dickson made the presentation at the first memorial anniversary of the late musical legend, King Robert Ebizimo at the Dr. Gabriel Okara Cultural Centre in Yenagoa, the state capital.
As part of efforts to honour both the living and departed musical icons, he expressed the government’s commitment to establish a studio at the Bayelsa State Musical School, after its inauguration for the purpose of recording all their songs, including that of late Rex Lawson, stating that proceeds from the sale of the albums would be made available to their families.
Governor Dickson, who described King Ebizimo as “the most gifted and prolific musician in Ijaw land,” expressed regret that “he was not celebrated enough, while alive and that the Ijaw nation would greatly miss him.”
His words: “King Robert Ebizimo gave us so much music and a lot to celebrate. Between last year and now, if he had been alive, he would have produced more albums so in that sense, we miss him. When the Bayelsa State School of Music is fully equipped and commissioned, my intention is to have all his songs; from the first to the last one before his death recorded. And, I will also direct the gentleman, who will administer the school to get the songs played by late Rex Lawson and others and the studio will wax their songs and sell them from time to time and the proceeds essentially would be given to their families because from generation to generation, we want to preserve their music as part of our heritage.”
Accordingly, the Governor designated the 31st of every July as Ijaw Cultural and Musical Day to further project the identity and positive values of the people.
Some of the awardees include, Chief Agbeotu Teinbo, General Alaska, Bestman Doupere, Orutugu Fubara, Skido Ozidi, Simple Boys of Okutukutu and White eagles of Sabagreia.
Also speaking at the event, the Commissioner for Culture and Ijaw National Affairs, Dr. Felix Tuodolo explained that, the event was organized by the government to honour all those who have contributed, through music to the preservation of the language and tradition of the Ijaw people.
Dr. Tuodolo, who applauded Governor Dickson for his passion for the Ijaw culture and language, underscored the need to honour people, who have impacted positively on society and served as role models to the younger generation.