U.K.£3.00... USA $5.00
‘‘President Jonathan has good intentions for Nigerians’’ Uduaghan
‘‘Only a Fool will believe that Statement’’ Obasanjo
Warri Mirror Vol. 11 No. 01
DECEMBER 31, 2013.
“I once derailed because of worldly things but thanks to my mum for bringing me back to God” ORITSEFEMI
Some Pictures at the General Assembly Of Nigeria Football Federation Held at the Brownhill Events Center, Warri On 28th November, 2013.
The Deputy Gov. of Delta State, Prof. Amos Utuama, SAN making his speech at the event
A Cross-section of participants
Delta FA boss, Mr. Amaju Pinnick, addressing the Olu of Warri, His Majesty, Ogiame Atuwatse II-in-Council, during a courtesy call on the Warri Monarch by members of the NFF
A view of the podium
A Cross-section of participants
A Cross-section of participants
A Cross-section of participants
A Cross-section of participants
02 WARRI MIRROR
DECEMBER 31, 2013.
he General Assembly of the Nigeria Football Federation (NFF) converged recently on Warri. The 3-day event took place at the newest and classiest events centre in Nigeria;Brownhill Events Centre. Before the football eggheads kicked off their meeting, they paid a courtesy visit on the Warri monarch, His Majesty, Ogiame Atuwatse II, CON at his palatial palace in Ugbori, Warri. The Warri monarch assured the football administrators from the 36 States of the federation of his unflinching support at all times, even as he gave his blessings for the event. Bellow is the official communiquĂŠ released after the event. COMMUNIQUE OF THE 2013 . (1) The General Assembly expressed heartfelt appreciation to the President and Commander-In-Chief of the Armed Forces, His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, GCFR for his immense support and encouragement of Nigeria Football Federation which has spurred recent successes. (2) The Congress appealed to President Jonathan, GCFR to continue to give total support to the NFF for the Federation to provide all our National Teams with adequate preparation ahead of major international competitions next year, particularly the 2014 FIFA World Cup finals in Brazil. (3) General Assembly approved the dissolution of the NFF Electoral Committee, and its immediate re constitution. The new NFF Electoral Committee is thus composed: Mr. Amaju Pinnick, Mr. Amoni Biambo; Mr. Prince Elube; Mr. Charles Nwokocha, Professor Musa Garba; Mr. Patrick Pascal; Professor Omolawon Kayode; Barr. Samson Ebombe; Dr. Sanusi Mohammed (Secretary); Barr. Joshua Onoja (Assistant Secretary). The members are to elect their Chairman. (4) The Congress also approved the dissolution of the NFF Appeal Committee and its immediate reconstitution. The new NFF Appeal Committee is thus composed: Barr. Eddy Mark, Mr. Dotun Coker; Mallam BalaGarba; MallamSani Mohammed Gusau; Mr. Victor Nwangwu; Mr. Lawrence Katken (Secretary). The members are to elect their Chairman. (5) Congress equally endorsed the dissolution of the Forum of Zonal Coordinators as done by the NFF Executive Committee. The new Zonal Coordinators are Barr. Seyi Akinwunmi (South West); Sir Ephraim Chukwuemeka (South East); Barr. Christopher Green (South South); Alhaji Ibrahim Musa Gusau (North West); Mr. Hussaini Modibbo (North East); Alhaji Yusuf Ahmed Fresh (North Central). (6) The General Assembly approved the extension of the members of the League Management Company for one additional Season 2013/2014 Premier League Season. (7) The Assembly approved the promotion and relegation of teams as presented by the various Leagues: Nigeria Professional Football League (NPFL); Nigeria National League (NNL); Nigeria Women League; and Nigeria Nation wide League. (8)Congress passed an implicit vote of confidence in the Executive Committee and Management of the Nigeria Football Federation led by Alhaji Aminu Maigari. (9) The Congress expressed appreciation to the Executive Governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, CON and his administration for an excellent hosting of the 69th General Assembly of the Nigeria Football Federation SIR E. C. CHUKWUEMEKA Chairman
DECEMBER 31, 2013.
WARRI MIRROR 03
Ogbe-Ijoh Kingdom Inaugurates Governing Council
he Ogbe-Ijoh Traditional Council in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State recently inaugurated a new governing council to administer the affairs of the Kingdom for the next two years. The council, led by Lucky Oromoni, was sworn in by the Regent of Ogbe-Ijoh, Chief Samson Mamamu, at Ogbe-Ijoh. Chief Mamamu, in his address at the brief ceremony held at the town hall, noted that from time immemorial, the kingdom has had five arms of its traditional government comprising the Traditional Council, Governing Council, Elders Forum, Women and youth wings of the Kingdom. Noting that the ceremony came barely 18 months after the demise of the traditional ruler (Pere of Ogbe-Ijoh Clan), he appealed to every member of the Kingdom to remain law abiding in the days ahead.
a number of undemocratic anomalies. We resettled our minds and are able to marry them into peace. It is our appeal to the Ogbe-Ijoh Warri Kingdom to love themselves, cooperate in pursuing their national needs towards bigger victory.” Mamamu warned that the commonwealth of the Kingdom must not be mismanaged or hijacked by few to create poverty for the larger society. “Mismanagement of victory is the beginning of poverty,” he stated, adding that those who are yet to achieve their aspirations into the council must be patient and join hands with those elected for the overall good and development of Ogbe-Ijoh. Among those inaugurated were Wurusibewei Diebo (Assistant Secretary), Ebibor Dio, Godwin Enighan, Isaiah Afodor, Stephen Anegba, Garenwei Eyoroagagha and Jeremiah Toweh Financial Secretary, and members respectively. The chairman of the electoral committee, A. O Kokori said the candidates for the position of Vice Chairman and PRO were disqualified while Secretary elect, Mr Simon T
could not be cleared because of petition. Addressing the traditional council and other members of the Kingdom after the inauguration, Hon Oromoni assured that his team would live above board and would consult the traditional council before major decisions would be taken. He promised to constitute a constitution review committee to review the 2003 Ogbe-Ijoh Kingdom Constitution, adding, 'We shall also as a matter of priority, key into the peace and security agenda of the state government and to ensure complete peace in Ogbe-Ijoh Kingdom. We shall also ensure that all ongoing projects are completed and execute new projects within the period of our tenure in office.' The ceremony was attended by Chief Favour Izoukumor, Fiyewei of Ogbe-Ijoh, Chiefs A. D. Oyibo, Samuel Ogbokeme, Friday Igbegbe, John Ajemitolo, Mrs Veronica Eselemon, Newton Aloku andi Broderick Donokoromo. Others are chiefs David Pere, Adviser of the council, Michael Azosibe, Richard Evene, Tony Tekedor and Harrison Gbenekama.
Our Grouse Against Orubebe, By Niger Delta Group
the a President to remove Orubebe because he has not done well. The problem of the East-West road is not of funding. It is a deliberate attempt to divert money and stockpile it for an election.” He called on the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) to commence an investigation into the activities of the minister. “We are not happy with the state of our roads. There is no improvement at all in the roads that lead to communities in the Niger Delta region, the Hausa people became presidents and opened up their roads. “Every other projects in the region are suffering. Where are the coastal roads? President should protect his name by sacking Orubebe otherwise people will blame the underdevelopment in the region on him.” But Orubebe reiterated government's determination to complete the East/West road next year. He said N140 billion was needed to fight the infrastructure battle in the region adding that the East-West road had reached 65 per cent completion. He decried the misconception of his ministry's performance by the public, despite concerted efforts by his team to live up to expectation. Orubebe said N209 billion had been spent on the road project, adding that N140 billion was required to complete the project. He said: “People have misconceptions about the slow pace of service delivery by the ministry. We have moved from 10 per cent to 65 per cent in terms of completion. Before, there were no drawings and designs. Within a year, we had drawings and designs.” He said besides fostering peace in the oil-rich zone, the ministry has empowered the exmilitants, who have acquired skills through vocational trainings to become self-reliant. The minister dismissed insinuations that his attention may have been diverted from his ministerial job by his speculated governorship ambition in Delta State. He said: “I am a politician. But I have not gathered people to say that I want to be governor. May be, because I have been a minister for five years this is why there is speculation. “If I will run for the governorship, I will call you to tell you. My attention is not diverted. I am focused. I work with my team. If you don't see me in Abuja, you will see me on the East/West road or in any of the South South states.”
He said, 'the tenure of the last Governing Council expired since 23rd October, 2013, and by the special grace of God, we are to inaugurate the new council to take up the welfare of the Kingdom. We have sailed through
rubebe must go! Orubebe must go!” This was the slogan of two groups from the Niger Delta region that met recently in Patani, a Delta State local government area bordering Bayelsa State. The Niger Delta Peacekeeping Volunteer Force (NDPVF) and the Niger Delta Believers Group (NDBG) were unanimous in their agitation for the Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Godsday Orubebe to vacate his office. The National President, NDPVF, Chief Lokiri Lawrence, and his counterpart in the NDBV, Mr. Engema Lambo, blamed lack of development in the region on what they described as Orubebe's incompetence. According to them development will only come to the region if President Goodluck Jonathan musters courage, sacks Orubebe and replaces him with a selfless, passionate and capable person from the region. Lawrence said: “The President has appointed Niger Delta people to mount sensitive offices to see how they can bring in development in the Niger Delta. This tasks falls on the Ministry of the Niger Delta which was handed over to Orubebe. “This ministry was created out of the struggle of the Ijaw people to ameliorate the suffering of the Niger Delta people. But this man has failed woefully with regards to performance. “He is incompetent and we call on Mr. President to sack Orubebe without any delay. Sacking him will promote the agenda of transparency and corruption-free governance. He does not mean well for the Niger Delta and should be sacked”. He further lamented the deplorable state of the roads in the region especially the East-West Road. He said the most important road that traverses the region has remained in bad shape despite huge amount of money so far spent for its dualization. He regretted that the road had 04 WARRI MIRROR
become a death trap for travelers and recalled series of accidents that claimed lives of innocent Nigerians on it. According to him the mother of Patience, the wife of President Jonathan died from an accident that occurred in a failed section of the road. Lawrence alleged that the East-West road had become a drain pipe on resources earmarked by the government for the development of the region. “Every day people are dying on the road. In fact, Mr. President's inlaw got an accident on the same road and died. All these lives have been lost because of the negligence and non-performance of this minister”, he said. He also kicked against the speculated governorship ambition of Orubebe in Delta State and said he lacked the qualities required to govern the state. He said any attempt to allow the minister govern Delta State would be to the detriment of the region's development. “We are making strong appeal to the President not to support any ambition of Orubebe to rule Delta State. “Instead, we are calling on the President who is a product of zoning to support a credible person from Anioma, Delta North, which has never ruled the state from its creation to produce the next governor”, he said. Jombo further listed the alleged sins of Orubebe to include his inability to articulate the development of the region. He said the canalisation of some communities in the region, a project awarded by the ministry, was marred by fraud. He said: “There was nothing like canalisation. Within a short period, billions of Naira was siphoned in the name of canalisation. But we have a road less than 2km from Bomadi to Torogbene lying fallow for many years. If you can do canalisation quickly why don't you approach the construction of that road with the same effort? “Orubebe cannot make any difference in Delta State. If the Presidency doesn't want the development of Niger Delta, it should bring Orubebe as the governor of Delta. “He will be a failure. We are appealing to
DECEMBER 31, 2013.
Assasination Attempt on Speaker: Uduaghan Cautions Against Inciting Utterances
elta State G o v e r n o r E m m a n u e l Uduaghan has urged politicians to be mindful of their utterances and guard against activities capable of heating up the polity. He spoke against the backdrop of recent alleged assassination attempt on the Speaker of the House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Victor Ochei.He is widely believed to be aspiring to succeed Uduaghan and the alleged attempt on his life has caused allegations and counter-allegations by his supporters and opponents. Speaking after visiting the victim of the alleged explosion, Perpetual Damasus, Uduaghan said: “I urge politicians and other Delta indigenes to be calm and patient with the police as they investigate the incident. We should conduct ourselves in a manner that will not heat up the polity, especially now that political activities are on the increase.” Damasus is receiving
treatment at the Delta State University Tea c h i n g H o s p i t a l , Oghara. G o v e r n o r Uduaghan assured residents of the safety of their life and property, stressing that government was on top of the situation. The governor, who took time to study the X-ray and scan results of the victim, urged her to be hopeful, as the teaching hospital has the facilities and personnel to treat her. The orthopaedic surgeon, Prof. Godwin Iweagbu, said the explosive damaged her left ankle. He assured that the threat of amputation had reduced. The victim narrated how a device, suspected to be a cannon, exploded at the back of the canopy where she sat, hit her in the leg and disrupted the arrival of the House of Assembly
Delta Deputy Gov Drags APC Senatorial Candidate to Court
rofessor Amos Utuama (SAN), has instituted a N1 billion suit against All Progressives Congress (APC) Senatorial candidate, Olorogun O'tega Emerhor, for allegedly claiming that thumb printing of ballot papers was done in his residence during the October 12 Delta Central by-election. A team of lawyers, led by Mr. Ekemejero Ohwovoriole, in the suit filed on behalf of Utuama, wanted a declaration that the words spoken by the DECEMBER 31, 2013.
defendant that, among other things, “thumb-printing took place in the Deputy Governor's residence, the PDP candidate Emmanuel Agwariavwado's house and one Chief John Oguma's house,'' is defamatory of the claimant. The suit also demanded N1,000,000,000 as damages for defamation, including exemplary damages and an order of perpetual injunction restraining the defendant, his agents, or servants from further uttering the said or similar
Delta State Speaker
Speaker at Obomkpa for an event. Stakeholders told our reporter that the incident could be an accident, which the Speaker was capitalizing on to whip up sentiments. “Who tries to assassinate someone with a cannon? People should stop being unnecessarily desperate for attention and crying wolf when there is none. The Speaker, as a key stakeholder in the state, should put the interest, peace and security of Delta above his political ambition,” a source said.
words defamatory of the claimant. The plaintiff has also secured an order of the court to enable him serve the defendant by substituted service. Upon a motion ex-parte filed in an Asaba High Court presided over by Justice C. O. Ogisi, the court granted “an order for leave to serve the writ of summons and all other processes emanating from the suit on the defendant by substituted service to wit, by advertising same in the Va n g u a r d , a n e w s p a p e r circulating within the jurisdiction of this honourable court.” WARRI MIRROR 05
How Uduaghan Saved Koko From Fresh Crisis
t was a visibly angry Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, recently at the Government House Asaba that called to order some former executive members of Koko Human Resources Development Council (KHRDC) who almost upturn the palpable peace in Koko by parading themselves as de facto executive members of the youth body even after a fresh election of members into the executive body of the council had been conducted and 'selected members' sworn in. The youths led by the former chairman of the youth council, Mr. Frank Olu were alleged to have unlawfully constituted a parallel executive body in reaction to the newly sworn in executive members of Koko Human Resources Development Council by Chief Victor Nanna in-council. Their argument was premised on the fact that the issue had earlier been resolved in their favour when the Office of Senior Special Assistant to the state governor on security matter waded into the sack imbroglio and strongly directed that the sacked executive members should be reinstated to complete their tenure, which was six months away. It would be recalled that the Governor had earlier restored peace in Koko early 2013, and precisely in July following his intervention into a family crisis which almost truncated public peace in Koko over what was seen as a lingering family rivalry between Olomu and other Iweroko and Ameren families of Koko. Warri Mirror was reliably informed that part of the problems which almost marred Koko's solidarity was contributively acknowledged to representation at the Youth wing of Iweroko and Ameren Council where other members of the council particularly, Akeko, Eburu, Omawumi, Egbele, Madu and Abinwaye had declined on the lone membership representation accorded them at the expense of six members the Olomus were privileged to have, our sources said. It was reported that the immediate crisis was as a result of the unlawful inauguration of the sacked executive members, which took place somewhere in Warri, and the effrontery of members to summon a meeting at the youth secretariat along New Road in the Beach part of the town. It was reported that the purpose of the meeting was to inform their loyalists that they were in charge. Equally, we were informed that the meeting was sparsely attended on the ground that most youths were not happy that the decision of the Elders was being challenged by the aggrieved youths who were insisting on the completion of their aborted tenure alleged to have been prematurely brought to an end by the Olaraja-in-Council on allegation of corruption which the embattled executive members had promptly and severally denied in their petition to the Governor of the state early July. Parading a letter alleged to have been signed by a Senior Special Assistant to the Governor on Security Matters, the sacked executive members had insisted that their tenure must be completed. Problem broke out when the elders of the community swore in a new executive members of the youth body whose swearing in ceremony had been on hold following the lingering problem between Olomu and other family stocks. It would be recalled that a faction of the former executive members of Koko Human Resources Development Council led by Mr. Olu Frank was booted out of office by the Iweroko 06 WARRI MIRROR
By Uba Ubaka
Gov. Uduaghan and Ameren Family Council following an alleged confessional statement of corruption and sundry actions made by one of the inner cabinet member (name with held). Upon the sack of all those involved in the shady transactions to the detriment of the body and the generality of youths in Koko, the Vice President and Secretary, Buwa Victor and Oniyeburutan David respectively were entrusted the affairs of the youth body and allowed to complete the tenure in dispute. Almost tirelessly, Dr. Uduaghan has maintained the role of an arbitrator in all Koko family issues in contention. Following his recent decision that the new executive members sworn in by the Olaraja -in -Council should subsist at the expense of the aggrieved former members insisting on the completion of their tenure, peace and visible calm have returned to Koko, and the partial curfew imposed by JTF lifted. A lot of Koko indigenes have equally applauded the governor's decision, saying it was a mark of respect for elders, and an in-road to peace and fairness. It would be recalled that the Chief Security Adviser to the state governor, Rear Admiral John Kpokpogri (rtd) and other government officials were accused of meddling into the affairs of the community, ostensibly to score political points.Tension rose in the Itsekiri town recently when Kpokpogri invited the 94year-old traditional head of Koko, Chief Victor Nanna to a security meeting at the Governor's Office, Warri Annex. Mr. Asupa Forteta, who represented Kpokpogri at the meeting, directed the Itsekiri leaders to re-instate an impeached former chairman of the KHRDC, Mr. Frank Olu (aka Ekpen) and extended his tenure by six months. Our checks revealed that the Council of Elders of Iweroko and Ameren (Ugogomeje Family of Koko), which is duly registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC), is the only authority empowered to direct the affairs of the council. Confirming the report, Mr. Edward Daibo told our reporter that the council was appalled by the directive, particularly as it affected the 94-year-old Olare-Aja (Chief Nanna) who was invited along with other
members of the council to Warri. He said: “The community's legal adviser and other members went for the meeting with the intention of having a fair hearing on the said petition. But to our uttermost surprise, Forteta came out with a decree reminiscent of the dark days of military administration. Without allowing the community representatives a say or to be heard, he said he had installed the impeached chairman based on his power from the state government. “We wish to state that the issue at the Government House and the supposed reinstatement of an impeached chairman are aberrations and unacceptable to the people of Koko community. Apart from being beyond the powers of the people who did it, it has been overtaken by event because the executive, which Ekpen led, has since been disbanded on the expiration of its three-year tenure (February 2010 -February 2013),” Daibo added. He said that an executive council, led by Comrade Eyito Omajuwa (chairman), was inaugurated on November 2, 2013 with Alfred Oritsebemigho Asmah as Vice-Chairman; Emmanuel Uti (Secretary); Toritseju Samuel (Financial Secretary); Tonwe Tsola (Treasurer); Tesiro Ologhodudu (Organising Secretary); Harrison Tolu (Provost); Pristley Nanna (Auditor); Lucky Ukuenukun (PRO); Bemigho Amurun (Assistant Organising Secretary); Olomu Olome (Welfare) and Harrison Ayonuwe (Assistant Secretary). He appealed to the state governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan, “who is our brother and son, to intervene and call Forteta and his group who are using his name for infamous acts to order so that they would desist from such act forthwith. Their action is capable of causing mayhem in Koko community and bringing the governor's good name to disrepute. “We also appeal to Governor Uduaghan to call his aides to order and stop the abuse of their positions as displayed by Hon. Ogwu in ordering our 94-year-old Olare-Aja to a meeting in Warri over a community matter,” he added. However, Forteta said sustaining the peace and ensuring security of lives and property in all parts of the state was government's top priority, adding that the Delta State government would not fold its arms and allow any part of the state to be over-heated which is capable of putting the lives of people in such area in danger. He told the Koko youths council that government does not interfere completely in the affairs of communities but was bound to step in when there is crisis. Asupa, who is Senior Special Assistant to Governor Uduaghan on Security Matters noted that for the sake of peace, the contentious issue about the unseating of the chairman Comrade Frank Ekpen and his executive should be revisited, by allowing them to serve out their three-year tenure till June next year. He maintained that the Delta State government recognises Comrade Ekpen as chairman, even as he solicited the co-operation of all to move Koko community to greater heights. Also speaking, Ekpen said the state government should be commended for the swift intervention. He promised to carry everyone along in the affairs of the council. All these is now a thing of the past as Governor Uduaghan has effectively put the matter to rest. DECEMBER 31, 2013.
Abigborodo Bridge Opens January 2014 T he long awaited Abigborodo bridge is near completion and may soon be open for public use, a source at Government House Asaba revealed. It would be recalled that construction work started on site the bridge in 2009 when the present state governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan, who also hails from Abigborodo was barely two years in office. The first construction company (Workson Nigeria Limited) that was handling the project was sacked by the State government in respect to a protest staged against the company by the people of Abigborodo. It was alleged by the protesters that Workson Nig. Limited was too slow on the job, and that its competency to timely turn in a completed and durable bridge was in doubt. A ray of hope was splashed on the project when the present contractor handling the project took over almost a year ago. Levant
By Uba Ubaka
Construction Company, on taking over the bridge project was instructed by the Delta state government through the House Committee Chairman on Project, Hon Daniel Mayuku, to deliver on the project or 'get the sack'. This ultimatum was handed down to the company when Hon. Mayuku visited the site sometimes last year to ascertain the extent of work carried out on the bridge construction project. On a visit to the bridge site by this reporter, pedestrians were seen making crosses on the bridge from both sides. A visitor to Abigborodo will, without much ado engage an 'Okada' from the Ghana Market end of Ugborokoko road Sapele en route Abigborodo, as against taking a boat ride from Ugbekoko waterfront. It was disclosed that during the early
ETE: A Soldier's Bullet On Tragic Target
n African proverb says 'he who takes the life of an innocent man has just sent him on errand, with a promise of coming behind'. The Iyonsi family of Ogidigben in Ugborodo community, Warri South West LGA of Delta state will not forget the month of November in a hurry. Though it won't be remembered for good reasons as the chain of merciless events they experienced left them petrified, perplexed and shocked to the marrow. Things started early and badly for the nd family as just on the 2 of November, 2013, Mr. Gideon Kugbegha, a young man who had previously lived with them drowned while trying to cool off in the river located at the extreme of Chevron clinic road in Ogunu. He did not just went swimming, as the dredging yard (popularly called Tompolo's yard) where he worked momentarily is located on the same road and it is very close to the river, even more woeful Mr. Gideon started work on a Thursday and died the following Saturday, just two days after. It is not unusual to hold a funeral procession (rally) whenever someone dies prematurely, as this is seen as a form of last respect and as such on the 4th of November 2013, friends of Gideon held a procession in his honor. As planned, they started the procession from Edjeba community where the deceased lived, and proceeded to the dredging yard just to observe 5-minute silence on the nearby riverbank where he (Gideon) drowned, there after they would take the corpse to Warri cemetery where he would be interred.Easy plan which later turned out to be the catalyst that led to another fatal incident, as the only access road to the point where Gideon drowned, housed both Chevron clinic and Nest oil yard.And as expected, military personnels provided security for both installations. After the 5-minute silence in respect of their friend on the river bank, on their way to the Warri cemetery, military personnels stationed at Nest oil yard spotted someone (one Mr. Oboh who has since went underground) amongst the crowd with a camouflage baseball cap, and as usual, it is a military instinct to discipline such a person.Themilitary men in a bid to discipline the presumed impostor halted the procession. There is no gainsaying that depressed people who must have lost a friend in such a manner might have chosen alcoholic beverages as a readily available anti-depressant. It might also be true that at some point, they might have been unruly, and Mr. Omoghoete Iyonsi, who was soon shot fatally by the same military men stationed at Nest oil, may have acted as a coordinator of the crowd since both had previously lived together at a point. Some have it that Mr. Ete begged for the release of Mr. Oboh who was held, after which he bragged saying “NA ARMY DEY BEG ARMY” and when the military men asked who made such DECEMBER 31, 2013.
The Late Ete utterances, he jokingly came out and said “it is me”, this angered one of them who corked his gun and shot him point blank. An eye-witness affirmed that there are several versions of the story in town, but particularly faulted the army's account of the incident, he said that they didn't try to disarm the military men, but that they only had arguments with the military men, when suddenly a shot rang out which eventually hit and killed Mr. Ete.By the time they rushed him to General Hospital Warri, Mr. Ete was pronounced dead and was deposited at the said hospital morgue. He said that some who were highly incensed by the senseless killing gave vent to their anger and set a jeep parked close-by ablaze. That was when they (military men) started firing into the air to disperse the crowd. He noted that all these happened after the killing of (Ete) their friend. Another eyewitness said that they only pleaded with the military personnel to let go of Mr. Oboh so they can continue with their procession. The ensuing altercation led to the fatal shooting of Mr. Omoghoete Iyonsi. The shooter's (who he believed is still in the same army booth) intention was clear; he shoot to kill, as Ete was shot in the left part of the chest at close range. Mr. Ete, a promising young man of 28 years until his demise was the CEO of Wash-Xpress, a laundry and pest control company in Edjeba where he also resides. A bereaved Aunt of the deceased who spoke to Warri Mirror exclusively, but on condition of anonymity, said she was told that Ete whom she help nurtured, didn't even begin with others when the procession started but only joined them later, only for him to be killed in cold blood. She added that when investigators and herself got to Nest oil office along
hours of the morning before work resumes on the bridge, Okada (commercial motorcycles) were allowed to ride straight across to Abigborodo but were prevented on resumption of work for safety reasons. The development has affected the cost and ease of accessing Abigborodo. Before now, a trip to Abigborodo used to be very cumbersome in view of the fact that one was not certain of the duration of the trip, which more often than not could fluctuate. Where one was very lucky, he or she might not wait too long at Ugbekoko water front before getting a boat to ferry him or her across to governor's village. Sometimes, visitors and non-visitors alike had had to wait for ages, either for passengers to complete the number the boat was meant to carry on each trip or non (boat) was available. With the extent of work at the bridge, it was obvious that the fatigue and exorbitant cost in accessing Abigborodo have been confined to the dustbin of history .
By Eyimofe Onuwaje airport Road,the manager gave them the army's version of the story which justified the extra-judicial killing on ground of self defense, as their report stated that a group of cultist armed with axes, cutlasses etc stormed Nest oil installation and blocked all entrances to the company's yard, and that they (Cultist) tried to disarm one of the military men on duty so they had to protect themselves. The havoc of this world is not caused by wicked people alone, but rather it is caused by the silence of good people, listening to Ete's aunt and both eye-witnesses who were still traumatize and shocked, one can easily infer the truth. This kind of incidents yields so many salient but unanswered questions in the heart of many. Considering the length of an assault rifle, is it virtually possible to shoot someone on the torso, even when he is wrestling with you? Do cultist carry corpse when on a mission?Do cultists record their operations on phone? Do they even attack industrial installations? Do they move in large groups of both genders? If they truly beat a military man up, where were the rest soldiers when all these happened? Is it reasonable to fire warning shots to disperse a hostile crowd, even when one has been shot and killed already? The last recorded video on Ete's phone revealed he was trying to calm the crowd with repeated statements like “make una use una brain oh”.The said video didn't show anyone that was armed. If indeed they shot and killed a cultist, why were they apprehensive when they heard that the family spoke to the press? Why would they even return back to the hospital? Because of the fear of the unknown the remains of Omoghoete Iyonsi was committed to mother earth in the later part of November. At least, this will relieve the military men who have not had a good night since and have infact been watching every move of the Iyonsis. It is just another case of routine extra-judicial killing, which is common amongst imprudent force men in Nigeria. They seem to be very trigger-happy these days, or maybe with happenings in every corner of the country, they may be suffering from post-combat trauma. They always shoot to kill when they feel their ego is threatened.Many drivers who refuse to give bribe and individuals, who are sometimes impudent, have been sent to their early grave with impunity. Sad events like these can only be checked when, military men who are found wanting of killing or maiming of unarmed citizens extrajudiciously are prosecuted.There should be no gray areas when it comes to matter concerning destruction of life,only when this is finally and swiftly done will this indelible sadness embossed in the heart of both friends and family be erased. It is said that “In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends” and as such, when those who ought to take actions suddenly turn a blind eye, it will only aggrieve whoever has a living conscience not to mention loved ones and family members. WARRI MIRROR 07
Oritsejafor Curses Boko Haram Sponsors
he President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Pastor Ayo Oritsejafor has placed a curse on sponsors of the Boko Haram insurgent group, which he described as a disgrace to the African continent. Oritsejafor who said this recently while receiving delegates of the Hausa, Fulani,
Kanuri Christians Association of Nigeria led by the national president, Major Gen. Ishaku Dikko (rtd), said that his desire is for the peace of Nigeria. “Boko Haram is a disgrace to Africa as a whole and their activities have affected everybody. My prayer is that very soon, the sponsors of Boko Haram and anyone who supports and sponsors their cause would be brought to book so that the law would take its course and they too would face the judgement of not God alone, but also of men,” he said. Reacting to claims by the visiting group of marginalisation of Hausa, Fulani and Kanuri Christians, the CAN president also expressed his desire to see a Nigeria devoid of any discrimination along ethnic or religious lines and urged civil rights groups in Nigeria to champion the cause. He said, “My desire is for the peace of Nigeria. I pray for a Nigeria where people are not judged by their tribe or religion but by d content of their character. I believe that is the great Nigeria we are looking for. I have hope that this type of Nigeria will still happen. “I am troubled when I hear of civil rights groups and I think they should champion this”.
100 Kidnap Suspects Face Death Penalty In Edo
ver one hundred suspected kidnappers face the death sentence in Edo State following the signing into law of the state kidnapping law by Governor Adams Oshiomhole. Kidnapping in the state became worrisome after hoodlums descended on the state to a level that even teachers were being kidnapped for ransom. Lagos lawyer, Chief Mike Ozekhome, a Benin High Court Judge, Justice Daniel Okungbowa, a chieftain of the APC, Athanacious Ugbome, were among those who suffered from the kidnappers onslaught along the Auchi-Abuja road, in Edo State. It was later learnt that most of the evil perpetrated along that road was executed by a gang led by a kidnap kingpin, Kelvin Oniarah Eziegbe, who is currently facing trial in Abuja. Ordinarily, Oshiomhole believes very strongly in the sanctity of life but on 18 October, shortly after one of the bloody kidnap operations, the governor had no choice than to exercise his constitutional powers as governor, by signing into law the Kidnap Prohibition Law as amended by the State House of Assembly. On that fateful day, Oshiomhole was in his office attending to state issues, when the news filtered in that those attending Esan Professionals Conference, scheduled for Uromi, were Kidnapped while one was killed almost at the spot where Ozekhome was kidnapped. Sunday Vanguard learnt that the suspected kidnappers, who reportedly wore police uniforms with bullet proof vests, stopped the victims and informed them that they were under arrest. They were said to have ordered Mrs. Ekhomu and her children to a vehicle while the chief executive officer of Thomas White Plc. Mr. Emmanuel Obiyan, and Dr. Ekhomu, a security expert, were pushed to another vehicle. The kidnappers headed towards Sapele. Sunday Vanguard learnt however that on realizing that their captors were kidnappers and not policemen after he inquired about the 08 WARRI MIRROR
police station they were being taken to, Dr. Ekhomu held one of the kidnappers with a gun and there was a fight. In the process, Dr. Ekhomu suffered a gunshot on his hand but he managed to escape through the bush. Apparently angered by the Ekhomu resistance, the kidnappers rained bullets on Obiyan and abandoned his body. The gang that held Mrs. Ekhomu and her children ran into trouble when men of the Joint Task Force (JTF) in the Niger Delta intercepted them around Sapele and rescued them. The body of Obiyan was deposited at the Irrua Specialist Hospital. The said incident occurred on Thursday, 17 October. Oshiomhole, visibly angry, came to office at about 7:30am the following day, and called for the amended kidnap law file. While this was going on, appeal came to the state government to flood the Auchi-Abuja road with soldiers. Oshiomhole was particularly touched that Esan sons and daughters, who came home from Europe, America and other parts of the world for a meeting, were either kidnapped or shot dead. At about 11am, the governor signed the kidnap bill into law and urged all those concerned to ensure full implementation. The law prescribed death penalty for kidnappers. Speaking while signing the law, the governor said government would do everything within its powers to ensure the safety of lives and property in the state. Oshiomhole disagreed with those who argue that kidnapping is a result of unemployment, saying “no one should try to trivialize very complex issues”. He said: “We need coordinated efforts to deal with the problem of crime in Nigeria”, lamenting that the governor does not have the power to deal with any security officer who might have misbehaved or through whose negligence the people might have been exposed to any criminal act. “At best, we are able to provide resources and equipment as we have tried to do
within our limited resources in spite of the fact that the language, the letter and the spirit of the constitution is clear that security matters are federal issues which is why the federal government continues to have monopoly of the police and of all the armed forces and the state security services. None of these comes under the control of the state government. I am convinced as a matter of fact that the Federal Government is doing its best to arm and equip the police and the other security agencies. There are no quick-fix solutions to the issue of crime. Criminals are not in limited number that you exterminate and go and sleep”, he said. Over one hundred suspected kidnappers have been arrested since the passage of the law. Meanwhile, fifteen suspected armed robbers and fourteen child defilers were paraded on recently by the Edo Police Commissioner, Mr. Foluso Adebanjo. He said the parade of the 29 suspected criminals amongst whom was a 24 year-old Ifeanyi Nwongi, who allegedly defiled a girl of one year and eight months, was part of the efforts by the command to wipe criminals out in the state. Items recovered from the suspects include five vehicles, one AK 47 rifle, three English pump action guns, three cut to size double barrel guns, five locally made pistols, 103 AK 47 rifle live ammunition, 505 live ammunition and other dangerous weapons. Adebanjo explained that 15 suspected kidnappers were arrested in different parts of the state. He said: “Operatives of the command, on routine patrol/stop and search, stopped one Nissan Vannette bus for a routine check, search conducted on the occupants of the bus led to the recovery of arms and ammunition and arrest of two suspects. Investigations however revealed that the suspects are notorious kidnappers who have been terrorizing the state and were on a kidnap mission before they were arrested”. He further narrated that a crack team of detectives who acted on “credible intelligence” arrested one Osarumwense Ogbeide and Osahon Uhunamure at Aduwawa for alleged involvement in various kidnapping cases which occurred in the state, adding: “The suspects who have been on the command's wanted list are notorious criminals who took part in the kidnapping cases reported on the 29/05/2011, 01/02/2012 and 09/02/2012 in the state. The arrested suspects who confessed to the crime led the operatives to Idun-Ehigie community where a 60-year-old man, Raphael Noruwa, was arrested and cone Jojeff Magnum pump action gun was recovered from him. As you can see kidnapping has reduced in Edo and it was as a result of the strategy we adopted which is working”. Romancing Baby However, 24-year-old Nwonga, who allegedly defiled the 20 months old baby girl, told newsmen: “I held the baby and was playing with her and had erection and sperm was now released on her body. That was what happened; it is not as if I defiled her”. However, Nwonga later confessed that he defiled the child, attributing it to the work of devil. The mother of the child, who took the matter to the police describe the suspect as a liar. “He is my tenant but I never knew that people could be that wicked. He defiled this baby and that was why I came to the police”.
DECEMBER 31, 2013.
67 Years After, Isoko Community Gets Monarch
he people of Ellu Kingdom in Isoko North Local Government Area of Delta State were ecstatic earlier this month, as they got a monarch for the first time 67, when Othuke Murphy Urugbeze was crowned Ogwara I, Ovie of Ellu Kingdom. The poignant ceremony held at the Ellu Primary S c h o o l playground d r e w dignitaries from all walks of life, illustrious sons and daughters of land from within and outside the state. Some of the guests said the ceremony was particularly symbolic because of the controversy and delay in choosing a successor to the former occupant of the stool. We learnt that the choice of a monarch dragged on for nearly seven decades because of squabbles and debates over patrilineal succession method in the kingdom. The face-offs resulted in litigations before peace finally returned recently. It was gathered that there are three ruling houses in the kingdom comprising Isi, Agwa and Uwabor and the non-hereditary stool is rotational among the trio. Ogwara I, a businessman and philanthropist, is from Agwa Ruling House. Leading prominent people of the community to the ceremony, the President General of Ellu Community, High Prince Johnson Eniforo Akpomalue, lamented the fate of the community in those years. He said in spite of its prominent position as a major oil producing community in the area Ellu lacked the basic necessities of life and remains relatively undeveloped over the years. He lamented that Ellu community has not benefited from the proceeds of the oil it produces and DECEMBER 31, 2013.
By Our Reporter contribution to the commonwealth of the country. He said projects embarked upon by the Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) and the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) had long been abandoned.
Behold the King and others! Prince Akomalue appealed to the state government to come to their assistance by appointing their indigenes into boards of intervention agencies like Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) and those of other states and Federal agencies. He particularly pleaded with the state governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan to use his office to rehabilitate, redistribute and take over the management of the Ellu water project. “We are aggrieved that despite the fact that Ellu kingdom is one of the major Oil Producing Communities in Isoko land with a flow station jointly owned with Ozoro Kingdom, 11 oil wells, an appreciable distance of pipeline right of way and an access road, we have not commensurately benefited from the proceeds of the oil.” While he expressed gratitude to the state government for its infrastructural development, particularly in Emu-Eni Grammar School, he said more still needed to be done in the science laboratory and
other structures undergoing renovation. Meanwhile, the Deputy Governor, Prof Amos Utuama (SAN), who performed the staff of office presentation ceremony, appealed to the new monarch to carry out his duties in a transparent manner by being open-minded and just to all. H e commended the process leading to t h e coronation a n d presentation of staff of office to the monarch and advised the monarch not to do anything that will make his subjects doubt his ability to uphold the sanctity of their tradition. He urged the people of Ellu kingdom, in particular, and Deltans in general, to take advantage of the state's micro credit programme, stressing that taking advantage of such programme will help improve the domestic capacity of the people. “I urge you all to key into the policy of Delta Beyond Oil; which means we must key into agriculture, industries and other areas apart from oil. I want to use this opportunity to urge all sons and daughters of Ellu Kingdom to take advantage of the various programmes of government, particularly the Delta micro credit programme, to improve on your domestic capacity,” he said. “I have no doubt that the institution is very significant to the Ellu people and that is why they have all been working hard to make this day come to reality and it has indeed come to reality. Your Royal Majesty, I appeal to you to discharge all your responsibilities in transparent manner by being open-minded and just to all. You are the father of all your subjects, so
(Contd. on Pg. 43) WARRI MIRROR 09
NDDC Underfunded By N600bn
rom 2001 to 2013, all t h e a n n u a l appropriation bills sent to the National Assembly made arbitrary allocations as Federal Government contribution to the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC). As at December 31, 2012, the NDDC had been underfunded by the Federal Government to the tune of N600 billion.'' With these words, a former acting Managing Director of the NDDC, Pastor Power Ziakede Aginighan, protested the “underfunding” of the commission. In a press statement recently entitled, 'Do not kill the NDDC', Aginighan said: “This is reminiscent of the very bitter history of Federal Government's pattern of creating and deliberately killing various agencies meant for the development of the Niger Delta region from the Niger Delta Development Board (NDDB) established in 1961 to OMPADEC established in 1992”. According to him, the people of the Niger Delta will hold all Presidents who have headed
the Executive arm of the various administrations from 2001 to date primarily responsible for the underdevelopment of the region resulting from the breach of the Act. “Secondly, liability for this breach of the law also lies on the National Assembly for negligence infailing to checkmate the executive arm of government. Thirdly, the 27 Senators and 73 Honourable members of the House of Representatives representing the nine NDDC member state namely, Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Ondo, Imo, and Rivers have done a great disservice to their constitutions for not crying foul over an executive action that amounts to short-changing those they represent”, the former NDDC boss said. “Now that the 2014 Appropriation Bill is to be presented by the President, I demand for the umpteenth time that both President Goodluck Jonathan and the National Assembly put a halt to his unjustifiable underdevelopment of the Niger Delta region by ensuring that the NDDC receives the total
Aginighan backlog of the underfunding by the Federal Government. This is an obligation of the Federal Government to the people of the Niger Delta. It is not a favour sought by them for which they should be begging endlessly. The release of the fund legally due to the NDDC to the Senator Bassey Henshaw-led Board with definitely empower the Commission to deliver on its mandate of fast-tracking the development of the Niger Delta region”.
Letter to Minister Of Information On Amukpe NTA Dear Sir.
e wish to use this medium to inform the Honourable Minister of Information, and supervising Minister of Defence, Labaran Maku, about the negligence and abandonment of NTA Amukpe along Benin-Amukpe-Warri Express Way, Delta State. Reminiscently, the Nigeria Television Authority, NTA, station at Amukpe was built and handed over to the Federal Government by the former governor of Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori during his tenure as the governor of the state. As at the time it was handed over to the Federal Government, it was 10 WARRI MIRROR
working and it relayed news features and other broadcast information to the people. It is pertinent to state that the Federal Government had and have been constructing broadcast stations to rural and remote communities not having socioeconomic culture and political relevance like Sapel. Sapele ranks among the first three viable towns and cities at independence. It therefore becomes surprising that a station built and “ d a s h e d ” t o t h e NTA can be subjected to such wicked underdevelopment and abandonment while NTA is fallen over itself to update stations in less prominent communities because development projects in Nigeria have been subjected to warped political
gerrymandering. As we write, the NTA Sapele has been off air for months and the people do not have access to information that may emanate from the government and organizations. In the meantime, we are using this medium to call on the Minister of Information to intervene in the NTA AMUKPE’S neglect as everything in Nigeria cannot be subjected to propaganda or violence. The communities need not block the highways before NTA wakes up from its slumber as it affects NTA AMUKPE. Thank you for your cooperation. Oghenero Okpe, Jesse Town. DECEMBER 31, 2013.
NNPC/Chevron Roll-back Malaria Programme for Delta Communities
he effort of the NNPC/Chevron Joint Venture to eradicate malaria through the Roll Back-Malaria programme has been applauded by stakeholders in Delta State. The commendation for the JV commitment to health development in Nigeria through its Roll Back Malaria programme in various parts of the country; especially in communities around its operations in the Niger Delta region, was described as a worthy cause. The company recently organised similar programme in Ogbe-Ijoh, Warri South-West Local Government Area and Koko, Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State in partnership with Africare. The programme, which involved enlightenment campaign on malaria prevention, malaria testing/treatment, distribution of insecticide-treated nets and sensitisation on the use of the nets as well as indoor residual spray in different houses in the communities, aimed at providing support for malaria prevention; including health promotion activities that would significantly reduce the prevalence of the disease and benefit the population. The Chairman of Warri South West Local Government Area who was represented by Hon. Kingsley Esimaje, the Supervisory Councillor for Education, thanked the NNPC/Chevron Joint Venture and its partners for deploying the programme in Ogbe-Ijoh, stressing the need to eradicate malarial scourge from the society because of its devastating effects on the people; especially in the riverside areas. He pledged the support of the local government in ensuring the smooth implementation of the programme, even as he called on the traditional rulers and the people to support facilitators of the programme in order to achieve their objectives. In his remarks at the event in Koko, the chairman, Warri North Local Government Area, Evangelist David Edun, who was represented by Mr. Nelson Egbe, the Supervisory Councillor for Environment, commended the programme, stating that malaria was the most common disease in Nigeria and in Delta State. Edun said: “Chevron is a good company that loves and cares for the well-being of the people. We implore you to keep up the good work in Delta State and in the society in general.” Earlier in her opening remarks, the Country Director, Africare, Dr. Orode Doherty thanked NNPC/Chevron Joint Venture for giving the organisation the privilege to facilitate the programme in Delta State. She explained that Africa's malaria projects cover the entire Niger Delta with a combined catchment population of over 21 million, adding that their activities include supporting the primary health centres with supplies to ensure prompt adequate malaria diagnosis and treatment. In his remarks at the events, Mr. Deji Haastrup, the General Manager, Policy Government and Public Affairs (PGPA) represented by Messrs. Trust Inimgba (PGPA Superintendent Warri) and Kunle Okegbemiro (Coordinator National Programmes) in Ogbe-Ijoh and Koko respectively, stated that the company was partnering with the Delta State government and others for the roll back malaria as part of its corporate social responsibility commitments towards supporting healthcare development in Nigeria. He noted that malaria was a major killer disease in Nigeria which severely affects children mostly under five years of age and pregnant women. He added that malaria was currently endemic in 99 countries, causing an estimated 219 million cases and 660,000 deaths per year; according to World Health organisation (WHO). DECEMBER 31, 2013.
He reiterated that malaria was preventable and could be eradicated, adding that Chevron has been partnering with other stakeholders since 2009 to deploy the roll-back malaria programme in various parts of the country.
Oil Firms Donate Engineering Equipment to Varsity
DESOPADEC Trains 350 Urhobo Youths
he Delta State Commissioner for Higher Education, Prof. Hope Eghagha, has praised Star Deepwater Petroleum Limited and its Agbami partners for supporting the development of education in Nigeria. Prof. Eghagha, who spoke in Oleh, Isoko South Local Government Area of the state, also praised Star Deepwater, formerly Texaco Nigeria Limited now a Chevron company, for donating essential equipment to tertiary institutions in the country. The commissioner made the remark when the company and its partners in the Agbami Field donated equipment to the Faculty of Engineering, Delta State University (DELSU) Oleh campus. The equipment donated at the occasion held recently include: Rheometer, Supra-22 KR High; Fann K 1Ter Press Assembly and Digital Microscope DM-25 as well as Mud Balance, Digital Viscometer, Automatic Cleveland, Open Cup Flashpoint Tester BCO-T901 and Permearmeter (Chromatographic) Column Filtered with a Disc. Eghagha, who was represented by Mrs. Stella Itoko, Director of Planning, Research and Statistics in the Ministry, commended the Agbami partners for the gesture, stressing that no sector of the economy can be sustained without education. Prof. Eghagha also said the state government looks forward to partnership with different organisations to develop the education sector, adding that the gesture by the Agbami partners was a testimony of their commitment to corporate social responsibility. He urged other organisations to emulate Agbami partners' example so as to positively impact teaching and learning in the schools. Speaking on behalf of the Agbami partners, the company's director, Mr. Jeffrey Ewing noted that the donation was informed by its determination to improve the education sector in Nigeria as well as further the FUHCADI by employees of Chevron Facility Engineering Group who, on regular basis, voluntarily go to benefitting universities including DELSU to teach students of Engineering Department some fundamentals in the oil and gas industry. Ewing, who was represented by Mr. Tunde Olorunnaiye (Onshore Construction Superintendent), said the Agbami partners have, over the years, demonstrated commitment to conducting their business here in Nigeria in a socially responsible manner by adding value to the lives of the people and contributing positively to the socio-economic development of the area. He commended the Governing Council of DELSU and the state Ministry of Education for supporting the partners towards making the donation, even as he encouraged the students to make good use of the equipment. In their remarks, the Provost of Oleh Campus of DELSU, Prof. Chinedum Mordi, and the Dean, Faculty of Engineering, Prof. Philip Kuale appreciated Star Deepwater and the Agbami Partners for the donation. They said the donation would help sustain the Faculty of Engineering Human Capacity Development Initiative (FUHCADI) which has contributed immensely to the development of students of Engineering. They noted that the donation was welltimed as it was coming at a time that the institution needed such equipment to prepare for the accreditation of the Department of Engineering by the Council for the Regulation of Engineering in Nigeria (COREN). The Star Deepwater team also included Mr. Dan Agbofode and Victor Anyaegbudike of the Policy Government and Public Affairs (PGPA), while DELSU's Dean, Faculty of Law, Prof. David F. Tom, Prof. M.O.U Gasiokwu (Faculty of Law), Dr. K.M. Oghenejoboli (HOD Chemical Engineering) and other members of the Faculty of Engineering led a team of the institution's representatives.
he Delta State Oil Producing Communities Development Company (DESOPADEC) has trained about 350 Urhobo youths on entrepreneurship skills acquisition as part of the commission's human capital development initiative. The trainees were picked from the eight local government areas of the state's central senatorial district. The chairman of Host Communities of Nigeria (HOSTCOM), Dr. Peter Ogedegbe, who facilitated the training through his Petascon Integrated Company, said it is targeted at unearthing and nurturing the hidden potentials of the trainee. Dr Ogedegbe, who spoke at the closing ceremony of the 10-day programme, held at the Delta State University, Abraka, expressed hope that the trainees would become useful as a result of the skills and knowledge they acquire during the period. He said, “There are high expectations from the beneficiaries. We never minced our words that it is for our benefit. We felt that there is need to take the bull by the horn to address the problem of unemployment. “It is sad that our young men and women can't find job after their university training. With this training, we are sure that they would become useful in life.” O n h e r p a r t , D E S O PA D E C representative at the ceremony, Mrs. Dick Duvworhovwon, commended the participants for their patience and understanding during the training, assuring that the management of DESOPADEC was determined to improve the lot of the people. She said: “DESOPADEC is poised to transform its made areas and the board is doing everything possible to achieve this.” Mrs Duvworhovwon also commended the management of DELSU Investment and Consultancy service for making the program a reality. Nevertheless, a peaceful protest by the trainees marred the closing ceremony. The protesters were unhappy that they were not given starter packs to help them set up their businesses after the training. One of the protesters told our reporter that the essence of the training would be defeated by the situation, noting: “We are still very fresh with the ideas now, what will happen when we go back home and sit down with nothing to do for the next months?” However, Dr Ogedegbe assured them that they would not be forgotten. He said efforts were being made to reach out to the relevant authority to facilitate the provision of the needed packs for them. “Some persons showed great enthusiasm in their trades, they must not regret it at the end of the day. You may be leaving here with you pockets empty, but your heads are full with the knowledge and skills you have acquired during this training. “Whatever the challenges are, they can be surmounted. We will not forget you; we will get back to you and we have all your details. It will be evil that at the end of the day you are abandoned and not remembered,” he stated.
WARRI MIRROR 11
Ijaw Youths Fume Over Obasanjo's Letter to Jonathan
jaw youths have recently expressed their displeasure with the controversial letter written to President Goodluck Jonathan by former President Olusegun Obasanjo. The youths under the aegis of the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) accused Obasanjo of heating up the polity with his letter and alleged that the former President crafted his letter in bad faith. The aggrieved youths said that the series of attacks against Jonathan could destroy the country. President of the IYC, Udengs Eradiri, who addressed journalists in Yenagoa asked Obasanjo to evaluate himself before making provocative and spurious comments.
He said Obasanjo was wrong to have associated Jonathan with violence, adding that it was not in the character of Ijaw people to take delight in killing people. Eradiri said Obasanjo wrote out of deep-seated animosity, claiming that the exPresident was determined to pull Jonathan down. He said: “In this country, leaders who see that others will surpass them; they will decide to drag him down and that is what is playing out in the case of Obasanjo's letter to Jonathan. “The achievements that Jonathan has put on the table will be difficult for any other president to surpass in the country. But he is a man who does not know how to blow his trumpet.”
Warri Wolves Board Inaugurated
fter the club's disappointing end to the league season, Delta State government has set up a new board to pilot the affairs of 2013 Federation Cup finalists The newly appointed board of Warri Wolves was on recently inaugurated by the Executive Chairman of the Delta State Sports Commission, Mr. Amaju Pinnick with a task to reposition the Club to be a brand and among the best in the country. The Chief Executive Officer, Davidson Owumi and other members, Emmanuel Ibru, Stephen Agbeyegbe, Ogheneochuko Ambakederemo Nevil and Lawrence Omowho who will serve as secretary while the Chairman, Godwin Abigor and Kenneth Nwomucha sent in apologies. According to the Media Manager of the Club, Etu Moses, Mr Pinnick charged the new board to redefine and take the club to where they belong in the League, promising to give them free hand to operate. Pinnick urged the new board to work together and see that brotherly love exist, as Warri Wolves is an asset, which should be well managed. He declared that Warri 12 WARRI MIRROR
Wolves is the only club in the country which has met its obligation to players and officials in the last season, even as he thanked the Delta State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan who gave the nod for the formation of the club and who has been supporting them. “We want you to redefine and make Warri Wolves a brand because it is an asset. This is the only club, if I am not mistaken that has met its obligations to players and officials. I want to see that brotherly love exist among all of you with emphasis on discipline and fair play, which the club is noted for. I will always support you
Obasonjo He said no amount of campaign of calumny would stop Jonathan's re-election bid in 2015. He said the President should be allowed to enjoy second term in office like his predecessors, including Obasanjo.
and I also promise to give you free hand to operate. The Club has produced players for the National team in its six years of existence and must continue to thrive to be a role model in the country,” Pinnick said. Responding on behalf of the Board, Davidson Owumi promised to carry everybody along and do their best to meet the aspirations of the G o v e r n m e n t . He further thanked the Commission for the appointment and vowed to lift the club to an enviable position in the league.
Warri Wolves DECEMBER 31, 2013.
Uduaghan Signs 3 Bills Into Law
e l t a S t a t e G o v e r n o r, D r. E m m a n u e l Uduaghan has signed into law three bills with an assurance that nothing would be spared to restore public order, sanity and clean environment in the state. The Bills signed into law in an impressive ceremony at Government House, Asaba, recently include Establishment of Traffic Management Authority and the Regulation of Traffic Control; Regulation of Outdoor Structure for the Display of Signages and Advertisement in the State and the bill on the Regulation of InnKeepers and Hotel Proprietors. Dr. Uduaghan decried situation where people knowingly do the wrong things asserting that the laws would be enforced as they were designed to ensure that the right things were done in the state. While observing that while traffic behaviour has become serious situation in the state as a result of
drivers and vehicle owners not obeying traffic rules, the Governor emphasised that those who violates the laws would be adequately prosecuted and punished. On the signage and outdoor advertising law, the Governor who was presented with the bills by the Speaker of the Delta State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Victor Ochei, accompanied by principal officers of the Legislature, stated that politicians should be ready to do the right things always. He advised that Deltans especially politicians should obey the laws guiding signages and advertisements while pasting posters and billboards, noting that such should be done orderly with necessary approvals. T h e G o v e r n o r, w h o expressed sadness on the indiscriminate pasting of posters on the recently constructed bus stops in the state, stated that things should be properly done in the interest of the environment. On the law regulating inn-
... Pledges More World-Class Health Facilities
elta State Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan has promised to provide more world-class health facilities and personnel that would deal with all health challenges that had made people to seek medical attention abroad. Governor Uduaghan, speaking recently in Asaba, at the premiere of 'Living Funeral', a film put together by the Pink Pearl Foundation to create awareness on breast cancer, promised to invest more resources in the health institutions across the state to enable them deal with all medical conditions. According to him, the objective was to ensure that Deltans were given the best of health facilities and services available anywhere else in the world without traveling outside the state. DECEMBER 31, 2013.
“The state government will continue to invest in the improvement of the healthcare infrastructure in hospitals and primary healthcare facilities throughout the state and very soon Deltans will not need to travel abroad for medical attention”, he stated. The governor urged Nigerians to live life in moderation as the cancer scourge affect people of all ages explaining that “ we need to be aware of the identified associated causes of cancer and live a moderate life coupled with physical exercises so as to escape the scourge of cancer”. He stressed, “As we grow older, our body defenses weaken. We need to reduce our intake of a lot of substances harmful to our system”. Dr. Uduaghan commended the Pink Pearl Foundation for its cancer awareness campaign and growth in the last six years. He
keepers and hotel proprietors, the Governor observed that security reports have shown that most criminals make use of the hotels, adding that with the law coming into force, all inn-keepers and hotel proprietors must have detailed information about their customers at all times and make such available to security operatives in the state. admonished them to continue in their service to humanity especially in reducing cancer-related mortality rate. Speaking at a Roundtable discussion at the occasion, Mrs. Orode Ryan-Okpu, the founder of the Pink Pearl Foundation explained that the foundation which started six years ago has consistently carried out breast cancer awareness throughout the country stressing that the movie 'Living Funeral' is a visual platform meant to increase the breast cancer awareness among Nigerians especially on the emotional and psychology support needed by the victims.” She said that plans were afoot to screen the movie online and on various television stations so as to spread the breast cancer awareness message to its targeted audience. In a brief remark, The Movie Director, Mr. Udoka Oyeka explained that the movie highlighted the plight of a breast cancer victim and it was meant to create awareness and show people and the family in particular, how to care for victims and deal with breast cancer issues. WARRI MIRROR 13
APC Gets Interim Exco, Tasks Jonathan to Face Leading PDP as an Opposition Party
n Interim Executive Council (EXCO) has been elected by the Rivers State chapter of the All Progressives Congress (APC). It comprises members of both the APC and the defunct New Peoples Democratic Party (nPDP) which merged with the party on November 26, 2013. The Interim State EXCO which was set up on 9th December, 2013 is headed by Chief (Dr.) Davies Ibiamu Ikanya, a fearless and unassuming political leader, one-time gubernatorial candidate in Rivers State and Commissioner of Special Duties during the first tenure of Governor Chibuike Amaechi. Other members include, Chief Emeka Bekee (State Secretary), and Chief Andy Nweye, a well-known grassroots mobiliser and erstwhile Rivers State Director of National Orientation Agency (NOA), as the Publicity Secretary. Chief Mike Nweleighi is the Organising Secretary with Dr. Abel Tariah
as the State Treasurer. The Interim State Exco has already annexed the former complex of the Amaechi Gubernatorial Campaign Organisation at 38 forces Avenue, Old GRA, Port Harcourt. While taking over possession of the new APC State Secretariat, Dr. Ikanya declared: “Today is a joyful day in Rivers State as today the liberation of Rivers State from the shackles of undemocratic elements that have seized PDP and the entire democracy in Nigeria has begun. Today, we shall begin the struggle to enthrone proper democratic culture in Rivers State. Today, we bring hope and salvation to our people through a rescue mission which the birth of APC portends. This message of hope shall be published and taken to all the corners and crannies of Rivers State.” Dr. Ikanya went further by admonishing both President Jonathan and Alhaji Bamanga Tukur to accept and face the reality of leading PDP as
Oshiomhole: Golden 5 Years Of Edo Transformation Mr. Charles Afe Ikhaghe Dear Sir, “There is massive investment in infrastructure. The vision we have is that Edo State in the nearest future will become the preferred destination of investment.” ___ Louise Odion. First Executive Governor of Edo State stated that Edo State has now been placed squarely on the elite list of the handful of states that point to a Nigerian future that we dream about and that is possible of realization. My prayer and new expectations of Comrade Governor, Adams Oshiomhole, is that whilst he continues with his salvage operations in Edo State, he must also see it as a cardinal responsibility, indeed a calling to use his mobilizing and motivational gifts to help, in tandem with like minds to ensure that the atmosphere of change, which today pervades our long suffering nation becomes a reality. Omo N' Oba Erediauwa said “we make bold to say that your (Oshiomhole's) struggle for the good governance and better welfare for the good people of Edo State has created a deep and positive impression on the great people of Edo State that history will hardly forget”. Now this is what Nigeria’s Ambassador to Italy, Prime Eheneden Erediauwa, Ediaken N' Uselu describing the transformation taking place in Benin City and other parts of the state during the Edo Leadership Assembly's Annual Convention held in USA made these following statements. “The infrastructure and political horizon are being systematically transformed. The transformation I have seen within this short period in Benin City, City as many other people would have observed is unprecedented. In my capacity as Grand patron of Edo Leadership Assembly, I wish to on behalf of Edo people at home and in the 14 WARRI MIRROR
an opposition political party based on the various undemocratic acts of impunity associated with the party under their watch that led to the present sorry state of the party. With Chief Benjamin Apugo a amember of the BOT of PDP joining other notable Nigerians including the G5 Governors to leave the party the years of the reign of PDP is gone for the good of the country, Dr. Ikanya stated. The State Interim Chairman concluded by commending and congratulating the G5 Governors, namely, Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto), Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara) and Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), for deciding to choose the path of democracy by dumping the undemocratic PDP. He specially commended Governor Amaechi for all his sacrifices towards the birth of genuine democracy in Nigeria and urged him not to relent even in the face of brazen persecution by undemocratic elements in Abuja.
institution. The Governor has b e c o m e a reference point for good governance, home-grown leadership and international relations. Without mincing words, the Governor has, in a space of five years, changed the c o n c e p t o f governance, dismantling the old concept of “We and Then” and giving the masses a new hope that Nigeria is Gov. Oshiomhole not a failed project after all. He has awakened the hitherto Diaspora, to congratulate His Excellency, apathetic elite to once again feel part of the Governor Oshiomhole on the hope for a system and contribute their rich ideas to brighter future he has offered the people of nation building. He has made Edo, the miniEdo State. The ancient kingdom of Benin is Nigeria, a hub and preferred destination for fast catching up with other modern investors, business mongers and tourists metropolis such as Abuja for example. The alike, winning for the state a pride of place as governor has already set a standard and is Africa's Big Apple. But most of all, he had blazing a trail for other Governor to follow”. redrawn the political map of Nigeria, giving It is not the intention of this writer to the hitherto voiceless and toothless dwell on those touching and heart – rending opposition a pride of place in the nation's words since it will be a repetition of the political space as well as enlarging their coast obvious to devote this space to enumerating to include some hitherto hard core the pace of development going on in Edo conservatives under a new and befitting State today because it is already in the public name “Progressive” Nigeria politics will never domain. But like the Comrade Governor be that of winner-takes all ever again. And as I once said, it takes one person to begin a have said in my soon to be published book. revolution and over time others will fall in “Wind of Change Across Ado State”. line. What he is doing in Edo State today; the So Your Excellency, as we revolution he is leading in all sectors across celebrate your 5 years in office, we are the state is there for all including the celebrating the fall of the Wall of Executive opposition to see. immunity and impunity. We are celebrating Well, before I forget to pay own the emergence of true and people oriented tribute, let me just say that at 5 years in office, democracy. Governor Oshiomhole has become an Mr. Charles Afe Ikhaghe, is an author, resident in Lagos. DECEMBER 31, 2013.
Delta Govt. Charges Media To Refrain From Being Used To Incite People Against Security Agencies
elta State government has charged the media to refrain from being used to incite the people against security agencies. Secretary to the Delta State Government, Comrade Ovuozorie Macaulay who briefed the press shortly after the State Security Council meeting recently in Asaba said the government has observed that some traditional chiefs were taking advantage of the media to spread false tales about the state security agencies. He noted that the traditional rulers' conduct particularly as it affected the security challenges in Kokori, Ethiope East LGA, amounted to inciting the people against the security agencies in the area. According to him, security agencies in the state were doing their best to curb the criminal activities that is threatening the lives and property of Kokori residents and charged the
media to report the correct information on the progress being made by the agencies rather that spread falsehood. His words: “The government has heard certain stories about some traditional chiefs accusing the security agencies for not enforcing the rules of engagement against criminals in Kokori and it is not true, the security agencies are doing everything under the law to ensure that the high level of criminal activities such as kidnapping is reduced drastically in Kokori”. Comrade Macaulay added: “Innocent people are being harassed in Kokori and as a government we are determined to see that such acts come to an end. I call on all media personnel to refrain from being used to incite the public against the efforts of the state government to curb crime in the state”. He disclosed that the Security Council also discussed succession issues of the Independent Petroleum Marketers
Association of Nigeria (IPMAN), Warri chapter, disclosing that it was resolved that a caretaker committee be set up in April 2014 to conduct elections for the association. He assured Deltans that the security agencies would continue to carry out their responsibilities to prevent the town from being used for criminal activities. Also speaking the Commissioner for Police, Ikechukwu Aduba stated that the security agencies were collaborating with other agencies to curb criminal activities in Kokori and the state in general. He called on Deltans to be law abiding and support security agencies to rid the state of evil perpetrators and criminals. Delta State Governor, Dr Emmanuel Uduaghan presided at the Security Council meeting, which was attended by his Deputy, Prof. Amos Utuama (SAN) and security chiefs in the state.
Apologize To Oritsejafor Or…, Group Warns South South Bishops
people are genuinely interested in resolving crisis in political parties, what have they done about the protracted crisis in APGA involving two practicing Christians, Chief Chek-was Okorie and Chief Victor Umeh? If they are not abusing elders to justify the money they got from a South South politician, why have not intervened in the crisis between the Imo State governor, Owelle Rochas Okorocha and APGA?” Continuing, Mr. Ibrahim asked: “If they are truly men of God, as they claim, and they are genuinely pursing dialogue in a political party, why are they making reference to the CAN president's private jet and what is the involvement of grey hairs? For persons who claim to be prophets in the household of God to employ such derogatory language on their leaders shows the level o f mentorship they received from their mentor. “There are all manner of Christian leaders in the country, which is why a group of 'bishops' can engage in peace moves in political parties in the name of CAN, without getting authorization from their elected leaders,” he stated, nothing that if members of the said group fail to tenders the apology within the seven days “we will not hesitate to invite the EFCC to investigate the source of their sponsors”. The South South chairman of CAN, Archbishop God Dowell Avwomakpa has, however, announ-cd the suspension of members of the group from all activities of the regional CAN.
espite the suspension of some Bishops from the South South geo-political region of the country for anti-Christian activities, a group of Christian youth known as Christian Youth Movement for Emancipation and Justice has given them an ultimatum for recently employing abusive language on the person of CAN president, to publicly retract such invectives or risk being exposed for the world to know. Reacting to media reports purportedly at the instance of a group known as Global Peace Relief Initiative, led by Prophet Jones Erue who initiated an unauthorized dialogue between two PDP factions, chairman of CYMEJ, Mr. Thomas Musa Ibrahim who described the group members as political thugs who are out to extort money from politicians are acting their master's script who had given them N10 million. Mr. Ibrahim said the South South Christian leaders under the pretext of initiating dialogue on behalf of feuding PDP factions, adding that the umbrella body of Christians in the country, CAN is not a political party and has demonstrated its apolitical stance by allowing political parties to resolve their differences themselves. In a recent press conference, Prophet Erue described a statement DECEMBER 31, 2013.
Pastor Oritsejafor credited to the CAN president, Pastor Oritse-jafor to the effect that CAN is apolitical as laughable, adding that “they were disappointed that the leader could sit and watch his two children fight while the rest of us suffer only to come and blackmail those who take their time to seek solutions to the crisis.” They warned that no amount of blackmail or intimidation would deter them from the noble mission of rescuing the country from imminent collapse. According to him: “if these
WARRI MIRROR 15
MTN Supports Fight Against Crime in Bayelsa
elecommunication giant, Mobile Telecommunications Nigeria (MTN) Limited, has joined the operation to flush out criminals in Bayelsa State. The company through its foundation donated five hilux patrol pick-up vehicles to the government. The Acting Senior Manager Sales, Eastern Region, MTN Nigeria, Mr Onamari Horsfall, handed the keys to the veicles over to the Governor of the state, Mr. Seriake Dickson. He said the vehicles were donated in accordance with the company's corporate social responsibility and commitment to a secure and safe environment for lives and property across the country. Dickson lauded the communication company for keying into his administration's vision of providing adequate security in the state. He said security would engender socio-economic growth by attracting investors. Referring to the maintenance of law and order as a collective responsibility, Dickson who was represented by his deputy
Rear Admiral John Jonah (retd.) d e s c r i b e d M T N ' s e ff o r t s a s complementary. He said the security patrol vehicles would be added to the alreadyacquired security assets to combat crime and insecurity. The governor also presented vehicles to the newly completed Okaka Prisons. He said the gesture was aimed at ensuring efficient and effective prison administration in the state. He explained that his administration's support to the security outfit was borne out of “the far-reaching services it renders to society as a place of rehabilitation”. He said the present administration collaborated with the Federal Government to complete the Okaka Prison which was commissioned earlier in the year. He said the facility had brought relief to the congested p r i s o n i n neighbouring Ahoada in Rivers State.
Founders/Directors: Alex Eyengho Weyinmi Eyeguokan Robinson Oma Amadedon Chief (Dr.) Richmond Hope T. MacGrey Editor-in-Chief: Alex Eyengho (08038603734, 08023213980)
He said: “We put in a lot of efforts in ensuring that the prison facilities were supported by the State Government. It is an entirely Federal Government concern but the State Government has a responsibility to complement the efforts of the Federal Government. “So, we did that and the prison is now in use, saving us from the long journeys we used to make to Ahoada. Prison primarily is not a place for punishment but it is a place we reform people.But, it is also meant to keep away dangerous people away from us so that society will live in peace. This is why the State Government is collaborating with the Nigerian Prisons by providing these vehicles to facilitate the work of the prison.”
Special Project Editor: Uba Ubaka (08086878881, 08153909009)
Reporter/ Photo Journalist: Amaju D. Eyengho (08050738837) Secretary/Computer Operator (Lagos): Hassan Oduyebo (07084989732)
Production Editor: Tayo Olawale Amaco Ventures (Asaba) 08130730248
Internship: Eyimofe Onuwaje Nigeria Limited.
: 2d, Eloseh Street, off Agboyin Avenue, 10, Okere-Market Road, Okere Roundabout, 08038603734, 08083766085 Warri Mirror Nigeria Limited.
All rights reserved. 16 WARRI MIRROR
DECEMBER 31, 2013.
Finally, EPZ Berths
Ugborodo ‘‘President Jonathan has good intentions for Nigerians’’ Uduaghan ‘‘Only a Fool will believe that Statement’’ Obasanjo
I once derailed because of worldly things but thanks to my mum for bringing me back to God ORITSEFEMI
WINDOW VIEW The historical trajectory of the proposed Export Processing Zone (EPZ) in Delta State is quite dramatic and intriguing. It will make a good box office in Hollywood, Bollywood, Nollywood and indeed any filmmaking nation, should filmmakers decide to make a film of the story. Since President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan approved the EPZ to be cited in Koko, Delta State, there has been one story or the other acting as obstacles to fully actualizing the objective. Such obstacles are both internal and external. If other nonItsekiri communities are not laying claim to the EPZ in terms of location, Koko indigenes themselves were at dagger's drawn with themselves and the Delta State Government under the leadership of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan. Today, the EPZ has successfully berthed in the oil-rich Ugborodo community! How did this happen? What exactly happen? Even in Ugborodo, there are some isolated acts of criminality by some elements in the community. Who are the dramatis personae? These and more is the focus of our cover story captioned: “Finally, EPZ Berths Peacefully In Ugborodo: The isolated acts of criminality within”.
DECEMBER 31, 2013.
*** There are two letters currently making waves in the Nigerian political and economic space: The one written by the Governor of Central Bank, Mallam Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, and another written by former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Both letters have gone viral with that of former President Obasanjo attracting more comments. What is instructive is that Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State, holds a manifestly different opinion with the former President. We captured the mood in a crossfire captioned: 'President Jonathan has good intentions for Nigerians – Uduaghan', '… Only a fool will believe that statement – Obasanjo'. *** We also have a story about that rising musical star you all know as Oritsefemi. He said he once derailed as a result of worldly things but was dragged back to God by his Cameroonian mother. Read to know more about this Warri boy in our interview segment. *** This is wishing all our advertisers and numerous readers both locally and internationally a merry Christmas and a prosperous year 2014!
Editor-in-Chief) (08038603734, 08023213980)
WARRI MIRROR 17
How We Are Transforming Tourism In Delta - RMD He needs no introduction. He was (and still is!) an A-list actor in the Nigerian motion picture industry popularly called Nollywood. This was before he dabbled into politics in Delta State. Today, he is the Commissioner for Culture and Tourism in the oil-rich state. He is Richard Mofe Damijo otherwise known as RMD by his teeming fans. He shared his thoughts with newsmen recently in Asaba as a Commissioner. Excerpt. What has been your major focus since you assumed office, sir? y major focus apart from performing my statutory roles has been in the area of partnership, trying to bring in as many private investors into the business because prior to now the development of tourism in Delta State has mainly been a government priority and its dwindling funds and all that, it became imperative that even from trying to propagate culture and all that, we cannot depend on government. Because of my background in the private sector, my first desire was to try and make sure that every programme I had to do here had private sector participation. In the process of doing all of that, we expanded it and found what we were looking for. It started small with small enquiry and it later blossomed into a full-fledged relationship, which has resulted in our present partnership; so, that has been our major focus and because of the intention for job creation, it becomes even more imperative to keep looking for more investors. As I speak to you now, we are looking at concessioning the entire Convention Centre with a view to not just improving the facilities because to improve the facility is one thing, to now get people to use the facility is another. I had the privilege of visiting South Africa recently; in the process of attending an exhibition, I found out the space was so well utilized. We posed the question if the investors would be interested and they were interested and to my greatest surprise, about two weeks after my trip, they sent people here. They came through Benin and today we are talking and they are going to be here for another one month. They are going to be here with more of their people to take actual measurement of the entire grounds. In fact, I am hoping that over time they would keep expanding; in fact, they actually wanted to partner us in building a cultural centre. You know we own a land that is next to the Cenotaph and one of the things that I wanted to pursue during my tenure is to have a space that integrates every arm of culture and tourism -a land where tourism board would be, the art council would be, the administrative offices would be, a place where the cultural centre would also be for performances and have a shopping complex just like what you have in the museum in Lagos , the one near City Hall , a lively space. So, I wanted our gyms to have that place not just the office of the tourism ministry but to be the real focal point of activities in Asaba, a place that never goes to bed; that's the idea. Even if we don't achieve that, maybe the coming administration will achieve that. So, that has been the main aim of getting the investors here because with the investors money, we can do a whole lot more than the government can commission. How difficult has this been? It's been very difficult because the nature of tourism itself depends on the functionality of every other arm of government; so, it is only when there is complete oiling of the system; when education is working, when infrastructure is working, when health is working, when works is working, when housing and environment and when all other things are working. All of these elements have to keep coming together. So, for most times you wait apart from the direct development of the areas that nature has endowed you with or some of the very special things that we have been able to create like the Lander Brothers Anchorage,decoration or ornamentation of city roundabouts and museums and all of that for the other parts; we actually depend on how government is functioning. So, it is difficult because fund
18 WARRI MIRROR
RMD is a challenge and over and above everything else, security has been in the front burner of this country now in the last ten or so years in different areas. If it is not Boko Haram, it is agitation for the control of the oil well, piracy, militancy and so on. Nigeria has constantly grown since 9/11. We have been growing by the time the Xmas Bomber Nigerian boy was seen or caught with a device that could not detonate. Our tourism alert level rose to be at the same level with Pakistan. So, travel advisory is not in our favour in any way. I will give you an example; when we started discussions with Scarner Pfm, the first time that their expatriates came, the Asaba airport was not working then. I received them in Benin. I had to go to the army headquarters in Warri and the governor gave me clearance. So, I took some soldiers. I had police men just to be able to bring five of them to Warri. It was the demand of our visitors. The travel advisory was that they should not come. The luck I had was that I had a set of stubborn people that were also rugged; they wanted the sense of adventure. After we shipped them to Warri, we went around and they spent about eight days and they left. When they got back, one of them sent me the travel advisory that came when he had left that he should not near Nigeria that if he must come apart from Abuja and Lagos, he is not safe but he was now laughing and saying to them 'thank you very much but I have gone and come back'. It is not all of them that would take that risk. I will give you an example of what you suffer with security. The people who were supposed to build Warri Convention Centre; one of the times they came was when there was bombing in Warri during the Vanguard Lectures. We know that it is not a Delta thing, it is a national problem but when security is threatened anywhere, the first thing that suffers is movement, not just movement of foreigners to your country but internal movement. I do not know how you would love a posting to Borno State.Each time you are talking about Nigeria and tourism, I know what we suffer. The opposition you get is how will this work? You throw it back at their faces because you are talking with investors in South Africa and they are telling me how unsafe Nigeria is and I am telling them everybody that comes to your country is robbed between the airport and his hotel. The question arises: is South Africa safer than Nigeria? That is the kind of argument you are constantly faced with. You give examples of Israel, Egypt and the DECEMBER 31, 2013.
INTERVIEW Middle East that is dependent on tourism and that has not stopped tourists going to those places but once it is a developing country, everybody wants to make a mountain out of a mole hill. So, these are the challenges, they are such that once there is any major thing in or in your state, it tends to affect anything that has to do with tourism. But the comfort is that we have also come to a point where it is clear to everybody that we cannot keep relying on oil. There is a dire need to diversify; that is why the Delta State beyond Oil initiative should be commended. The major challenges have been funding and security issues. Despite your efforts and its cultural and natural endowments, it would appear Delta State has been unable to project itself as the preferred tourist destination in the country. I do not agree with you in the sense you have posed the question. For one, that of Cross River State, it is a deliberate state policy to pursue a state without oil that had started during the regime of ex-Governor Donald Duke. So, all policies are geared towards that area. What we have done here in the last six years is to redirect the efforts of government into diversification and so it is aimed purely at tourism alone. But in spite of not having done that in the sense of Cross River State, you will still find we are indeed a destination of choice in the area of conferencing in Asaba because there is relative peace and conducive environment. If you talk about an environment that has been enabled, Asaba has been enabled that is why people draw comparism. When you leave Edo State and enter Delta State, you will see a remarkable difference in terms of the layout of the town and when you cross into Onitsha, you see a remarkable difference. So, it is like an oasis smack in the middle of the desert. It just keeps drawing people to it and with the establishment of the airport, it has become a hub. Maybe we have not projected it in that sense like the Cross Rivers has done. agree with you that perception is reality. But we are beginning to break that perception gradually. It is not something the Culture Ministry can achieve as an arm of government but the entire government in terms of policies. Delta beyond Oil has just become the present focus; we have graduated beyond our 3Point Agenda naturally into the Delta beyond Oil, which is a bigger platform. It will come to fruition; we are incubating the Oleri Water Park , Ogwashi-Uku Wildlife Park. When they are functional, we will get to that point where we want to get to. The important thing is, are we laying certain foundation? Yes, we are. In the fullness of time, we will see come to public light. How significant is the Supreme Court judgment in the case between Lagos State and the Nigeria Tourism and Development Commission (NTDC)? How will it impact on revenues accruable to Delta? First and foremost, we do not get a lot of receipts in terms of collection from hotel registration from this part of the country because of our population. Sometimes when people compare Lagos and Delta, it is an unfair comparison, you are comparing 18 million people in a city that has been developed many decades unlike Delta State created 22 years ago. Having said that, what that judgment does is that every of our receipt is retained, boosting our IGR and being a conferencing centre, more hotels are being planned. In answering your question, part of what I did not mention is that before now we have been growing hospitality business at a small level but we have reached out to the bigger brands and so the branded hotels are coming; Hilton with development at very advanced stage, Best Western Deluxe are coming, there is a Protea in Warri but Protea is coming to Asaba. We are in discussion with some brands that I am not at liberty to divulge; so, all of those are part of it. When all of that comes in, whatever collection we make will be for us as a state as opposed to the time when 50 per cent goes to the Federal Government. How do you respond to critics who say the Oleri Leisure DECEMBER 31, 2013.
Resort may not get the required patronage and as such will not be a commercial success? People are entitled to their opinions; criticisms are welcome. The reason I am optimistic is that we have done our research, the investors have done their research, and the demographics are there. It is like saying will Shoprite work in Asaba? Before now, the first show I was going to do in Asaba â€“the first made-in-Warri show, we were very scared because you can stand in the middle of Ogboegonogo market, and you look right and left and the entire Asaba is before you. I feared where the people who will attend the show will come from. With pounding hearts, we went ahead and did the publicity and the show was to start at 7.00pm.I remember I took Ali Baba, Basket Mouth and the others to pay a courtesy call on the Deputy Governor. We were at the Deputy Governor's place at 4.00pm, but I got a call that we must come right because the hall was too full. I could not believe it because the entire venue was jam-packed. That was how we started doing concerts in Asaba and today everyone wants to do shows in Asaba. There is a tendency for people to look at everything that has to do with government as being grandiose. What is the essence of a tourist attraction if it is not in its grandest form. A leisure resort in the Niger Delta with people with highly disposable income that is bordered by Bayelsa, Rivers, Edo even Lagos states, I do not see how anyone will doubt that people will come. A family of five can go with N1000. The way the investors have calibrated the entire project at its worst receipt of 25 per cent patronage, they will still be in business. Do you know how long it took Disney Europe to break even? It took it 10 years. And guess where the receipts came from? Nigeria. People will come if the attractions are there. People confuse the facts, it is not government money. That is why they label it grandiose. How can tourism be anything less than grandiose? How can you build anything that will not take your breath away? Which is what is about to happen at Oleri Leisure Resort. People are even saying will it be ready before 2015, but why should the project all be ready be 2015,it is not a project that is tied to the lifespan of the Uduaghan administration. It is a private sector project with government's role clearly defined. If critics know what it takes to develop a theme park, they will know it is too late to pull out because too much has been committed to it already by the investors. How did you manage to pull this project through, because it is truly grand. What did you tell investors despite the advisory reports on security situations in the country? Nigeria has the numbers. You will use the success of MTN to prove to them that Nigeria is the place to do business despite the crime rate, poor infrastructure and all the other negatives but today we are responsible for 20 per cent of their entire income worldwide. Once we got Governor Uduaghan's backing, the rest was easy. WARRI MIRROR 19
I Once Derailed because of Worldly things but thanks to my mum for bringing me back to God —ORITSEFEMI
ritsefemi Majemite Ekile, popularly known as Oritsefemi, is an Itsekiri man from Warri in Delta State. Although his romance with music started when he was in the primary school, he shot to the limelight following the release of his hit single, 'Mercies of da Lord'. In this interview with newsmen recently in Lagos, he talks about his humble beginning, plans to get married soon and why he still keeps a low profile, among other interesting issues. Excerpt. How will you describe your grass-tograce story, when considered against the backdrop of the fact that you grew up in Ajegunle, a ghetto, in Lagos State? Ajegunle is the exodus; it is the movement of the Jah children as Bob Marley described it. They say the world is like a circle that moves around. Ajegunle is a part of me and it is from there that I get more of my inspiration. Sometimes, I still go back to Ajegunle to wine and dine with some of my friends. In fact, I still maintain an apartment at Ajegunle, where some of my friends live. So, it is not as if I have finally left my root. But in life, a man must keep growing. So, if you don't know how to take a step from one place to the other, that is where the problem starts. After the emergence of stars like Daddy Showkey, Baba Frayo and a few others, no new talent came out of Ajegunle for a long time. But suddenly, you surfaced on the scene and literally sang your way into people's hearts. So, could you tell me the secret behind your rising profile? First and foremost, I would attribute it to hard work. Apart from this, you must know how to diversify because the world, in general, has changed dramatically. Therefore, as things change, it is expected that there will also be a transformation in music. As a result, you must be flexible to change with people and move with the new trends. Presently, Afro-hip hop is the in-thing in the music industry. For instance, if you play Fuji, Raggae etc, you must include Afro, which was created by the late Fela Anikulapo Kuti. If you listen to Fela's music, you will find out that he infused so much pidgin in it. So, you must infuse pidgin and hip-hop in your music; and that is why you will always find it in my music. Apart from this, I will mention the need for you to be unique in whatever you do. I have found my unique selling point, which serves as my identity anywhere I go. In particular, my vocal stands me out. Whenever I sing, people easily know that it is me because of the way I sing. Having said this, I try my best and ensure that I put out very unique lyrics. So, I infuse all these into my music and it has been working for me. I make sure the contents are beyond ordinary reasoning. Another thing that we (I mean those of us from Ajegunle) lack is publicity. My boys will say things like “Na lie, dem no go play our music for radio.” They have the mindset that they won't play their music on radio. But I keep asking them whether they have gone there before. I encourage them to go to radio stations because the Nigerian music industry now is full of competition; so, you have to promote your songs. I always try my best to meet up with that competition; so, this explains why I am still relevant. When you dropped that song, Mercies of Da Lord, a lot of 20 WARRI MIRROR
Oritsefemi people thought it was from a gospel artiste. So, could you tell me the inspiration behind the song? I wasn't in a good time then. Also, my mum, a Cameroonian, is a good Christian and she was with me then. When she came back from Cameroon, she brought back the spirit of God in me then. When she came to live with me, the spirit of Godliness was revived in me. Actually, I was born and brought up in the way of the lord. But because of worldly things, I derailed. Luckily, my mum brought it all back. We would wake up and say our morning devotion. Besides, my mum would preach the word of God to me and tell me some certain things that elevated me, spiritually. So, that was how I got the inspiration. Actually, that song was the last I did in my album. I had already rounded off my album, but I just needed an intro to the album. So, when the producer, Ben Droze, heard the intro, he said what I just dropped could be a track; so, we now completed it, making it a full track. Honestly, that song just has one verse and that verse is just eight bars. It is very simple and short; and it has 106 billion meanings. So, it's like a biblical verse. Initially, how did you feel when things were not working the way you planned? Definitely, I felt so bad, but I didn't allow it to hold me down. Without exaggeration, I had been in the industry before God brought me out. I was once in a group called Junglists and our first album was entitled Boys Dey Binu. Luckily, we made a very good impact then. So, we did another album called Money DECEMBER 31, 2013.
Na Time, which included that very hit song, Tell dem say our eye don clear; tell dem say our eye don open o. It was a great hit then. But trust me, there was no money because the foreign music had overshadowed us then. We had some of our colleague likes Danfo Driver, African China, Showkey, Baba Frayo and Marvelous Benji buying the latest cars. But we, the Junglists, could not afford anything. With that, people started insulting us. So, those things started weighing us down a little bit. But I tried my best never to be intimidated by the challenges we were going through then. In fact, there was a day someone called me and said 'Oritsefemi, you guys have gone into relegation.' I was so saddened by that statement. You see, our music was everywhere, but they were not seeing the star in us then. I started thinking of how we could do it better and I kept my head straight. But my other colleague allowed the experience to weigh him down. He started doubting if music would truly pay off one day because he is an Igbo boy. He wanted to delve into other things, but I kept doing my thing. Sometimes, I would tell him we should go to studio, but he would always come up with excuses. However, it was not his fault. I would say it was largely due to what people were saying then. Prior to that, I went solo and that was when I dropped that my first hit single, Elewon, which is a very popular song on the streets. That song actually brought me to limelight. I remember that whenever I was performing it on stage, people would shove and push one another. So, I was encouraged to go back to the studio to do more and that was when I dropped my full album titled, Flop Politician. From there, I got a marketer. You know, when you are successful, people want to associate with you. The album was off 'Da hook', as I started reaping the fruit of my labour. Did you know what I did? I then remembered those guys who used to curse me that I didn't even own a car and all that. So, immediately I got the money, I bought two cars at once. I took them down to Ajegunle, bought drinks for my people and the noise was everywhere. The moral of this story is that, when people criticize you, it will make you to do more. If someone walks up to you and criticizes you over one major thing, it is because he or she wants you to get that thing. If they didn't tell you those things, you would still be relenting. So, because they said I didn't own a car, I, therefore, bought two to shame my critics. In truth, I learnt a lesson from that.
It seems you are the only one playing this genre of music, particularly because African China has not been very active lately and Timaya seems to be diversifying. So, what are you doing to support the other guys? Yeah! I've had so much about that and what I believe is that, we are all players. For instance, in a football match, we have everyone playing different wings; so, everyone must be noticed in his or her own position. Even if I am playing the defense role, I will try my best to be noticed. So, that's why I keep holding that place that I am. I don't want to talk about other people, but Timaya is a good friend who has always seen me like a counterpart. You know, sometimes, someone can be your friend and you still feel the guy is the only problem you have in the industry. Yes, we can come together and do songs together. The last time I called him that we should do a song together, he said it was okay. But he has kept 'posting' me because he sees me as a threat. He doesn't want a situation whereby people will be comparing us together. Timaya is good artiste, he has his own energy and he keeps doing what he knows how to do best. I can compete with any artiste in the world. For instance, I might be called upon to come and represent Nigeria on the international platform. By then, you won't be comparing me with Timaya. Basically, I don't want anyone to see me as a counterpart. It's like a football pitch, where everyone will be noticed. When precisely do you want to get married, since you now have everything you have been craving for? It will be any moment from now because I have a fiancĂŠ, Blessing, whom everybody knows. By God's grace, I will be getting married this year. Are you under any management at the moment? Yes, I have an international manager in Moscow and I'm planning to have an apartment in Moscow, Russia. They are working on my collaborations with international artistes any moment from now. What are you planning for the New Year? Actually, I was supposed to do some 'collabo' with Rihana sometime ago. There is a friend of mine that is very close to her management. Next year, a lot will be seen and heard from me.
R-L: Oritsefemi, rising musical star; Fragrance, Comrade Alex Eyengho and veteran actor, Ejike Asiegbu DECEMBER 31, 2013.
WARRI MIRROR 21
Finally, EPZ Berths Peacefully In Ugborodo * The isolated acts of criminality within
he historical trajectory of the proposed Export Processing Zone (EPZ) in Delta State is quite dramatic and intriguing. It will make a good box office in Hollywood, Bollywood, Nollywood and indeed any filmmaking nation, should filmmakers decide to make a film of the story. Since President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan approved the EPZ to be cited in Koko, Delta State, there has been one story or the other acting as obstacles to fully actualizing the objective. Such obstacles are both internal and external. If other non-Itsekiri communities are not laying claim to the EPZ in terms of location, Koko indigenes themselves were at dagger's drawn with themselves and the Delta State Government under the leadership of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan. Today, the EPZ has successfully berthed in the oil-rich Ugborodo community! How did this happen? What exactly happen? Even in Ugborodo, there are some isolated acts of criminality by some elements in the community. Who are the dramatis personae? The Genesis: â€œMr. P (i.e. President Goodluck Jonathan) has approved Koko as EPZ. We thank God for His graceâ€?. This was the text message sent by the governor of Delta State, Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan on August 14, 2009, to as many Itsekiris that he could get their phone numbers. Obviously, the governor's intention was to excite his Itsekiri kinsmen, particularly Koko indigenes by being the first to break the good news. No doubt, Koko people became excited and perhaps, in the spirit of this excitement, they started asking salient questions particularly as it concerns the government's acquisition of about 3, 000 hectares of Koko land as site for the EPZ. Serious land grabbing allegations were levied against the State Government. The people also complained bitterly about noncompensation by the government for the acquired hectares of land. They briefed a Warribased lawyer and top member of the Itsekiri Leaders of Thought (ILOT), Edward Ekpoko. In no time, Ekpoko fired a strongly worded letter to governor Uduaghan on the matter. Various allegations were made in the said letter. The governor promptly held consultative 22 WARRI MIRROR
meeting with Koko people with a view to educating them better about EPZ and its benefits. After the meeting, representatives of the community apologized to the governor for the embarrassment caused him with the Epkoko letter, which got media attention. This new development divided the community and indeed naturally led to the de-briefing of Barr. Ekpoko. Some anti-Uduaghan elements in the community believed there was more to the blanket acquisition of their land by the State government. They did not hide their discontents. There were protests and media publications to drive home their points. In the midst of all these, news filtered in that the EPZ project would be moved out of Koko. Not a few people believed that governor Uduaghan had no hand in this. The truth, however is that they were dead wrong. It was a mere coincident. The reason for moving the project out of Koko was purely on technical grounds. The Koko River and port was simply not suitable for the project. Big ships can simply not berth in Koko, and this is a major impediment for the companies coming into the proposed EPZ. The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and the managers of EPZs in the country made these findings. Governor Uduaghan had no hands in it! (Contd. on Pg. 27) DECEMBER 31, 2013.
Some exclusive pictures at the inauguration of the Ugborodo Working Committee on the Ogidigben Export Processing Zone (EPZ) Project, at the Government House Annex, Warri, recently.
Reps of Gov. Emmanuel Uduaghan, Comrade Ovuezure Macaulay (SSG, Delta State) in a warm handshake with Chairman of the Committee, Chief Thomas Ereyitomi, while others look on
Chief Thomas Ereyitomi making his remarks while others (Pastor Benson Babine, Toju Omadeli, Mr. John Edah and Gabriel Mebanghanje) look on
L-R: Gabriel Mebanghanje, Ms Doris Omode (behind), Mr. John Edah, Prince Perry Atete, Chief Pullen Esimimajemite, Chief Thomas Ereyitomi, Pastor Benson Babine, Mr. Sandys Omadeli-Uvwoh and others
L-R: Delta Govt Reps: Rear Admiral John Kpokpogiri (rtd), Mr. Mofe Pirah (Commissioner for Oil & Gas), Comrade Ovuezure Macaulay (SSG) and a Senior Special Assistant to the Governor
Vice Chairman of the Committee (r), Mr. Isaac Botosan and Mr. Toju Omadeli
L-R: Secretary of the Committee, Pastor (Dr.) Benson Babine, Mr. Sandys Omadeli-Uvwoh and Barr. Austin Oboroegbeyi
L-R: Delta Govt Reps: Rear Admiral John Kpokpogiri (rtd), Mr. Mofe Pirah (Commissioner for Oil & Gas), Comrade Ovuezure Macaulay (SSG) and a Senior Special Assistant to the Governor
R-L: Barr. Austin Oboroegbeyi, Mr. Jolomi Metseaghanrun and Chief Ayiri Emami. seated behind are Mr. Mike Okoturo and Mr. Johnbull Ojogbo
DECEMBER 31, 2013.
23 WARRI MIRROR
PICTORIAL Some pictures at the wedding ceremony of Mr. Okofu Ubaka to former Miss Ufuoma Egbagba in Warri, 2012
Pix 1: Bride and Bridegroom, Mr. & Mrs. Okofu in group photograph with officiating ministers of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, House of Glory Parish, Effurun Warri Pix 2: A day to remember! Okofu Ubaka takes former Miss Ufuoma Egbagba as wife at the Redeemed Christian Church of God, House of Glory Parish Effurun, Warri Pix 3: Popular Warri-based twin Sister; Manreen & Rosemary Ejejigbe with Comrade Alex Eyengho Pix 4: Dowery paying day: Bride & bridegroom Mr. & Mrs. Okofu Ubaka Pix 5: The bride & groom, Mr. & Mrs. Okofu & family members of the groom. (from right: Mr. & Mrs. Orugbo & sister Omawumi) 24 WARRI MIRROR
DECEMBER 31, 2013.
Some pictures at the traditional wedding ceremony (Temotsi) of Mr. Oliseh Enebeli to former Miss Temisan Barrow in Abuja, earlier this month Pix 1: Mr. & Mrs. Oliseh Enebeli; the newest couple in town! Pix 2: The bride, Mrs. Temisan Oliseh Enebeli (nee Barrow) Pix 3: The ‘Okparan’, Mr. Gbitse Barrow & his father, Dr. Robert Oritsegbesimi Barrow Pix 4: Mr. Omatsola Barrow of MTN and Mr. Temi Tuedor of Skye Bank L-R: Chairman of the occasion, Peter Oruru, the ‘Okparan’, Gbitse Barrow & Dr. Robert Oritsegbesimi Barrow Pix 6: Dr. Robert Oritsegbesimi Barrow DECEMBER 31, 2013.
25 WARRI MIRROR
Peaceful Protest in Ugborodo
26 WARRI MIRROR
DECEMBER 31, 2013.
Some of the Committee Members with Delta State Govt Reps The next challenge however, was the next community the EPZ would relocate to. Various communities, particularly Ijaws lobbied intensely to have the project sited in their communities. President Jonathan was already falling for the Ijaw clamour to have the project located in their community. However, inside sources informed this magazine that governor Uduaghan stood his ground that it would be inexpedient for the peace in the area should a project meant for an Itsekiri community be relocated to an Ijaw community or any other community for that matter within the State. This argument made sense to the Presidency. The next set of lobby came from other Niger Delta States who also wanted the project because of its attendant benefits. Again, the governor was a step ahead of his colleague governors. Fortunately, some of the companies desirous of coming into the EPZ, identified and fell in love with the 5 Ugborodo communities (Ogidigben, Ajudaibo, Madangho, Ijaghala and Ode-Ugborodo), with the high sea advantage. Before long, meetings were set up between the State Government, NNPC, the Ugborodo Community Trust under the leadership of Chief Thomas Ereyitomi, and the Ugborodo Council of Elders. The Ugborodo people embraced the project with open hearts and hands without any stringent conditionality. Hectares of Ugborodo land were surveyed particularly in Ogidigben and Ajudaibo communities. Several meetings were further held between the State Government and DECEMBER 31, 2013.
Ugborodo people in Ode-Ugborodo, Asaba and Warri. Documents were exchanged. The EPZ project was good to go! The Koko people threw some jabs and kicked, particularly on the pages of newspapers for some time. But they soon backed down when the reality on ground dawned on them. The Exodus: With the coast crystal clear and after painstaking meetings and consultations between the Delta State Ministry of Oil & Gas and the Ugborodo people, Governor Uduaghan approved the composition of a 28-man 'Ugborodo Working Committee on the Ogidigben Export Processing Zone Project'. The committee, which has the mandate to interface with all the relevant bodies that have to do with the EPZ project, was inaugurated at the Governor's Office Annex, Warri, on November 18, 2013 by Governor Uduaghan who was represented by the Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Comrade Ovuezere Macaully. The EPZ Committee is made up of: Chief Thomas Ereyitomi (Chairman), Isaac Botosan (Vice Chairman), Pastor (Dr.) Benson Babine (Secretary) and Chief Ayiri Emami (Public Relations Officer). Other members are Sandys Omadeli-Uvwoh, Austin Oboroegbeyi, Wynn Agba, Moses Ajijala, Joseph Ayonmike, Gabriel Mebaghanje, Prince Perry Atete, Ayo Ayomike, Pullen Esimimajemite, and Hon. David Tonwe. Others are Mike Okoturo, Julius Atete, Johnbull Ojogbo, Comrade Alex Eyengho, Bawo Emami, Godwin O. Amoseye, John Edah, Mercy Olowu, Doris Omode, Emmanuel Adun, Toju WARRI MIRROR 27
Omadeli, Jolomi Metseagharun, Prof. Ogbemi Omatete and Mrs. Betty-Abraham Igbene. The committee started meeting barely three days after the inauguration. The committee has also met with representatives of NNPC, Delta State Government and Julius Berger Nigeria Plc. A Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between the four parties have since been signed. The MoU is for the development of Ogidigben Industrial Park Project which covers at least 400 hectares of the over 2,800 hectares the entire EPZ project would cover. This stage of the EPZ project would prepare the area for a groundbreaking ceremony to be conducted by President Jonathan next year. Reacting to the development, the Delta State Commissioner for Oil and Gas, Mr. Omamofe Pirah, announced that work on the Ogidigben EPZ, a joint venture between the Federal Government and the Delta State Government, would commence soon. According to him, the EPZ estimated to cost about $20 billion (about N3.12 trillion), would house a gas hub, a petrochemical plant, a fertilizer plant, a seaport, a five-star hotel, banks and about 5, 000 housing units. Mr. Pirah who confirmed that about 400 hectares of land of the total 2, 800 hectares acquired for the project is in the process of clearing, pointed out that stakeholders have met and agreed to cooperate and build a viable EPZ. He further emphasized that the project would create employment and contribute to the development of the state, the region and the nation. EPZ Defined: A Free Trade Zone (FTZ) or Export Processing Zone (EPZ) is an area of a country where some normal trade barriers such as tariffs and quotas are eliminated and bureaucratic requirements are lowered in hopes of attracting new business and foreign investments. It is a region where a group of countries have agreed to reduce or eliminate trade barriers. Free Trade Zones can be defined as labor-intensive manufacturing centers that involve the import of raw materials or components and the export of factory products. Corporations setting up in a zone may be given tax breaks as an incentive. Usually, these zones are set up in underdeveloped parts of the host country; the rationale is that the zones will 28 WARRI MIRROR
attract employers and thus reduce poverty and unemployment, and stimulate the area's economy. These zones are often used by multinational corporations to set up factories to produce goods. The Isolated Acts of Criminality Within: Meanwhile, for reasons not yet known, some persons in one of the 5 Ugborodo communities (Ode-Ugborodo) have constituted themselves into a criminal gang with a view to fomenting trouble and disturbing the peace in the area. This posed some sort of threat to the proposed EPZ coming to Ugborodo. However, the trouble makers have since been apprehended by law enforcement agencies and charged to court. To this end, a Chief Magistrate Court sitting in Warri has ordered that the Spiritual head of Ugborodo community in Warrri South-West council area of Delta state, High Priest Benson Dube Omadeli and three others be remanded in prison custody pending the legal opinion of the state Director of Public Prosecution(DPP). Presiding Magistrate Enah Odjugo gave the remand order in Charge N0. 359 c/2013 between the Commissioner of Police and Benson Omadeli, Micheal Lodge, Churchill Omadeli and Uwawah Joseph in a five count charge of kidnapping, attempted murder, promoting communal war, unlawful society which according to the charge amounted to committing an offence punishable under section 516 of the Criminal Code Law Cap C21 Vol. 11 Laws of Delta State 2006. According to charge two, the suspects allegedly unlawfully bind and tied the hands and th legs of one Lucky Tsewaro on the 7 day of November, 2013 to prevent him from applying to court for his release or from disclosing to any other person the place where he is imprisoned, while on count three they were accused of setting fire to his body with a view to kill him. They were further charged for constituting themselves with others now at large to an unlawful society without a name and behaved in a manner to incite act of violence, intimidation, disturbance by subverting or promoting the subverting of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, while on the last count, they were said to have without lawful authority make preparations for war among the indigenes of Ugborodo DECEMBER 31, 2013.
community, all punishable offences under the state law 2006. After reading the charges to them, the Judge thereafter ordered that they be remanded in prison custody pending legal advise from the DPP and adjourned the matter to December 10, 2013 for mentioning. The four persons were then taken out of the courtroom straight to the Okere Federal Prisons in very tight security that created traffic logjam at the Okere road leading to the prison. Meanwhile, the Delta State AttorneyGeneral and Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Charles Ajuyah,SAN, told the Federal High Court sitting in Warri that being the Spiritual head of Ugborodo community does not confer anyone the right to commit crime. The Attorney General made the statement at the court in a bail application seeking the release of the spiritual head of the community, Benson Dube Omadeli, noting that criminality of any kind must be curtailed by the due process of the law. Similarly, Mr. Jolomi Metsaghanrun who was also in court charged the Governor to stem the tide of unwarranted brigandage and violence in Ugborodo, saying that “no one should hide under the provisions of fundamental human rights after ordering the unconstitutional torture of another innocent Nigerian”. He called on Dr. Uduaghan to stand firmly on the on-going Ugborodo matter and be decisive this time around, saying, “that was how they killed my father”. He said it was a criminal offence for the Spiritual head of the community to order the torture of one Lucky Tsewaro who also has a right to live. The legal team of the accused persons has approached the State High Court seeking bail but was not granted and thereafter went to the Federal High Court presided over by Hon. Justice Mohammed Abubakar who also declined to grant bail but adjourned hearing of the case to 23rd December, 2013. Reacting to this, some elders, women and youths loyal to the detainees, staged a peaceful protest in Ode-Ugborodo community over the arrest and detention of the Olaja Orori (Chief Priest) of the community, Omadeli Benson Dube, by naval operatives. The Nigerian Navy said Dube and three DECEMBER 31, 2013.
others were arrested to avert a breakdown of law and order in the community; but the protesters said the security agency were acting the scripts of their paymasters and pandering to the whims of the state government. The NNS Delta, Warri Naval Base Information Officer, Lieutenant I. Yohanna, told our correspondent on telephone that Dube ordered the torture of two young men and supporters of Chief Ayiri Emami. Chief Emami, who heads the Delta State Waterways and Security Committee, later told newsmen that the suspects were arrested for illegal bunkering and other sundry crimes. But the sparsely populated protesters fingered Chief Emami and the Chairman of the Ugborodo Community Trust, Chief Thomas Ereyitomi for instigating the arrests of their kinsmen who challenged their leadership of the community. Earlier in the month, a young supporter of a self-acclaimed factional Chairman of the Ugborodo Community Trust, (Mr. David Tonwe) was purportedly shot dead. His remains were allegedly carted away by his killers. Emami said the 'victim' was made up to embarrass him, adding that there was no murder. It was against this background that Dube, Joseph Uwawah and others were arrested. The four men were detained at the Warri Naval base for three days before they were taken to Asaba.They were returned to Warri and taken to a Magistrate's Court. They were sent to the Okere Prison after having five-count charge of attempted murder, kidnapping and illegal bunkering, among other charges read to them. Femi Uwawah, who led the protest, alleged tonewsmen that Chiefs Ereyitomi and Emami were being used by Governor Uduaghan to persecute the community for his personal interest. He alleged: “The state governor called a stakeholders' meeting. We went there with the spiritual head of Ugborodo. He (Uduaghan) asked the Chief Priest to be arrested. He was arrested and taken to Area Command of the Nigeria Police Force in Warri, until the chief priest was later released. Now, they went to the Navy because the police would not support their evil intention.” Uwawah accused the governor of setting 29 WARRI MIRROR
up a parallel 'Trust,' and insulting the traditional leadership of the community because of his selfish interest. Pa Anderson, who led the elders, lamented: “We are highly intimidated. We are highly oppressed. They made money now; they want to enslave us. They want us to dance to their tune; that we have no say of our own again. Those we gave power sometimes ago are the people fighting us because they have made money.” Madam Felicia Bobi said the people of the community decided to go on protest because the leaders of the community have failed them; as there is nothing to show for their years of leadership. Confirmation of Peace in Ugborodo: Meanwhile, disturbed by the wrong signals the isolated acts of criminality by a few people in one of the 5 communities that make up Ugborodo (Ode-Ugborodo) could send out to outsiders particularly companies coming for the EPZ project, stakeholders from the five communities staged a peaceful protest to demonstrate to the world that there was peace in the entire Ugborodo community. The protesters reaffirmed that the community is very peaceful and investment-friendly to accommodate the EPZ Project. Addressing journalists on the state of security in the community, placard-carrying indigenes of the community, stated that those peddling the rumour of crisis in the area only harped on an isolated incident in one of the 5 communities that make up Ugborodo. They posited that criminality couldn't be described as community politics, adding that the law enforcement agencies have taken up the matter, and that it has nothing to do with the proposed EPZ Project. “As you can see, following a tour of communities making up Ugborodo, the people of the area are happy with the project as it would bring job opportunities for the entire Delta State. That is why we are appreciative of the government of the day for this EPZ project”, a protester told journalists. The Olare-aja of Madangho community, Mr. Benson Okoturoh and the community's youth Chairman in their remarks, said “Madangho is a peaceful community. What we are waiting for is the commencement of the EPZ project’’. 30 WARRI MIRROR
At Ogidigben community, the Woman Leader, Madam Mercy Olowu while welcoming officials of the NNPC, Chief Ayiri Emami and the Chief Security Officer of the area who were at the community for an assessment visit, stated that the people's peaceful resolve was to work towards the success of the project when it begins. Some inscriptions on the placards read: “Peace is part of us in Ugborodo”, EPZ is the new hope, NNPC please act fast!”, “Thank you Uduaghan, thank you Jonathan for EPZ opportunity” etc. Other community youth leaders who spoke on the current peace in Ugborodo were Japheth Emami (Akpakpa-Ajudaibo), David Mamah (Ogidigben) and a Woman Leader, Madam Mabel Osangbanjumi from Madangho community. If anything, one thing is certain: the EPZ ship has berthed peacefully in Ugborodo; ready to commence operation with maximum cooperation from the entire Ugborodo community
Okorodudu & Emebiren Descendants of Ugbuwangue gears up for end of year party All is now set for the grand end of year party of the Okorodudu & Emebiren Descendants of Ugbuwangue. Sources close to the Chairman of the body, Mr. John Oduone told Warri Mirror that descendants and their friends are upbeat about the event which comes up on Friday, December 20, 2013 by 2.00pm at Ugbuwangue, Warri. Already, the ancient Ugbuwangue Community was aleady in celebration mood as at the time of going to press.
(Watch out for details and pictures in our nextedition). DECEMBER 31, 2013.
President Jonathan has Good Intentions for Nigerians G overnor Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State has called on Nigerians to give President Goodluck Jonathan the kind of support that secured the President victory at the 2011 polls, stressing that the President has good intentions for Nigerians. Speaking at a People's Democratic Party (PDP) stakeholders meeting, recently in Asaba, Delta State, Governor Uduaghan observed that the activities of Boko Haram and the industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) have impacted on Jonathan's presidency. According to him, the activities of Boko Haram and the industrial action by members of ASUU were posing serious challenge to governance in the country, but the Governor noted that the Federal Government has met the demands of ASUU except “there is something else behind it". Besides, he said the Federal Government was tackling the issues of Boko Haram and appealed to everyone to rally round the President. “I want to appeal to every zone in our country to give President Jonathan the support we gave him during his elections in 2011”, Dr Uduaghan said, asserting, "let me assure everyone that Delta State is fully a PDP state, we are solidly and firmly behind President Goodluck Jonathan." explaining that with his leadership there was a lot of hope for the country's development. "Let me assure everyone that Delta State is fully a PDP state, the strongest supporter of President Goodluck Jonathan and his administration. We are strongly and firmly behind his administration and we will continue to support his policies and vision”, DR. Uduaghan
Gov. Uduaghan said. He emphasized that President Jonathan meant well for Nigeria and has engaged in programs that will make the country better, reiterating: "We should continue to back him strongly." Dr Uduaghan used the occasion to thank those who have indicated interest to become the next Governor of Delta State for not heating up the polity with their interests and informed them that he does not have the power to install his successor. “I cannot put somebody as the next Governor, I have only one vote,” he said, adding that as a political party, the PDP was becoming stronger in the state and at the national levels. He stated that what was happening in the party at the national level where some of its members were threatening to join other political parties was being sorted out with President Jonathan intervening, assuring: "What is happening in the PDP at the national level is being sorted out and our party will emerge stronger."
The Governor also disclosed that 10 more members would be appointed to the Youth D e v e l o p m e n t C o m m i t t e e a n d Wo m e n Development Committee respectively as an effort to increase empowerment at the local government level, explaining “that the names are being processed and in the next few days they will be approved”. Dr. Uduaghan charged the party at the local government level to ensure that the members of the committees were not ghost workers. He disclosed that a local government tour would soon be embarked on to further unify the People's Democratic Party in the state. Gov. Uduaghan charged Deltans to continue to support the Peoples DemocraticParty in upcoming elections rather than pledging their allegiance to another party explaining that it was not in the state's best interest to support another party. He urged local government and ward chairmen to show exceptional leadership qualities by working together in peace and unity as well as practice the act of give and take to ensure the success and growth of the party at the grassroots level. The Chairman of the PDP in South South Zone, Dr Steve Oru thanked Governor Uduaghan for his support and urged members of the PDP not to waver in their faith in Governor Uduaghan and the PDP. In his welcome address, the Chairman of the PDP in Delta State, Barr. Peter Nwaoboshi said the meeting was "to discuss and give account of our stewardship within this period." He thanked Governor Uduaghan for his support for the Party and stated that Secretariat building of the party has been completed saying: "We have the best Secretariat building in the whole of Africa, it has been completed."
. . . Mourns Mandela, Preaches Peace, Tolerance
elta State Goveronor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan recently reacted to the death of former South African President, Nelson Mandela and urged world leaders to engage in actions that will only encourage peaceful coexistence. The Governor, who was in a very pensive mood, led members of the state Executive Council to "Mandela Garden of 95 Trees", Asaba to sign a condolence register that was opened in honour of the late Africaborn, world acclaimed peace maker. He described the Late Nelson Mandela as a great leader who believed in peaceful co-existence, perseverance, tolerance and non-violent struggle. “Despite the fact that Mandela spent 27 years in prison, he forgave those who imprisoned him and unified the whole of South-Africa regardless of race or colour. Today, South Africa is a peaceful nation without racial discrimination.” Dr. Uduaghan charged world leaders to emulate the late Nelson Mandela and engage in peaceful actions stating that no leader should look down on others rather they should treat their fellow citizens with respect and dignity and see themselves as rendering service to humanity. While noting that Mandela "was the greatest African that ever lived and one of the DECEMBER 31, 2013.
greatest men in the world," Dr Uduaghan observed “that Mandela showed tolerance and continued to preach peace, he ensured that we have a more developed South Africa, his family should be very proud of him," adding that it was a thing of joy and a consolation that Delta State had a link with him through the Mandela Garden Of 95 Trees, which was commissioned by members of his family before his death. He promised that the state would continue to uphold the Mandiba ideals. The governor used the occasion to call on youths to emulate theperseverance and peaceful life of Mandela who started his struggle as a youth, asserting that youths should be peaceful in their approach to issues. "Mandela did not start his struggle at old age, the youths must emulate him and carry out their activities peacefully," the Governor said. In the condolence register, the Governor wrote, "we celebrate the life of President Nelson Mandela, his death has brought peace which he fought for all through his life. We pray that the world will be a more peaceful place. Delta State mourn a great leader." To the Commissioner for Health in Delta State, Dr Joseph Otumara, Mandela "lived a fulfilled life. Blessed is the one that fulfilled the business of his life, then death is a fulfilled one. This is your case. May God grant your spirit a perfect rest."
Earlier in a sermon at a brief memorial service at the Garden, the Chaplain of Government House Chaplaincy, Revd. Ben Golley urged the living to be guided in their actions by how such actions impact on others, asking, "what will you leave behind? When will you begin to release positive things into people's lives? We should pray to God to teach us how to number our days". Prayers were offered for the soul and families of Mandela during the service.
Mandela WARRI MIRROR 31
FOR THE RECORDS
A Letter Of Appeal To President Jonathan *Before It Is Too Late December 2, 2013 His Excellency, Dr. Goodluck E. Jonathan, GCFR President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Presidential Villa, Asokoro, Abuja.
Dear Mr. President, I am constrained to make this an open letter to you for a number of reasons. One, the current situation and consequent possible outcome dictate that I should, before the door closes on reason and promotion of nation interest, alert you to the danger that may be lurking in the corner. Two, none of the four or more letters I have written to you in the past two years or so has elicited neither an acknowledgement nor any response. Three, people close to you, if not yourself, have been asking, what does Obasanjo want? Four, I could sense a semblance between the situation that we are gradually getting into and the situation we fell into as a nation during the Abacha era. Five, everything must be done to guard, protect and defend our fledgling democracy, nourish it, and prevent bloodshed. Six, we must move away from advertently or inadvertently dividing the country along weak seams of North-South and Christian-Moslem. Seven, nothing should be done to allow the country to degenerate into economic dormancy, stagnation or retrogression. Eight, some of our international friends and development partners are genuinely worried about signs and signals that are coming out of Nigeria. Nine, Nigeria should be in a position to take advantage of the present favourable international interest to invest in Africa – an opportunity that will not be open for too long. Ten, I am concerned about your legacy and your climb-down which you alone can best be the manager of, whenever you so decide. Mr. President, you have on a number of occasions acknowledged the role God enabled me to play in your ascension to power. You put me third after God and your parents among those that have impacted most of your life. I have always retorted that God only put you where you are and those that could be regarded as having played a role were only instruments of God to achieve God's purpose in your life. For me, I believe that politically, it was in the best interest of Nigeria that you, a Nigerian from minority group in the South could rise to the highest pinnacle of political leadership. If Obasanjo could get there, Yar'Adua could get there and Jonathan can get there, any Nigerian can. It is now not a matter of the turn of any section or geographical area but the best interest of Nigeria and all Nigerians. It has been proved that no group – ethnic, linguistic, religious or geographical location – has monopoly of materials for leadership of our country. And no group solely by itself can crown any of it members the Nigerian CEO. It is good for Nigeria. I have also always told you that God has graciously been kind, generous, merciful and compassionate to me and He has done more than I could have ever hoped for. I want nothing from you personally except that you should run the affairs of Nigeria not only to make Nigeria good, but to make Nigeria great for which I have always pleaded with you and I will always do so. And it is yet to be done for most Nigerians to see. For five capacities in which you find yourself, you must hold yourself most significantly responsible for what happens to fails to happen in Nigeria and in any case most others will hold you responsible and God who put you there will surely hold you responsible and accountable. I have had opportunity, in recent times, to interact closely with you and I have come to the conclusion painfully or happily that if you can shun yourself to a great extent of personal and political interests and dwell more on the national interest and also draw the line between advice from selfish and self-centered aides and advice from those who in the interest of the nation may not tell you
32 WARRI MIRROR
what you will want to hear, it will be well. The five positions which you share with nobody except God and which place great and grave responsibility on you are leadership of the ruling party, headship of the Federal Government or national government, Commander-in-Chief of the Military, Chief Security Officer of the nation, and the political leader of the country. Those positions go with being President of our country and while depending on your disposition you can delegate or devolve responsibility, but the buck must stop on your table whether you like it or not. Let me start with the leadership of the ruling party. Many of us were puzzled over what was going on in the p a r t y. M o s t p a r t y members blamed the National Chairman. I understand that some in the presidency tried to create the impression that some of us were to blame. The situation became clear only when the National Chairman spoke out that he never did anything or acted in any way without the a p p r o v a l o r concurrence of the Party Leader and that where the Party Leader disapproved, he made correction or amendment, that we realised most actions were those of the Chairman but the motivation and direction were those of the Leader. It would be unfair to continue to level full blames on the Chairman for all that goes wrong with the Party. The Chairman is playing the tune dictated by the Paymaster. But the Paymaster is acting for a definitive purpose for which deceit and deception seems to be the major ingredients. Up till two months ago, Mr. President, you told me that you have not told anybody that you would contest in 2015. I quickly pointed out to you that the signs and the measures on the ground do not tally with you statement. You said the same to one other person who shared his observation with me. And only a fool would believe that statement that you made to me judging by what is going on. I must say that it is not ingenious. You may wish to pursue a more credible and honourable path. Although you have not formally informed me one way or the other, it will be necessary to refresh your memory of what transpired in 2011. I had gone to Benue State for the marriage of one of my staff, Vitalis Ortese, in the State. Governor Suswam was my hospitable host. He told me that you had accepted a one-term presidency to allow for ease of getting support across the board in the North. I decided to crosscheck with you. You did not hesitate to confirm to me that you are a strong believer in a one-term of six years for the President and that by the time you have used the unexpired time of your predecessor and the four years of your first term, you would have almost used up to six years and you would not need any more term or time. Later, I heard from other sources including sources close to you that you made the same commitment elsewhere, hence, my inclusion of it in my Address at the finale of your campaign in 2011 as follows: “…PDP should be praised for being the only party that enshrines federal character, zoning and rotation in its Constitution and practices it. PDP has brought stability and substantial predictability to the polity and the system. I do not know who will be President of Nigeria after Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. That is in the hand of God. But with PDP policy and practice, I can reasonably guess from where, in term of the section of the country, the successor to President Jonathan will come. And no internal democracy or competition will thereby be destroyed. The recent resort to sentiments and emotions of religion and regionalism is self-serving, unpatriotic and mischievous, to say the least. It is also preying on dangerous emotive issues that can ignite uncontrollable passion and destabilise if not destroy our country. This is being oblivious of the sacrifices others have made in the past for unity, stability and democracy in the Nigeria in giving up their lives, shedding their blood, and in going to prison. I personally have done two out of those three sacrifices and I am ready to do the third if it will serve the best interest of Nigerian dream. Let me appeal to those who have embarked on this dangerous road to reflect and desist from taking us on a perishable
DECEMBER 31, 2013.
FOR THE RECORDS journey. With common identity as Nigerians, there is more that binds us than separates us. I am a Nigerian, born a Yoruba man, and I am proud of both identities, as they are for me complementary. Our duties, responsibilities and obligations to our country as citizens and, indeed, as leaders must go side by side with our rights and demands. There must be certain values and virtues that must go concomitantly with our dream. Thomas Paine said “my country is the world”, for me, my country I hold dear. On two occasions, I have had opportunity to work for my successors to the government of Nigeria. On both occasions, I never took the easy and destabilising route of ethnic, regional or religious consideration rather I took the enduring route of national, uniting and stabilising route. I worked for both President Shagari and President Yar'Adua to succeed me not just because they are Moslems, Northerners or Hausa-Fulani, but also because they could strengthen the unity, stability and democracy in Nigeria. We incurred the displeasure of ethnic chauvinists for doing what was right for the country. That is in the nature of burden of leadership. A leader must lead no matter whose ox is gored. In the present circumstance, let me reiterate what I have said on a number of occasions. Electing Dr. Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, in his own right and on his own merit, as the President of Nigeria will enhance and strengthen our unity, stability and democracy. And it will lead us towards the achievement of our Nigerian dream. There is press report that Dr. Goodluck Jonathan has already taken a unique and unprecedented step of declaring that he would only want to be a one-term President. If so, whether we know it or not, that is a sacrifice and it is statesmanlike. Rather than vilify him and pull him down, we, as a Party, should applaud and commend him and Nigerians should reward and venerate him. He has taken the first good step. Let us encourage him to take more good steps by voting him in with landslide victory and the fourth elected President of Nigeria on the basis of our common Nigerian identity and for the purpose of actualizing Nigerian dream…” When you won the election, one of the issues you very early pursued was that one term of six years. That convinced me that you meant what you told me before my Speech at the campaign. Mr. President, whatever may be your intention or plan, I cannot comment much on the constitutional aspect of your second term or what some people call third term. That is for both legal and judicial attention. But if constitutionally you are on a strong wicket if you so decide, it will be fatally morally flawed. As a leader, tow things you must cherish and hold dear among others are trust and honour both of which are important ingredients of character. I will want to see anyone in the Office of the Presidency of Nigeria as a man or woman who can be trust, a person of honour in his words and character. I will respect you for upholding these attributes and for dignifying that Office. Chinua Achebe said, “One of the truest test of integrity is its blunt refusal to be compromised.” It is a lesson for all leaders including you and me. However, Mr. President, let me hope that s you claimed that you have not told anybody that you are contesting and that what we see and hear is a rumbling of overzealous aides, you will remain a leader that can be believed and trusted without unduly passing the buck or engaging in game of denials. Maybe you also need to know that many party members feel disappointed in the double game you were alleged to play in support of party gubernatorial candidates in some States where you surreptitiously supported non-PDP candidates against PDP candidates in exchange for promise or act of those non-PDP Governors supporting you for your election in the past or for the one that you are yet to formally declare. It happened in Lagos in 2011 when Bola Tinubu was nocturnally brought to Abuja to strike a deal for support for your personal election at great price materially and in the fortune for PDP gubernatorial candidate. As Chairman of BOT, I spoke to you at that time. It happened in Ondo State where there was in addition evidence of cover-up and non-prosecution of fraud of fake security report against the non-PDP candidate and his collaborators for the purpose of extracting personal electoral advantage for you. In fact, I have raised with you the story of those in other States in the South-West where some disgruntled PDP members were going around to recruit people into the Labour Party for you, because for electoral purpose that the national level, Labour part will have no candidate but you. It also happened in Edo State and those who know the detail never stopped talking about it. And you know it. Ditto in Anambra State with the fiasco coming from undue interference. If you as a leader of the Party cannot be seen to be loyal to the PDP in support of the candidates of the Party and the interest of such Pasrty candidates have to be sacrificed on the altar of your personal and political interest, then good luck to the Party and I will also say as I have had occasions to say in the past, good luck to Goodluck. If on the altar of the Party you go for broke, the Party may be broken beyond repairs. And when in a dispute between two sides, they both stubbornly decide to fight to the last drop of blood, no one knows whose blood would be the last to drop. In such a situation, Nigeria as a nation may also be adversely affected, not just the PDP. I wish to see no more bloodshed occasioned by politics in Nigeria. Please, Mr. President, be mindful of that. You were exemplary in words when DECEMBER 31, 2013.
during the campaign and the 2011 elections you said, “My election is not worth spilling the blood of any Nigerian.” From you, it should not be if it has to be, let it be. It should be from you, let peace, security, harmony, good governance, development and progress be for Nigeria. That is also your responsibility and mandate. You can do it and I plead that you do it. We all have to be mindful of not securing Pyrrhic victory on the ashes of great values, attributes and issues that matter, as it would amount to hollow victory without honour or integrity. Whatever may be the feud in PDP and no matter what you or your aides may feel, you, as the Party Leader, have the responsibility to find solution, resolve and fix it. Your legacy is involved. If PDP as a ruling Party collapses, it will be the first time in an independent Nigeria that a ruling political party would collapse not as a result of a military coup. It is food for thought. At the prompting of Governors on both sides o the divide, and on encouragement from you, I spent two nights to intervene in the dispute of the PDP Governors. I kept you fully briefed at every stage. I deliberately chose Banquet Hall at the Villa to ensure transparency. Your aides studied all the recordings of the two nights. But I told you at the end of the exercise that I observed five reactions among the Governor that required your immediate attention as you are the only one from the vantage point of your five positions that could deal effectively with the give reactions which were bitterness, anger, mistrust, fear and deep suspicion. I could only hope that you made efforts to deal with these unpleasant reactions. The feud leading to the factionalisation of the Party made me to invite some select elders of the Party to mediate again. Since I was engage din assignment outside the country, I was not able to join the three members of the elders group that presented the report of our mediation to you. I was briefed that you agreed to work on the report. It would appear that for now, the ball is in your court and the Leader of the Party. I can only wish you every success in your handling of the issue. But time is not your friend nor that of the Party is this respect. With leadership come not just power and authority to do and to undo, but also responsibility and accountability to do and undo rightly, well and justly. Time and opportunity are a treasure that must be appreciated and shared to enhance their value and utilitarianism. It is instructive that after half a dozen African Presidents have spoken to me to help you with unifying the Party based on your request to them and I came in company of Senator Ahmadu Ali to discuss the whole issue with you again, strangely, you denied ever requesting or authorising any President to talk to me. I was not surprise because I am used to such a situation of denial coming from you. Of course, I was not deterred. I have done and I will continue to do and say what is first, in the best interest f Nigerian and second, what is in the best interest of the Party. I stand for the aim, objectives, mission and vision of the founding fathers of the Party, to use it as a wholesome instrument of unity, good governance, development, prosperity and progress of Nigeria and all Nigerians. I have contributed to this goal in the past and no one who has been raised to position on the platform of the Party should shy away from further contribution to avoid division and destruction of the Party any altar whatsoever. Debates and dialogues are necessary to promote the interest and work for the progress of any human institution or organisation. In such a situation, agreements and disagreements will occur but in the final analysis, leadership will pursue the course of action that benefit the majority and serve the purpose of the organization, not the purpose of an individual or a minority. In that process, unity is sustained and everybody becomes a winner. The socalled crisis in the PDP can be turned to an opportunity of unity, mutual understanding and respect with the Party emerging with enhanced strength and victory. It will be a win-win for all members of the Party and for the country. By that, PDP would have proved that it could have internal disagreement and emerge stronger. The calamity of failure can still be avoided. Please, move away from fringes or the extremes and move to the centre and carry ALL along. Time is running out. I will only state that as far as your responsibility as Chief Security Officer of the nation is concerned for Nigerians, a lot more needs to be done to enhance the feeling of security amongst them. Whether one talks of the issue of militancy in the Niger Delta, the underlying causes of which have not been adequately addressed, if addressed at all, kidnapping, piracy, abductions and armed robberies which rather than abate are on the increase and Boko Haram which requires carrot and stick approach to lay its ghost to rest, the general security situation cannot be described as comforting. Knowing the genesis of Boko Haram and the reasons for escalation of violence from that sector with the widespread and ramification of the menace of Boko Haram within and outside the Nigerian borders, conventional military actions based on standard phases of military operations alone will not permanently and effectively deal with the issue of Boko Haram. There are many strand or layers of causes that require different solutions, approaches or antidotes. Drug, indoctrination, fundamentalism, gun trafficking, hate culture, human trafficking, money laundering, religion, poverty, unemployment, poor education, revenge and international terrorism are among factors that have effect on Boko Haram. One single prescription cannot cure all these ailments that combine in Boko Haram. Should we WARRI MIRROR 33
FOR THE RECORDS pursue war against violence without understanding the root causes of the violence and applying solutions to deal with all underlying factors – root, stem and branches? Nigeria is bleeding and the hemorrhage must be stopped. I am convinced that you can initiate measures that will bring all hands on deck to deal effectively with this great menace. Mr President, the most important qualification for your present position is your being a Nigerian. Whatever else you may be besides being a Nigerian is only secondary for this purpose. And if majority of Nigerians who voted had not cast their votes for you, you could not have been there. For you to allow yourself to be “possessed”, so to say, to the exclusion of most of the rest of Nigerians as an “Ijaw man” is a mistake that should never have been allowed to happen. Yes, you have to be born in one part of Nigeria to be a Nigerian if not naturalized but the Nigerian President must be above ethnic factionalism. And those who prop you up as of, and for 'Ijaw nation' are not your friends genuinely, not friends of Nigeria nor friends of 'Ijaw nation', they tout about. To allow or tacitly encourage people of 'Ijaw nation' to throw insults on other Nigerians from other parts of the country and threaten fire and brimstone to protect your interest as an Ijaw man is myopic and your not openly quieting them is even more unfortunate. You know that I have expressed my views and feelings to you on this issue in the past but I have come to realize that many others feel the way I have earlier expressed to you. It is not the best way of making friendship among all sections of Nigeria. You don't have shared and wholesome society without inclusive political, economic and social sustainable development and good governance. Also declaring that one section of the country votes for you as if you got no votes from other sections can only be an unnecessary talk, to put it mildly. After all and at the end of the day, democracy is a game of numbers. Even, if you would not need people's vote across the country again, your political Party will. Allegation of keeping over 1000 people on political watch list rather than criminal or security watch list and training snipers and other armed personnel secretly and clandestinely acquiring weapons to match for political purposes like Abacha and training them where Abacha trained his own killers, if it is true, it cannot augur well for the initiator, the government and the people of Nigeria. Here again, there is the lesson of history to learn from for anybody who cares to learn from history. Mr. President would always remember that he was elected to maintain security for all Nigerians and protect them. And no one should prepare to kill or maim Nigerians for personal or political ambition or interest of anyone. The Yoruba adage says, “The man with whose head coconut is broken may not live to savour the taste of the succulent fruit.” Those who advise you to go hard on those who oppose you are your worst enemies. Democratic politics admits and is permissive of supporters and opponents. When the consequences come, those who have wrongly advised you will not be there to help carry the can. Egypt must teach some lesson. Presidential assistance for a murderer to evade justice and presidential delegation to welcome him home can only be in bad taste generally but particularly to the family of this victim. Assisting criminals to evade justice cannot be part of the job of the presidency. Or, as it is viewed in some quarters, is he being recruited to do for you what he had done for Abacha in the past? Hopefully, he should have learned his lesson. Let us continue to watch. As Head of Government, the buck of the performance and nonperformance stops at your table and let nobody tell you anything to the contrary. Most of our friends and development partners are worried and they see what we pretend to cover up. They are worried about issue of security internally and on our coastal waters including heavy oil theft, alias bunkering and piracy. They are worried about corruption and what we are doing or not doing about it. Corruption has reached the level of impunity. It is also necessary to be mindful that corruption and injustice are fertile breeding ground for terrorism and political instability. And if you are not ready to name, shame, prosecute and stoutly fight against corruption, whatever you do will be hollow. It will be a laughing matter. They are worried about how we play our role in our region and indeed the world. In a way, I share some of their concerns because there are notable areas where we can do more or do better than we are doing. Some of our development partners were politically frustrated to withdrw from Olokola LNG project which happily was not yet the same with Brass. I initiated them both. They were viable and would have taken us close to Qatar as LNG producing country. Please do not frustrate Brass LNG and in the interest of what is best for Nigerian economy, bring back OK LNG into active implementation The major international oil companies have withheld investment in projects in Nigeria. If they have not completely moved out, they are disinvesting. Nigeria, which is the Saudi of Africa in oil and gas terms, is being overtaken by Angola only because necessary decisions are not being made timely and appropriately. Mr. President, let me again plead with you to be decisive on the oil and gas sector so that Nigeria may not lag behind. Oil with gas is being discovered all over Africa, New technology is producing oil from shale elsewhere. We should make hay while the sun shines. I hope we can still save OK and Brass LNG projects. Three things are imperative in the 34 WARRI MIRROR
oil and gas sector – stop oil stealing, encourage investment especially by the IOC's and improve the present poor management of the industry. On the economy generally, it suffices to say that we could do better than we are doing. The signs are there and the expectations are high. The most dangerous ticking bomb is youth unemployment particularly in the face of unbridled corruption and obscene rulers' opulence. Let me repeat that as far as the issue of corruption, security and oil stealing is concerned, it is only apt to say that when the guard becomes the thief, nothing is safe, secure or protected in the house. We must all remember that corruption, inequity and injustice breed poverty, unemployment, conflict, violence and wittingly or unwittingly create terrorist because the opulence of the governor can only lead to the leanness of the governed. But God never sleeps; He is watching, waiting and bidding His time to dispense justice. The serious and strong allegation of non-remitting of about $7 billion from NNPC to Central Bank occurring from export of some 300,000 barrels per day, amounting to $900 million a month, to be refined and with refined products of only $400 million returned and Atlantic Oil loading about 130,000 barrels sold by Shell and managed on behalf on NPDC with no sale proceeds paid into NPDC account is incredible. The letter of Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria to you on non-remittance to Central Bank buttressed the allegation. This allegation will not fly away by non-action, cover-up, denial or bribing possible investigators. Please deal with this allegation transparently and let the truth be known. The dramatis personae in this allegation and whom they are working for will one day be public-knowledge. Those who know are watching if the National Assembly will not be accomplice in the heinous crime and naked grand corruption. May God grant you the grace for at least one effective corrective action against hight corruption, which seems to stink all around you in your government. The international community knows us as we are and maybe more than we claim to know ourselves. And a good friend will tell you the truth no matter how bitter. Denials and cover-up of what is obvious, true and factual can detract from honour, dignity and respect. Truth and transparency dignify and earn respect. And life without passion for something can only achieve little. I was taken aback when an African Development Bank Director informed me that the Federal Government is putting the water project for Port Harcourt originally initiated by the Federal Government to be financed by the bank, in the cooler since the Amaechi-Jonathan face-off. Amaechi, whether he likes it or not, will cease to be Governor over Rivers State which PortHarcourt will continue to need improvement of their water supply. President Jonathan should rise above such pettiness and unpresidential act, if it is coming from him. But if not, and it is the action of overzealous officials reading the situation, he should give appropriate instruction for the project to be pursued. And if there are other projects anywhere suffering the same coolness as a result of similar situation, let national interest supersede personal or political feud and the machinations of satanic officials. Mr. President, let me plead with you for a few things that will stand you in good stead for the rest of your life. Don't always consider critics on national issues as enemies. Some of them may be as patriotic and nationalistic as you and I who had been in government. Some of them have as much passion for Nigeria as we have. I saw that among Nigerians living abroad, hence, I initiated Nigerians in Diaspora Organisation, NIDO. You must also differentiate between malevolent, mischievous and objective criticism. Analyses, criticisms and commentaries on government actions and policies are sinew of democracy. Please, Mr. President, be very wary of assistants, aides and collaborators who look for enemies for you. I have seen them with you and some were around me when I was in your position. I knew how not to allow them create enemies for me. If you allow them, everybody except them will be your enemy. They are more dangerous than identified adversaries. May God save leaders from sycophants. They know what you want to hear to hear and they fee you with it essentially for their own selfish interest. As far as you and Nigeria are concerned, they are wreckers. Where were they when God used others to achieve God's will in your life. They possess you now for their interest. No interest should be higher or more important than Nigerian interest to you. You have already made history and please do nothing to mar history. I supported you as I supported Yar'Adua. For me, there is neither North-South divide nor Christian-Moslem divide but one Nigeria. Let me put it, that talks, loose and serious, abound about possible abuse and misuse of the military and legitimate security apparatus for unwholesome personal and political interest to the detriment of the honour, dignity, oath and professionalism of these honourable and patriotic forces. Let me urge authorities not to embark on such destructive path for an important element of our national make-up. The roles of the military and the security agencies should be held sacrosanct in the best interest of the nation. Again, let not history repeat itself here. I believe that with what Nigerian has gone through in the past, the worst should have already happened. It must be your responsibility as the captain of the ship to prevent the ship from going aground or from a shipwreck. For anybody close to you saying that if the worst happens, he or she would not be involved is an idle and loose talk. If we leave God to do His will and we don't rely only on our own efforts, plans and wisdom, God will DECEMBER 31, 2013.
FOR THE RECORDS always do His best. And the power of money and belief in it is satanically tempting. As I go around Nigeria and the world, I always come across Nigerians who are first-class citizens of the world and who are doing well where they are and who are passionate to do well for Nigeria. My hope for our country lies in these people. They abound and I hope that all of us will realize that they are the jewels of Nigeria wherever they may be and not those who arrogate to themselves eternal for ephemeral. Also to my embarrassment at times, I learned more about what is going on in the public and private sectors of Nigeria from our development partners, international institutions and those transacting business in Nigerian most times I was abroad. On returning home to verify the veracity of these stories, I found some of them not only to be true but more horrifying than they were presented abroad. Other countries look up to Nigeria for regional leadership. Failure on the part of Nigeria will create a schism that will be bad for the region. Knowing what happens around you most of which you know of and condone or deny, this letter will provoke cacophony from hired and unhired attackers but I will maintain my serenity because by this letter, I have done my duty to you as I have always done, to your government, to the Party, PDP, and to our country, Nigeria. If I stuck out my neck and God used me and others as instrumetns to work hard for you to reach where you are today in what I considered the best political interest of Nigeria, tagging me as your enemy or the enemy of your administration by you, you kin or your aides can only be regarded as ridiculous to extreme, If I see any danger to your life, I will point it out to you or ward it off as I have done in the past. But, I will not support what I believe is not in the best interest of Nigeria, no matter who is putting it forward or who is behind it. Mr. President, I have passed the stage of being flattered, intimidated, threatened, frightened, induced or bought. I am never afraid to agree or disagree but it will always be on principles, and if on politics, in the national interest. After my prison experience in the close proximity of and sharing facilities with an asylum in Yola, there is nothing worse for anyone alive and well. And that was for a military dictator to pertuate himself in power. Death is the end of all human beings and may it come when God wills it to come. The harassment of my relations and friends and innuendo that are coming from the Government security apparatus on whether they belong to new PDP or supporters of defected Governors and which are possibly authorized or are the work of overzealous aides and those reading your lips to act in your interest will be counter-productive. It is abuse of security apparatus. Such abuse took place last in the time of Abacha. Lies and untruths about me emanating from the presidency is too absurd to contemplate. Saying that I recommend a wanted criminal by UK and USA authorities to you or your aides to supplant legitimately elected PDP leader in South-West is not only unwise and crude but also disingenuous. Nobody in his or her right senses will believe such a story and surely nobody in Ogun State or South-West zone will believe such nonsense. It is a clear indication of how unscrupulous and unethical the presidency can go to pursue your personal and political interest. Nothing else matters. What a pity! Nothing at this stage of my life would prevent me from standing for whatever I consider to be in the best interest of Nigeria – all Nigeria, Africa and the world in that order. I believe strongly that a united and strong PDP at all costs is in the best interest of Nigeria. In these respects, if our interests and views coincide, together we will march. Putting a certified unashamed criminal wanted abroad to face justice and who has greatly contributed to corruption within the judiciary on a high profile of politics as you and your aides have done with the man you enthrone as PDP Zonal leader in the South-West is the height of disservice to this country politically and height of insult to the people of South-West in general and members of PDP in that zone in particular. For me, my politics goes with principles and morality and I will not be a party to highly profiling criminals in politics, not to say one would be my zonal leader. It destroys what PDP stands for from its inception. By the government not acting positively and promptly in the case of Buruji Kashamu wanted in the US for drug trafficking and money laundering crimes, it is only confirming the persistent reports of complicity or involvement of high-level political figures in drug trafficking and condonation of the crime for political benefit. Whichever way, it is a very dangerous development for Nigeria. Sooner or later, drug barons will be in control of large real estates, banks and other seemingly legitimate businesses; in elections they will buy candidates, parties and eventually buy power or be in power themselves. It may be instructive if I quote fairly extensively from Lansana Gberie's recent paper titled, 'State Officials and Their Involvement in Drug Trafficking in West Africa”: “… The controversial and puzzling case of Buruji Kashamu, a powerful figure in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), suggests that a successful and wealthy politician's association with drug trafficking is hardly disabling. Kashamu was indicted by a grand jury in the Northern District of Illinois in 1998 for conspiracy to import and distribute heroin to the United States. The indictment named him under his own name as well as two supposed aliases: 'Alaji' and 'Kasmal'. His whereabouts were unknown at the
DECEMBER 31, 2013.
time, however, and his co-accused were tried and convicted. Later that year, he was found living comfortably in England, and, on receipt of an extradition request from the US, the UK authorities arrested Kashamu. After a very protracted proceeding lasting until 2003, however, an English Judge refused to extradite Kashamu on grounds of uncertainty about his true identity. Kashamu triumphantly returned to Nigeria and soon after became a key political figure. He is now believed to be very close to President Goodluck Jonathan, because of his ability to mobilise votes in key States in Western Nigeria. The US government reviewed Kashamu's case, with the famous Judge Richard Posner presiding. Posner concluded that while Kashamu's identity remains murky, there is little doubt that the figure now exercising authority in Nigeria's PDP is the same as Kashamu the 'Alaji' who was indicted for conspiracy to smuggle illicit drugs into the United States. Despite this, the Nigerian government has persistently ignored calls by civil society groups to investigate Kashamu and extradite him to the US. On 2 July 2013, the Federal Court in Lagos determined that Kashamu should be extradited to the US. Kashamu immediately appealed against this decision, yet in November 2013, a new Panel of Judges constituted by the President of the Court of Appeal unanimously held that his appeal lacked merit, and that Kashamu should be extradited. His extradition to the United States will certainly set an important precedent… unless, of course, he uses his political skills and contacts to continue avoiding it…” God is never a supporter of evil and will surely save PDP and Nigeria from the hands of destroyers. If everything fails and the Party cannot be retrieved from the hands of criminals and commercial jobbers and discredited touts, men and women of honour, principles, morality and integrity must step aside to rethink. Let me also appeal to and urge defected, dissatisfied, disgruntled and in any way displeased PDP Governors, legislators, party officials and party members to respond positively if the President seriously takes the initiative to find mutually agreeable solution to the current problems for which he alone has the key and the initiative. I have heard it said particularly within the presidency circle that the disaffected Governors and members of PDP are my children. I begin to wonder if, from top to bottom, any PDP member in elective office today is not directly or indirectly a beneficiary and, so to say, my political child. Anyone who may claim otherwise will be like a river that has forgotten its source. But like a good father, all I seek is peaceful and amicable solution that will re-unite the family for victory and progress of the family and the nation and nothing else. In a democracy, leaders are elected to lighten the burden of the people, give them freedom, choice and equity and ensure good governance and not to deceive them, burden them, oppress them, render them hopeless and helpless. Nothing should be done to undermine the tenets, and values of democratic principles and practice. Tyranny in all its manifestation may be appealing to leader in trying times of political feud or disagreement. Democracy must, however, prevail and be held as sacrosanct. Today, you are the Present of Nigeria, I acknowledge you and respect you as such. The act of an individual has a way of rubbing off on the generality. May it never be the wish of majority of Nigerians that Goodluck Jonathan, by his acts of omission and commission, would be the first and last Nigerian President ever to come from Ijaw tribe. The idea and the possibility must give all of us food for thought. That was never what I worked for and that would never be what I will work for. But legacy is made of such or the opposite. My last piece of advice, Mr. President, is that you should learn the lesson of history and please do not take Nigeria and Nigerians for granted. Move away from culture of denials, cover-ups and proxies and deal honesty, sincerely, transparently with Nigerians to regain their trust and confidence. Nigerians are no fools, they can see, they can hear, the can talk among themselves, they can think, they can compare and they can act in the interest of their country and in their own self-interest. They keenly watch all actions and deeds that are associated with you if they cannot believe your words. I know you have the power to save PDP and the country. I beg you to have the courage and the will with patriotism to use the power for the good of the country. Please uphold some form of national core values. I will appeal to all Nigerians particularly all members of PDP to respect and dignify the Office of the President. We must all know that individuals will come and go but the Office will remain. Once again, time is of the essence. Investors are already retreating from Nigeria, adopting 'wait and see attitude' and knowing what we are deficient of, it will take time to reverse the trend and may miss some golden opportunities. Accept, Dear Mr. President, the assurance of my highest consideration. Yours sincerely, Olusegun Obasanjo PS I crave your indulgence to share the contents of this letter, in the first instance, with General Ibrahim Babangida and General Abdulsalami Abubakar, who, on a number of occasions in recent times, have shared with me their agonizing thoughts, concerns and expressions on most of the issues I have raised in this letter concerning the situation and future of our country. I also crave your indulgence to share the content with General Yakubu Danjuma and Dr. Alex Ekwueme, whose concerns for and commitments to the good of Nigeria have been known to be strong. The limit of sharing of the contents may be extended as time goes on.
WARRI MIRROR 35
By Eddy Oti Wyse
n the past three editions of this paper, I cut an incision into the Itsekiri origin, stating inter alia: how the Benin Kingdom in their quest to extend their dominance over all the sea settlements within the Delta region eventually fused with the settlers, chiefly the Ijebus from the Yoruba Kingdom who had, during the medieval period occupied the land; with special reference to Mr. Itsekiri in the formation of the Warri Kingdom. The historical perspective of the Warri Kingdom cannot be completed without an indept account of the key players in the helms of affairs in the Kingdom. Starting from this edition, I shall go into the archives of all the Olus in the Kingdom till date and those who held brief during the interrgnum, not forgetting to mention the interplay of forces which spurred up conflict, suspense and resolutions under each tenure as much as the piecing of historical records and research would permit. Ginuwa 1 (1480 – 1496 AD) Undoubtedly, the journey of the Warri Kingdom began with this sage who was invested with the title Odihi n'ame (founder of the Sea Kingdom) corrupted in Itsekiri parlance as Ogiame in 1480 AD. In my previous discuss, I mentioned how in 1473 the father of our first Olu (under discuss) Oba Olua mounted the throne and caused a stir between him and his henchmen when he removed traditional orders on ceremonial matters placed on his Late Mother by Oba Ezoti his Late Father. To
correct what he felt was an unfair treatment for some wrong doing by her mother in the harem, he went ahead to remove some traditional restrain on certain ceremony to be performed for her mother’s death. This did not go down well with the Bini chiefs and their subjects. Worse still, his favourite Son, Ginuwa the heir apparent to the throne, Edaiken in the common phrase “like father, like son”, dogged his father's footstep in restraining traditional doctrines within his princely suburb. Moreover, according to Dr. Egharevba, the Prince was hated by the Bini people because of the bad advice he had given his father which led to the death of some Bini citizens. So infuriated were the Bini chiefs over Prince Ginuwa's way of handling the state of affairs that plans to do away with his life was orchestrated by them. What was supposed to be a heinous crime in the Kingdom did not come to pass as Oba Olua's priest; Ogiefa did not fail to alert the king of the danger his son’s life was exposed to. Rather than sending his son on exile, he schematically played on the intelligence of his seventy chiefs, hiding under the pretence of sending him and each of their eldest sons to make a sacrifice to their gods Olokun (the god of the Sea). Calling his son to himself, he had invested him with the title Odihi – n'ame (Ogiame) invariable to found a Sea Kingdom. Leaving the Bini Kingdom around 1480 AD with his priest, Idibie, the seventy eldest sons of the Bini chiefs and a horde of slaves under the subtefuge of making a trip to the Shrine of Olokun. R. B. Kerr an Assistant District Officer, in his intelligent
report in 1931 wrote “… a favourite son of the Oba had him put into a magic box…” And in J. O. Sagay's version, “…the priest having consulted his oracle suggested an ingenious method of smuggling the Prince out of the kingdom. He ordered a ship or ark of Iroko to be constructed, big enough to cover the Prince and the eldest sons of the Seventy Chiefs of the Benin Kingdom to a distant land where they might settle. According to J. O. S. Ayomike, Oba Olua made a large Iroko box, filled it with royal regalia and to conceal the secrete, put sacrificial items upon it. The ruse which set the dramatic scene for his kingship was repleted when in their voyage along the Ethiope River, (still in the ark). Prince Ginuwa came out dressed in a kingly regalia and asserted his influence and position over the Bini chiefs' eldest sons and his hordes of slave. However, his dire attempt to accomplish this mission was not without so much restlessness occasioned by his assailants, the Bini chiefs army who were sent out to bring them back. When he settled at Ijala with the hope of consolidating and expanding, his enemies still on their trail, beaming their searchlight through the nooks and crannies of the creeks in search of him and his men, did not give him any respite. Repressed with the zeal to take another flight coupled with exhaustion and pressure, he died at Ijala around 1496. This was how Ijala became the Monumental Cemetery of all the kings in Warri Kingdom till date. In the next edition, I shall discuss the next monarch, (in chronological order) Olu Ijijen alias Ogbowuru who was one of the two children Ginuwa's wife, Deremo, an Ijoh woman had for him…
...To be continued 36 WARRI MIRROR
DECEMBER 31, 2013.
2013 International Year of Women: A Tribute To My Triumvirate of Heroines
t is best to start at the beginning. I was born in October 1939 in Ugborodo, Delta State of Nigeria, the first child of my father and only male child of my parents. I had an older stepsister, Akpeto and two younger sisters, Olofagbo, who died in her early teen, and Mrs. Tetsoma Pinnick. I was the first grandson of my maternal grandmother, who really spoilt me. I did not meet my paternal grand parents. Early in 1945 before I was six years old, because there was no school in Ugborodo at the time, I was sent to live with aunt Oleghenju in Sapele, where I attended First Baptist School. This was a momentous decision in the family. First, why did my father, an illiterate like other parents in Ugborodo then, decide to send his first and only male child into an unknown future in pursuit of education? I know none of my contemporaries who were sent away that early to school. Second, this was an expensive proposition for a poor fisherman (crayfish) on subsistence living, because education was not free then at any level. I can only surmise that the decision was difficult for him because he did not even accompany us on the journey to Sapele. In those days it was a tedious and sometimes dangerous journey lasting three days and two nights of intense rowing and paddling on canoes upstream from the Ugborodo estuary at the Atlantic Ocean, on the wide Ugborodo River through Nana Creek into Benin River and to Sapele on the Ethiope River. It was left to my grandmother, my mother and my sister, Akpeto, to take me to Aunt Oleghenju in Sapele. The family docked their canoe at the Sapele Main market waterside, where Aunt Oleghenju was a well-known broker between the crayfish and fish traders from downstream Benin and Ugborodo Rivers and the traders at Sapele and those from Onitsha. In a couple of the days, my family had sold their bags of crayfish and bought wares to take back home. Although I was young, I could sense that something was going on, so I clung tightly to the three women I knew. On the departure day, I sat tight in the canoe, so it was decided that I should be let off at the downstream CMS waterside instead of at the Market waterside. I was happy when grandma, mother and sister pushed off the canoe from Market waterside. About ten minutes latter, however, they paddled into CMS waterside where Aunt was DECEMBER 31, 2013.
By Prof. O. O. Omatete waiting. I was told that my aunt had something special for me. Consequently, my mother and I disembarked and wadded ashore. Aunt gave me some sweet fluffy cake, that I had never tasted, and made me sit down to eat it. Meanwhile, mother announced she was going to ease herself as I concentrated on the cake. When I turned around to look for our canoe it was pulling away. I screamed, threw the cake into the ground and ran straight into the river. I wadded in, crying, screaming, and trying to swim towards the rapidly disappearing canoe carrying grandma, mother and sister away, the only people I knew. As I started to swallow water, adult swimmers came and pulled me out and handed me to my aunt. I am sure this was a wellplanned strategy. I looked up at my aunt holding me in her hand, and looked at the people around, all were total strangers. So, I continued to cry calling out for my grandma, mother, sister and father. But none of them showed up as Aunt Oleghenju held my hands and walked with me to her home. Besides people walking on the streets, I noticed strange objects moving on two wheels (bicycles), with people sitting on them. Even stranger were a few contraptions that looked like a houses on wheels, roaring by (lorries). This was Sapele town in 1945. A couple of weeks later I walked from our compound across McPherson Street into First Baptist School. There was no fence then. With my new brown khaki uniform of shirt and shorts, I proudly stood in front of the Kindergarten line, as one of its smallest and youngest members. Although attempts to bend my right arm over my head to my left ear to determine if I was old enough to be admitted were unsuccessful, I was allowed to stay. I was told my name was Oritsegbemi Fregene and should answer â€œpresent â€œ when it was called. That was it. My foray into Western Education had begun. Beginning as a six year old, I barely spoke accurate Itsekiri before I picked up Pidgin English on my way to becoming one of the 'Sapele Bomer Boys' (SBB). My school fees were paid regularly, although I did not know who did. School was rather easy for me as I had affinity for numbers and Aunt was very proud of me. However, in 1948, Aunt Oleghenju was very sick and had to be taken out of Sapele. While others
Madam Uruneyonjueyi (Eyonju) Oko Fregene (alias Oleghenju)
were contemplating sending me back to my parents in Ugborodo, my aunt would have none of that. She wanted me to continue with my education. As a result, she convinced her uncle, Mr. Olumami Fregene, to be my guardian while she was away. So I moved down to Papa Olumami Fregene's residence at the very end of McPherson Street, there being nothing but rubber plantation behind his property then. I lived with Papa Olumami Fregene, a strict disciplinarian, from 1948 to 1952. As a boy being sent on errands then, I learnt a lot about the Fregene family and the Itsekiri royal family. Aunt Oleghenju had been cured of her ailment and returned to Sapele long before 1952. However, although she was bold to ask her uncle to become my guardian, she respected him too much to ask him to allow me to return to her. So I took matters into my hands by playing truancy. After all, I was now a full-fledged SBB. Unknown to either Granduncle or Aunt, I gradually moved my belongings whatever they were to Aunt's apartment around Decima Road. My next move was to go sleep at Aunt's place without her knowledge. My younger sister Olofagbo, who was then living with our Aunt, helped to ensure secrecy. Finally, the charade was uncovered. Papa Olumami read the riot act to Aunt Oleghenju, who apologized profusely pleading ignorance, which was true, although Papa Olumami may not have believed her. In any case, I had succeeded in moving back to my aunt. This marked another turning point in my life. When I lived with Papa Olumami, I only knew that after primary school one could advance to a commercial college to study shorthand and typing or to a WARRI MIRROR 37
TRIBUTE teachers' training college. By the end of 1952, Aunt moved nearer Sapele city center then, when she married Mr. John Okitikpi, a well-known public letter writer. In his compound was a Yoruba man, the nurse at the Sapele General Hospital, who had several children, some of whom were my playmates. When one of his sons came home, all the young boys and girls admired him as he was neatly attired. I found out that he attended St Andrew's College, a secondary school in far away Yoruba land. This was the first time I heard about secondary schools. It was early 1953 and I was in Standard Six, the last class of Primary school. My Yoruba playmates knew about common entrance examinations into secondary schools and, because they were aware that I was a good student, encouraged me to attempt them. So, I requested from my aunt five shillings to buy a self-help book and pay the fees for entrance examination to a secondary school. I was surprised when three days after my request, Aunt gave me the five shillings. I was very grateful and quite excited. The next day, I bought the selfhelp book for two and half shillings and had the balance of two shillings and six pence to pay for the entrance examination to just one secondary school. By this time, I had learnt about the three nearby secondary schools for which pupils took entrance examinations: Hussey College and Urhobo College in Warri and Government College in a place called Ughelli. The decision about which to apply to was easy based on simple cost analysis. The entrance fee to either Hussey College or Urhobo College was two shillings and sixpence whereas that to Government College Ughelli was two shillings only, twenty percent less. Consequently, I opted for Government College and had six pence left, enough for six days worth of rice or pottage (potopoto) during recess at school. On the examination day, I hurriedly took a bath, wore my brown khaki uniform and rushed bare footed to Sapele Township School, which was the examination center. There were many other young boys there, none of whom I recognized as we were asked to sit in the classrooms, waiting anxiously for the examination to commence at 9:00 AM. We waited and waited. Nearly three hours later, two men, the main invigilators, a European and an African came in with the examination papers. Later, I learnt that the African was the Biology teacher, Mr. Sagay and the European, the Physics teacher, Mr. Stone, at Government College, Ughelli, and that the delay was because they had an accident on the trip from Ughelli to 38 WARRI MIRROR
Sapele. Soon after their arrival, we were handed the examination papers. That was it; the common entrance examination to Government College had begun. I flipped through to the section on Mathematics (Arithmetic), my best subject. I found the problems tougher than I expected. I turned to the Language section, which was even more difficult. I went back to Mathematics and solved as many problems as I could. Meanwhile, my stomach was churning because I had eaten nothing all day. I labored on, going from the Mathematics section to the Language section and vice versa. Stuck between the growls from my stomach due to hunger pang and the unsolvable problems before me, I was happy to hear the invigilators order us to stop. Now I could run home to eat. But I could not leave immediately. Each of us had to take his turn to get his height measured, give his age and confirm his name on the examination paper. I waited in the hunger-induced agony for my turn. At last I was next, so I dashed forward to get my height measured. I was four feet six inches tall, but I did not know how old I was so Mr. Sagay wrote down some appropriate number. I confirmed that my given name was Oritsegbemi and my father's name, Omatete. Without realizing it, I had changed my name from Oritsegbemi Fregene to Oritsegbemi Omatete, which I bear to date. I ran all the way home only to find that everybody was on the lookout for me. I expected that because I only let my sister know where I went. My aunt screamed at me so I showed her the various papers I brought with me. She took them and walked me straight to Mr. Okitikpi, who took a look at the papers and declared that I had gone to waste Aunt's money. Then he decided to test me, so looking straight at me he said rapidly, “Run Harry run, run to the river run. How many R's?” I stared at him without the slightest idea of what he was talking about. “There you are. I told you so. You have thrown away your money,” Mr. Okitikpi said. Meanwhile my stomach was growling; I was famished. Then her maternal instinct took over and Aunt asked if I had eaten. Sobbing, I shook my head. It was late afternoon and Aunt took me away and fed me while simultaneously rebuking me for not informing her that I was going to take the entrance examination. Before the results of the entrance examinations came out a few months later, we had moved away from downtown Sapele to its outskirts, a place called Kpankpan, where a popular
politician, Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh, built his residence. Shortly after the move, I received a letter through my elementary school that I was invited to Government College Ughelli for “a short list examination and interview.” I told Aunt Oleghenju and showed her the letter, which she took but said very little. A couple of weeks before the scheduled date for the examination and interview at Ughelli, my aunt reminded me about it. Instead of showing some excitement, I remained indifferent, saying that I had forgotten about it and so was not prepared to go. Aunt must have been taken aback, although she did not show it. Later that evening, I was summoned before an elderly man, Mr. Arayi, in the next compound. I was scared but I knew I had committed no mischiefs lately. When I arrived, my aunt and other adults were there. Mr. Arayi looked at me and asked, “Youngman, did I hear that you don't want to go for interview at Ughelli?” I said nothing. “Do you know how many parents are praying for their sons to get this opportunity? Tell me young man, why don't you want to go?” “I have only my brown khaki school uniform and no other clothes to wear when I go,” I muttered. Aunt interjected, “So if I bought you new white short and white shirt, you will go?” “Yes,” I said nodding and smiling. “I will buy you the white and white tomorrow. You go and study for the exam and interview,” Aunt continued. That was it. I ran home ahead of aunt and picked up the book I bought months earlier for the common entrance. My preparation for the short list examination and interview into Government College Ughelli had commenced. On the penultimate day to the interview at Ughelli, all excited, I took my bath very early and wore my new white short and shirt and was ready to go to the motor park. When Aunt saw me in my white and white as she handed me my transport fares, she suggested that it would be better to travel in the brown khaki since the white would be easily be soiled. But nothing was going to separate me from my new white and white, so I left for the motor park in it. I met many boys there travelling to Ughelli, too. We paid our fares and boarded lorries where we sat on undemarcated wooden planks laid across the lorry, tightly packed like cattle. We rode facing backwards, opposite the direction in which the lorry moved. Our first stop was in Warri where we disembarked at the motor park. Then we moved to the Ughelli section of the park. Here, there were more young boys milling around trying to travel to Ughelli. Just like in Sapele, there were no parents with us, unlike nowadays. DECEMBER 31, 2013.
Nevertheless, we all took our turns boarding the Ughelli bound lorries. Riding over rugged dirt roads, just like the Sapele to Warri trip, we arrived in Ughelli. With little or no luggage, we walked all the way from the Ughelli motor park to Government College premises. There, in front of me was Government College Ughelli (GCU), magnificent beyond the imagination of a thirteen year-old boy; gorgeously painted buildings everywhere, long two-story blocks and even longer bungalows, with several large “U” shaped houses and simpler ones behind them, all neatly separated by well-laid out roads and surrounded by beautiful flower hedges and lush green lawns. The only other place that I thought would compare with it was the European quarters that surrounded the famous African Timber and Plywood (AT&P) Company in Sapele. But then I had never been inside the quarters. Young adults, school prefects, met us and took us to the various buildings (dormitories) where we were accommodated. We ate in the dinning hall, and went to bed. Early the next morning we were awoken and taken on a jogging trip round the campus. Then, we went to the shower area. At the back were four showers where you turned a tap and water flowed on you; to the right was a large white enamel urinary, where water flowed regularly to washed it out; and next to them were white enamel wash basins. Behind these were the white enamel toilets, where you pulled on a chain to flush after use and water came tumbling down to clean it out. For a boy used to the pail or bush system, this was paradise. There were rumors about this infamous toilet in Sapele. An important local visiting a European in his AT&P quarters used the toilet. When he flushed and heard the roaring as the water cascaded down, ran out nude. I did not run out when first I used it at Ughelli. But I was scared. After shower, we went for breakfast. Dressed in my now slightly soiled white short and white shirt and walking with other boys to the examination room, I imagined what it would be to become part of this paradise and decided to concentrate on passing the examination. We went in and were given the question papers. I flipped to my favorite section, arithmetic, and attacked it. There were problems I could not solve so I went to other questions and tackled them. I was unable to answer all the questions and felt devastated when we DECEMBER 31, 2013.
were asked to stop. The answer papers were collected. Later, we went for individual interviews with the Principal of the School, a European, whose name I learnt later was Mr. Carter. This was followed by physical examination including health check in the nude by school nurse, an African man, in the presence of the European. That was it. “The short list examination and interview” was over. We left for our various homes. I can barely recall the journey through Warri to Sapele, because all the way back I fantasized over Government College Ughelli and how, I believed, I had blown the opportunity that I had. Back home, my aunt and family welcomed me and asked about the trip. As usual, I handed my aunt all the papers I brought back, which she took although she was illiterate. I believe she took them to literate adults to read for her. I tried to describe the beauty of the school to them but could not quite convey the effect it had on me. Aunt never asked me about how I did on these examinations. She must have believed I would do well. If that was it, she had more faith in me than I had in myself because I was convinced I would not make it into Ughelli on this first attempt. Consequently, I decided to study from that time until the next opportunity and come on top, if that was what it took. Thus, when Aunt went to trade in Sapele market, instead of going to school, I would stay home and study whatever I could find. After a few weeks of truancy, word came that I was wanted urgently at school. I realized that nemesis had caught up with me and the retribution would be grievous: canning at school, shouting at and whipping by Aunt, and probably being taken before granduncle Olumani Fregene, for further canning and admonishment; and I would then be made to promise that I would never ever stay away from school again. I resigned myself to all of these and went bravely to school the following day. Instead of the hostile reception I expected, the Standard Six teacher, a tall, stern-looking, lanky man, came smiling to me. “My son, congratulations. You were accepted to Government College, Ughelli,” he said, and walked me to the Headmaster's office to get my letter. I was in total shock but too respectful of these men to scream for joy. Instead I bottled my joy inside me. I took the letter from the Headmaster, held it tightly and raced from his office down Boyo Road to Sapele market. Shoving the shoppers aside, I arrived at Aunt's
shed and showed her the letter while announcing the news to her. She took the letter as usual, then pulled me close, smiled, as she hugged me. Slowly calling my full name, “Oritsegbemi, (which means, “Almighty God is my savior”) my son, May God continue to save you until the evening of your life” she said. She continued, “Sit down, my son. No. Take this shilling, go buy jollof rice and at least two pieces of meat, add some dodo too. Bring all here and sit down and eat, my son.” After feasting on the meal, she asked me to go home. I ran from the shed, hopping and skipping along. On the way home, I joined some boys playing street football (soccer), ensuing, however, that I got home before she did. Aunt came home that evening and announced to all that I had been admitted to Government College, Ughelli. Mr. Arayi congratulated me and asked if I was not happy that I went for the interview. I smiled and nodded. A couple of days later, Aunt travelled home to Ugborodo to announce my success. Also, she must have realized that the cost implications were now more than she alone could shoulder. She returned to Sapele and we started making preparations for me to attend the secondary school of my dream, Government College, Ughelli. The family, more importantly, my father had undertaken to pay my fees at GCU. As a full boarding school, providing books, uniforms and all sports clothing, the annual cost in 1953 was thirty-two pounds, a large amount of money at that time, especially for a subsistent crayfisher-man. September 1953, I was one of the forty-eight boys, the latest addition to GCU, who were distributed amongst the four existing Houses (dormitories), WARRI MIRROR 39
School, Warri, Forcados and Sapele, and were divided equally into Form IA and Form 1Alpha. I was in School House and in Form 1A. Government College brought structure and discipline into the lives of the boys it admitted and it molded them into honest and diligent young men. Our daily lives, from wake-up bell to lights outs, were regulated. Besides the rigorous academic instructions and compulsory sporting activities of football, athletics and cricket, in our free time, we enjoyed playing indoor games like table tennis, chess, and other board games and out door games like volley ball, bush football and bush cricket. I found out that the top six boys in the examination into Ughelli were awarded automatic government scholarship and others were recommended to their different Native Authorities for scholarship. Father mentioned casually to me that he tried to obtain Itsekiri Native Authority Scholarship for me but could not because those he went through said it would have cost him forty pounds, which he did not have. Consequently, he decided to pay the fees himself, because he could pay the annual thirty-two pounds fees in installments. Father paid the fees and provided the other accessories and I enjoyed the full benefit of the education at Government College and quickly moved to the top echelon of my class academically. I came home to Ugborodo to spend my vacations with Father. Three occurrences in 1955 affected me enormously. The first was the change of the school year back to January to December from September to August. Consequently, my class was in Form II for fifteen months. The second was the decision to make footwear compulsory for all students at GCU. This was dramatic for one like me who had never worn any footwear in his fifteen plus years on earth. Fortunately, I adjusted quickly to wearing the popular Clark's sandals after a few discomforts. The third one was momentous in my life. As was the practice as soon as a student completed his mid year examination, he could leave for the mid year holidays. Consequently, I left as soon as I was done with my papers before the Principal or the Housemaster could reach and inform me. I took the earliest transport from Ughelli to Warri in order to catch one of the motorboats (Kpekpekpe) from Warri to Ugborodo that day. As we boarded and the motorboat took off, the village tailor approached me and said something 40 WARRI MIRROR
about condolences but noticed that I stirred at him bemused, so he quickly changed the subject. Others who knew me would say hello and quickly turn away. Oblivious to all of these signs, and dreaming of the reunion with my family, I sat up by the bow of the boat and enjoyed the cool sea breeze on my face. The five-hour journey came to an end and when the boat docked, I took my luggage and walked through the beach rather through the main village to the family compound. I wanted to surprise the family. I met an aunt, who dressed in black. She was shocked to see me and wondered if I was on holidays already. But quickly, turned around as I continued to our house at the top of the compound. Another aunt also in black, came out from her house and rather than come to hug me just said hello and turned around too. What is going on I thought to myself but walked straight to our house, which looked unkempt as the chairs were in disarray. I turned around and asked. “Where is my father?” I noticed that my father's friends and young male adults started coming into the compound. Again, I asked, “where is my father?” My father's best friend led the men and young men into our house. “Sit down, my son,” he said. I had the sick feeling as I sank into the chair. “You are a grown man now, my son. Your father is no longer with us. He is dead,” he continued. I screamed and jumped into the air. The men held me and said all sorts of calming words that I did not comprehend. My father is dead; who now is going to pay my fees at Ughelli was the first thought that came into my mind? Is this the end of my education at GCU? All sorts of thoughts flowed incoherently through my head. I felt I too should die rather than not return to my beloved GCU. The adults succeeded in calming down. The women, weeping and wailing, came to console me. My mother and my little sister, Tetsoma, weeping uncontrollably came to console me too. Later that evening, it was decided that I go with mother to my grandmother's house. That night mother asked me to sleep under the mosquito net next to her. I had a dreadful dream in which my Father sat on a chair and I sat on the floor between him and mother, who was also sitting by me on the floor. Then I asked them, “Who will pay my school fees now?” But before anyone could answer, I jumped up on the bed partially asleep, screaming and shaking. My mother woke, held unto me tightly and calmed me down. Then she asked me what happened. Sobbing, I narrated the
dream. She, too, started to weep and made a promise. “With the help of Almighty God and our forebears, we shall pay your fees, son. Don't worry. Go back to sleep.” As I slowly drifted back to sleep, I wondered whom mother meant by “we” who would pay my fees. As was the tradition, my uncles, aunts and mother dressed in black clothes at all times as they mourned the loss of my father. My little sister and I also had our head shaved clean to mourn Father. Seeing these around me daily made me sad and I would occasionally burst into tears. Consequently, I was sent to my aunt in Sapele, where secondary school students with whom I could relate were on vacation. Meanwhile, unknown to me, these dedicated and determined women, my mother, my aunt, and my sister went into action planning how to pay my school fees. I found these out later on in my life. The first thing they did was to join other women in forming an “Esusu.” This was in 1955 and it predates the idea of micro financing but similar to it in its concept and execution. The Esusu was made up a circle of few trusted friends, probably about five to ten in number. Every month, each member donates a small amount of money, for example, two pounds and the total, twenty pounds for a ten-member Esusu, is given to a member, who needs it. The ensuing month, another member gets the total. My mother, my aunt, and my sister, would arrange to collect theirs in consecutive months around when my fees were due. The Esusu provided the platform; their industriousness provided the money that funded my education at this critical junction. As petty traders, the three women constituted themselves into a miniature trading company, with Mother and Sister based in the village, Ugborodo, and Aunt based in the town, Sapele. Sister, young and energetic, operated between the village and the town. Ugborodo was a cashless society then and trading was by barter with dried crayfish as the medium of exchange. Mother and Sister prepared large pots of deliciously spiced, mouthwatering rice loaded with fresh crayfish. This rice meal was very popular in the village. Sister hawked it along with goods that Aunt had sent from Sapele in exchange for crayfish. During the weekly Saturday market day, people hurried to Mother's shed to purchase the rice before it sold out. They stored the dried crayfish obtained from the bartering of goods and food in large, approximately hundred-liter bags woven from raffia. When there were six to eight bags of crayfish, Sister transported them DECEMBER 31, 2013.
in a “Kpekpekpe” to Sapele, a journey of about seven hours. At Sapele, Aunt took over and sold the bags of crayfish. If prices were unfavorable, Sister,with Aunt's consent, loaded the bags of crayfish into lorries and transported them to the large commercial city, Onitsha, up the Niger River. In the 1950's, this trip was as tedious as it was dangerous. There were no bridges on the rivers along the single lane dirt roads, so they crossed over the Ethiope River at Sapele, in the famous “Pontoon” and took a ferry over the Niger River from Asaba to Onitsha. The prices in Onitsha were usually much higher than in Sapele, consequently, Sister would sell the crayfish and buy some goods to be bartered at Ugborodo. She would return to Sapele and in consultation with Aunt would buy more goods for Ugborodo. She would return to Ugborodo to Mother, and the trading process would be repeated. Thus, Mother, Sister and Aunt laboriously raised the cash for the Esusu, through which they funded my education in the elite boarding secondary school, Government College Ughelli. Three years after Father's death, 1958, I was in Form V, the final year at GCU preparing for the West African School Certificate Examinations (WAEC), and these three women's labor had kept me there for those years. Also, an advancedlevel instruction requiring an additional two years preparation at GCU for the Cambridge Overseas' Higher School Certificate (HSC) had been introduced. I took the entrance examination for it and, not unexpectedly, was selected. I did not mention this to my family because the fees for HSC was sixty pounds per annum, nearly double the thirty-two pounds they started paying when Father died. Especially since I was aware that they had some difficulty paying the fees when it was increased to fortyeight pounds, although they labored bravely on. Coincidentally, in 1958, the Shell-BP Petroleum Oil Company, which had been exploring for oil in the Niger Delta and found some recently at Oloibiri, decided to offer scholarships for young Nigerians to study in tertiary institutions. Consequently, it sent its technical staff to all appropriate secondary schools in the Eastern Region, the Western Region and the Lagos Territory of Nigeria to teach those in Form V, a six-week course on Petroleum Production Technology. The Company gave an examination at the end of the course and the first student in each secondary school was given a gold plated Parker pen engraved with the year and the Company's logo. The top three students in each region were invited to their headquarters in Owerri for interview. DECEMBER 31, 2013.
Although, my sister travelled often to Onitsha, I was a little worried when I was invited to Owerri, which was deep down in Igbo land. At nearly nineteen, I put up a bold face but traveled with trepidation to Owerri for the interview. A couple of weeks later, the results were out in the national papers and in the Shell BP bulletin. Mr. Carter, our principal invited me to his office gave me the letter of offer and congratulated me. In addition to the gold plated Parker pen, I had won the first Shell BP Scholarship to study in any tertiary institution for being first in the Western Region; a boy won that for the Eastern Region; and a girl won for Lagos territory. As I took the letter from Mr. Carter, tears of joy, which I concealed from him, rolled down my checks. I wanted badly to scream and run all the way to inform the trio of the great news. I knew I could not. Once you were in GCU then, you were isolated from your family, especially for those of us whose families were in the villages. There were no phones and no letters could be sent to villages without post offices. I could not really contact my family with this incredibly fortuitous news. I hoped that Ugborodo people in Warri or Sapele would read about it and inform my family at home. That was what happened. When I finally went home on vacation, I explained what the scholarship really meant. We all jumped up and down screaming boisterously, thanking God and our forefathers for this timely providential intervention. Let me continue to relate a little more of how the three years' sacrifice of these humble, illiterate butgreat women changed my life. With the Shell-BP scholarship, I completed the HSC in 1960 as part of the Nigerian Independence generation. In 1961, I won the African Scholarship Program of American Universities (ASPAU) to Princeton University, where I obtained three degrees and had the fortune of being taught by a future Nobel Laureate. Thence I went to University of California for a doctorate and a post doctorate. Highly nationalistic at the end of our Civil War in 1970, I turned down lucrative offers from multinational chemical companies in the USA and joined the new and only Chemical Engineering Department at University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in Nigeria, where I taught the first set of Nigerian trained Chemical Engineers graduating in 1973. From Ife I moved to the new Department at the University of Lagos where for one and half decades, I taught several classes of Chemical Engineers. Meanwhile, as a national honorary secretary, I was active in strengthening the fledging Nigerian
Mrs. Akpeto Newe Society of Chemical Engineers. By late 1980's the stringent national structural adjustment program forced me back to the USA, where I was employed, by the Department of Energy formally the Atomic Energy Dept. at its National Laboratory at Oak Ridge, Tennessee, after obtaining my transcripts from Princeton and Berkeley, its first Nigerian researcher. There, I became an inventor, presenting papers all over the world, including chairing sessions at Mol Belgium, nearby Brussels, the administrative headquarters of Euratom. From Oak Ridge Tennessee, where the uranium isotopes for first atomic bomb was processed, I, the son of an illiterate crayfisher-man, traveled to deliver paper at Arita, home of Japanese imperial porcelains through Hiroshima, Japan, where the bomb was dropped in 1945 to end World War II. How can I thank these three women whose sacrifice took me from the rustic fishing village Ugborodo in the Niger delta, then still in the seventeenth century to the twenty-first century by my twentyfirst birthday? Let me try by honoring their memory in this, the International Year of Women. This is a tribute to you, my triumvirate of heroines: to you my mother, Mrs. Newe O. Omatete (nee Newe Oko Fregene), to you my sister, Mrs. Akpeto Newe, and especially to you my aunt, Madam Uruneyonjueyi (Eyonju) Oko Fregene, alias Oleghenju, with no children of yours, you raised many, and most importantly, you saw a future in me that no one else did and had confidence in my intellect when I did not. In paying tribute to you, my heroines in this special year, I honor all women, who make sacrifices to enhance the lives of men and hence elevate the quality of humanity. Professor Ogbemi O. Omatete November 17, 2013 WARRI MIRROR 41
Warri Monarch Commends NSITF Chair
he Olu of Warri, Ogiame Atuwatse II and other traditional rulers in Delta State have commended the Chairman of the Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (NSITF), Dr. Ngozi Olejeme, for setting up a foundation to cater for the less privileged members of the society. Ogiame Atuwatse II spoke when Dr Olejeme, chair of U & I Foundation, paid him a courtesy visit during her inspection tour of the foundation's office and empowerment programme in the state. The monarch said the
Emmanuel Uduaghan, admonishing Nigerians to resist the temptation of falling backward on previous ways of doing things. Quoting Abraham Lincoln, a former US President, she reminded Nigerians on the nation's unity of purpose and the bonds, stressing, “We are not enemies but friends. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.” She cautioned that the empowerment package is for the less-privileged members of the society and frown at situation where the rich would want to take over the ile, Dr Olejeme revealed that her
nationals in the state, irrespective of political and religious affinity, age or gender difference. Dr Olejeme added that through many lives have been reinvigorated through the foundation, promising that “more lives will be transformed”. She commended Ogiame Atuwatse II for his fatherly advice and support for the foundation. She also visited traditional rulers in the Isoko and ijaw lands in the Delta South Senatorial District of the state, where she preached the message of hope of the foundation. At the palace of the
Dr. Ngozi Olejemi addressing the Warri Monarch, His Majesty, Ogiame Atuwatse II, CON while Chief Sunday Irone looks on.
gesture of the NSITF boss was unique and instructive and urged privileged members of the society to borrow a leaf from her initiative by giving back to the society. Ogiame Atuwatse II promised to support the foundation's programmes that are geared towards the benefit of the Warri people. Dr Olejeme told the Warri monarch that the foundation was set up to give succor to the needy, widow, oppressed and vulnerable members of the society She called on Nigerians and Deltans to support President WARRI MIRROR 42
w e a l t h o f t h e p o o r. Meanwhile, Dr Olejeme revealed that her visit to the Oil City was in continuation of her desire to take hope to the hopeless and acting as mother to motherless and provider of shelter to those without homes in the society. The U&I Foundation chairperson said the visit was also to prepare the foundation's Warri office for its Christmas activities geared towards yuletide packages and taking the message of hope to those who lack the basic things of life. She said her foundation has impacted upon all groups and ethnic
Agadagba of Egbema kingdom, she thanked the traditional rulers for their support in the success of the last widow empowerment exercise in the areas. She expressed gratitude for their support for the Jonathan and Uduaghan administration saying that Nigeria will rise as one nation and one people. The Pere of Akugbene-mein Kingdom, who spoke on behalf of other traditional rulers, commended Dr. Olejeme for investing in the lives of others whose words of thanks she may not hear. He described her as a true woman of passion and love for the people. DECEMBER 31, 2013.
Emerging Powers In Itsekiri And Its Negative Applications
any past leaders have emerged in Itsekiri as a people and their power was used to promote the interest of the Itsekiri people.Without going into history, most of us witness the likes of Chief O.N Rewane. I can still remember how often this Late Chief do go to Warri LGA during sanitation and order bulldozer to destroy Ogbe-Ijaw market. No Urhobo king nor kingdom was recognized in Warri during his lifetime. No Ijaw or Urhobo man could represent Itsekiri in the State Assembly. Olu of Warri Coronation is done freely in Warri both on land and on water. Government at all level respects the Itsekiri because they don't compromise their heritage. Oil companies DARE NOT deprive our people from job else! Chevron (Continuation of pg. 9) you should be fair to all.” The Deputy Governor particularly congratulated the monarch for successfully ascending the throne and filling the 67-year-old vacuum, stressing that he must imbibe democratic virtues of dialogue and consultation in dealing with his people. “This is a new beginning and it is particularly commendable that the process leading to the ceremony were carried out peacefully in spite of the long gap,” he said. Speaking in the same vein, the Transitional Committee Chairman of Isoko North LGA, Mr Samuel Idise, said his administration holds the traditional institution in high esteem because of the important role it places in the governance of the people at the grassroots. He appealed to traditional rulers to maintain their stabilising role through the promotion of peace and unity among their people and visitors. “As Royal Fathers of the people, I strongly advise you to steer clear of partisan politics in order to uphold the dignity of your high office in your respective domains. It is only by so doing that your fatherly role can best be appreciated and beneficial to all and sundry,” he said. Meanwhile, the Okobaro of Ellu Kingdom, Chief Paul John Odhomor, who was one of the illustrious Ellu indigene conferred with chieftaincy title by Ogwara I has commended Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan for taking keen interest in the transformation of the state, saying that the current step being taken by his administration to diversify the state economy through the Delta Beyond Oil initiative remains a model for other states DECEMBER 31, 2013.
By David Ojogor was a good example,which open their gate from 'Back of fence' to Ugborodo for free movement of the people. Elders can enter Chevron boat or flight freely without any hurdle.Where are we today?Our so-called Chiefs have lost consciousness of the responsibilities of their titles. Urhobo and Ijaw can now have as many King as they desire side by side the Olu and it is okay with them. Itsekiri can now limit their annual coronation anniversary celebration to just thanks giving service and it is okay with them. Ijaw can now have, as much local government from Warri and it is okay with them. Urhobos and Ijaw can represent Warri in State Assembly and it is okay with them. Equal councilor for Ijaw, Itsekiri and
to emulate. Chief Odhomor made the observation at Ellu, after His Royal Majesty Murphy Othuke Urugbezi conferred on him a chieftaincy title as the Okobaro of Ellu Kingdom. The new Okobaro said, “The government under the leadership of Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan has done very well in the development of Delta State. He had done much better than previous governments. He has brought development to the whole of Delta state. There is no local government that has not felt the impact of his three point agenda; peace and security, human capital development and infrastructural development.” Chief Odhomor stated. He noted that with the new vision of Delta Beyond oil of the state, there was no community that has not felt the impact of his government. He called on Deltans to cooperate with the state government, emphasizing that it was the only way development could flourish in the state. “For you to bring government to your community, you must work and partner with government. You must not be seen criticising the government unjustifiably. You draw their attention to what you need in a very humble manner and you will be given what you want. This government is a very sensitive government and it listens to people,” he said. Chief Odhomor urged the people of Ellu kingdom to be peaceful and law abiding so as to attract more development to the community, saying “If you want development to come to your community, your community has to be peaceful. In an environment that is not peaceful, government cannot do anything there. So my appeal to the people is that they must see this community as the only
Urhobo in Warri and it is okay with them. What more? Killing of Itsekiri in the riverine communities and it is okay with them. Burning of Itsekiri communities and it is okay with them. Chevron can now lock out the Itsekiri people and fly-in Yorubas from Lagos without our Chiefs questioning the actions of this company.Then what is this power being used for? Intimidation of fellow Itsekiris with the Army, Navy and Police, pursuant of contracts, use of escorts to protect themselves, their wives when going to the market and their children to school, being praised in public and social functions for spraying hard currency.ITSEKIRI! ITSEKIRI!!ITSEKIR!!! I weep for my tribe, not because we find ourselves here but many of us want us to remain here!
Uduaghan Approves Irri Caretaker Committee
new caretaker committee to pilot the affairs of Irri Community in Isoko South Local Government Area of Delta State for nine months has been approved by the governor of the state, Dr. Emmanuel Eweta Uduaghan. This was disclosed to newsmen by the chairman of the caretaker committee of Isoko South Local Government Area, Engr. Goodluck Idele during the swearing-in ceremony recently on behalf of the state governor at the Irri Community Town Hall. At the inauguration ceremony, the caretaker committee chairman of Isoko South said because of the lingering disagreement between factions in Irri community, the state governor directed that a caretaker committee should be set up to run the affairs of the community for nine months to prevent any other major crisis in the community, but warned that the committee must handover power as at when due to an elected executive by August 2014, According to him, it is to give room to the committee to work out modalities for next election. Those appointed are Godday Igorigo Chairman, Edward Edhughoro Vice Chairman, Emmanuel Agrimo Secretary General, Felix Kimono Treasurer, Ezoh Efezino Financial Secretary, Orehmo Adegheje Public Relation Officer, Sarah Olomu c h a i r l a d y. O t h e r m e m b e r s a r e , Christopher Okpone, Pastor Akpowe, Akpoghene, Uzuazor Utuaga, Godspower Odweme, otibeha Austine and Ovetiri Abighe. WARRI MIRROR 43
The Human Face Of Delta Beyond Oil O ne unmistakable and discernible thread that has run through the programmes and policies of Delta State Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan is his uncommon concern and care for the welfare of the less privileged. This innate trait in the governor came to the force once again in Warsaw, Poland at the UN Conference on Climate Change. Uduaghan, a founding member of R20, an international organization of subnational governments, NGOs, corporations and educational institutions across the word which are committed to combating climate change, speaking at a panel discussion on “Enhancing adaptation and resilience at the local level” at the UN conference on climate change (COP 19/CMP 9), lamented the changes of adaptation to climate change on the rural people, who are most vulnerable to the devastating impact of flooding. As proceedings at the conference went on, the humane nature in Uduaghan became agitated and uncomfortable. The care and concern of a medical doctor in him could not bear with the urban-centric direction of the discursion. Thus, when the opportunity came for him to make his presentation, he drew global attention to the plight of the under-privileged. “What I see here is a lot of attention being given to issues in the cities and urbanization, which is important but I will like to see some attention paid to the lives of the people in the rural communities. During extreme weather event like flooding, these are people whose economic and social means are destroyed and they have a lot of difficult time getting on their feet. So the text that will emerge from this conference must reflect the necessity of providing means to improve the adaptation and resilience of the rural communities, ”he said. The governor was speaking from experience. He saw firsthand the havoc, the sorrow and the devastation people at the bank of the River Niger suffered in the wake of the 2012 horrifying flood that submerged about two-third of Delta State. The victims, who were majorly rural dwellers lost houses, farmlands and in some cases loved ones of the flood. He therefore challenged the international community to pay more attention to the impact of climate change on the people living in the rural communities, stating that enough is not being done to increase their resilience to cope with climate change. Uduaghan informed the audience that his administration has been doing a lot within the constraint of resources to implement robust adaptation and mitigation measures as the state is prone to flooding. The governor listed the collaboration with UNDP to organize the Territorial Approach to Climate (TACC) study, now completed with the production of the Integrated Territorial Climate Plan (ITCP) and captures adaptation and mitigation strategies across all, including the rural 44 WARRI MIRROR
By Ejiro Idama
communities. He also explained that, based on the ITCP report, the state would encourage the use of energy saving stoves, to reduce the felling of trees for energy use at the rural communities. He also listed the use of energy efficient fish dryers and biogas digester that will turn kitchen waste to cooking gas as other initiatives his government is encouraging. Uduaghan stated that his administration will pursue tree planting initiatives to act as green belt in coastal communities to forestall erosion and flooding. He also talked about the recently launched Carbon Exchange Desk, explaining: “The Carbon Exchange Desk will serve as a clearing house for carbon credits related transactions. Delta is the first state in Nigeria to do this.” True to his words, the governor took pragmatic steps towards alleviating the plight of the victims of the 2012 flood that swept through the country. The governor, who was outside the country when the flood broke out, immediately set up a highpowered emergency committee chaired by his deputy, Prof. Amos Utuama, which travelled the length and breadth of the state and set up camps in strategic locations to cater for the displaced persons. He went ahead to inaugurate another committee chaired by retired Supreme Court Justice, Francis Tabai, to manage the N500 million intervention fund for the flood victims provided by the Federal Government. U n co mmo n b u rd e n fo r th e underprivileged dots his award winning micro-credit programme that has provided economic support to over a hundred thousand economically weak persons majority of whom, are women, in the state. Report from the Commissioner of Poverty Alleviation, Dr. Antonia Ashiedu, indicates that most beneficiaries of the scheme who started as small scale businesses have grown to medium enterprises and are now exporting some of their products. The administration's free rural, maternal and child medicare programmes, where urban poor and rural folks are treated free of charge are no less welfarist. Under the free rural health scheme, which has moved to about 400 rural communities in the state, over 100,000 patients have received medical treatment, including surgeries. Data from the state Ministry of Health indicate that over 600,000 clinical attendance have been recorded under the free maternal care scheme since its inception in 2008. The scheme provides free medical care for pregnant women from conception to child birth. Prior to the scheme, the maternal mortality rate in the state was about 450 deaths in every 100,000 pregnant women but the figure has dropped to about 211 deaths, the lowest in the country. The state government's urban, rural and riverine
transportation schemes that provide comfortable means of transportation for the citizens at drastically subsidized prices, also have imprints of a man with the well-being of the less privileged at heart. The Mass Transit Scheme at the moment has about 800 buses on its fleet, including 50 Marcopolo buses, 40 school shuttle buses and nine civilian buses for tertiary institutions. The governor's target is to increase the fleet to one thousand buses before leaving office. Rural folks used to rickety vehicles now board fully air-conditioned buses at little cost. Urban dwellers who were at the mercy of Shylock taxi and bus drivers now take pleasure in boarding comfortable buses, popularly called 'Uduaghan Buses' at very cheap rates. Riverside dwellers too now move about in comfortable boats. Most of the dilapidated schools have given way to modern buildings. Uduaghan on assumption of office endured that students in public schools are enrolled for the West African Examination Council (WAEC) and National Council on Education (NECO) examinations. The state's bursary and scholarship programme has afforded students the opportunity to realize their dream of tertiary education. Statics from the Bursary and Scholarship Board indicate that over 80, 000 students have benefitted from the bursary scheme between 2009 and 2012, while 1, 236 students in law school have also benefitted under the period. Over 90 students have also benefitted from the overseers scholarship scheme while no less than 300 have been granted scholarship under the first class scheme. The programmes of the Uduaghan administration are clear testimonies that the man has innate burden and concern for the well-being of the ordinary folks.
Ejiro Idama is a public affairs commentator
PUBLIC NOTICE/CHANGE OF NAME
his is to inform the entire public that the Warri Diamond Society, is now to be known and addressed as URANRAN ITSEKIRI SOCIAL CLUB, ABUJA (alias Iwere eno). Our Aims and Objectives are:To bring together all sons and daughters of Itsekiri origin within the Federal Capital Territory and its environs, for the pursuit of social welfare, interaction and cordial relationship etc. Chairman: Mr. Peter Oruru (08035530294). DECEMBER 31, 2013.
FOR THE RECORDS
IKOMI & IKOMI BARRISTERS, SOLICITORS Corporate And Property Consultants
No. 94, Ajamimogha Road, Warri, Delta State. Tel: 08036489255 E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org 24th September, 2013
The Hon. Commissioner, Ministry of Lands, Surveys and Urban Development, Asaba. Dear Sir, RE: REVOCATION OF RIGHTS OF OCCUPANCY THEREOF IN PURSUANCE OF SECTION 28 OF THE LAND USE ACT CAP. L5, LFN 2004 LAND REQUIRED FOR THE SERVICE OF THE GOVERNMENT OF DELTA STATE OF NIGERIA OMADINO COMMUNITY'S STATEMENT OF INTEREST/RIGHT AND EVIDENCE OF THE OWNERSHIP OF LANDS AT BAKOKODIA AND OKERENGHIGHO ALONG ESCRAVOS RIVER IN WARRI SOUTH WEST LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA OF DELTA STATE.
e as Solicitors to the O m a d i n o Community hereby forward on behalf of our Client, this s t at em en t of r i ght / int eres t an d evidence in respect of the Omadino Community's ownership of the lands known as Bakokodia and Okerenghigho along the Escravos River in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State of Nigeria. F i r s t an d f orem o s t , the correct and genuine names for the lands wrongly published as Okerenkoko is Okerenghigho while that of Kokodiagbene is Bakokodia. We hereby attach evidence of Courts' Judgment viz: CASE I: In Suit No.w/20/46, Adurumokumor (Ijaw) acting for himself and on behalf of Bakokodia Ijaw Community took action against Kponu (Itsekiri) of Omadino for a declaration of title to the land described as Bakokodia. The tr u e Positi o n is tha t t h e Ij aw inhabitants of Bakokodia and its environs came from Western Ijaw and were permitted by Chanomi Iye on the authority of Omadino people to settle t h er e . Adem ol a J. di s m iss ed A dur u m ok umor s ' a c t ion on t he ground that the people of Bakododia had failed to prove their title to the land claimed by them. As the Ijaws persisted in demanding tributes and rents from those using the land and fishing in the rivers, Omadino DECEMBER 31, 2013.
people, represented by Chief Sillo and Edremoda Golly, sued Adurumokumor on behalf of Bakokodia people in Warri High Court and successfully obtained a declaration of title over Bakokodia and the surrounding lands and rivers. The court awarded damages for trespass against the Ijaws who, according to the Judge, were put on the land by Omadino people who acknowledge the overlordship rights of the Olu of Warri. The Ijaws went to the West African Court of Appeal and lost. CASE II After this, the Ijaws continued to disregard the above judgments, and Omadino people sued them for an order of forfeiture at the Warri High Court. Ultimately at the Supreme Court, the Ijaws accepted a compromise judgment in which they clearly acknowledged Omadino's ownership of the land. See Suits Nos. W/29/51, WACA No. 3707, W/37/61 and SC/393/64. CASE III Okenrenghigho, another Ijaw settlement in Gbaramatu also fell under the axe of the Omadino people. In Suit 30/62 Chief Sillo (Itsekiri) versus James Uluba (Ijaw), Justice Obaseki held that the Ijaws of Okerenghigho are tenants of Omadino. The Ijaws then appealed to the Supreme Court presided over by Elias, C.J., Sowewimo and Ibekwe S.C.JJ. in Suit No. SC.37/1973. They lost. The effect of these judgments is
that the whole of Gbaramatu area is peopled by Ijaws who are customary tenants on lands owned by Omadino people under the over Lordship of the Olu of Warri. Secondly, the original map of Bendel State shows clearly these lands with these names as Okerenghigho and Bakokodia as against the political name Okerenkoko and Kokodiagbene. Your office has in your custody the said old map of the then Bendel State for your confirmation. T h i r d l y, a g a i n s t t h i s background, the people of Omadino Community is entitled to the compensations due from the government's acquisition of these lands. We thank you in anticipation of your good co-operation. Sincerely, JOLONE IKOMI ESQ. (Solicitor) Cc: Dr. Emmanuel E. Uduaghan, Executive Governor, Delta State.
WARRI MIRROR 45
Uduaghan, Ereyitomi, Ayiri, others get Nollywood Awards
elta State Governor, D r. E m m a n u e l Eweta Uduaghan has received a Nollywood recognition award for his life-saving interventions in Nollywood and the Nigerian entertainment industry generally. Similarly, two Chiefs of Warri Kingdom, Thomas Ereyitomi (the Aka tigbi ayeola of Warri) and Ayiri Emami (the Akulagba of Warri) were also among over 20 others who got the Nollywood Icon awards for their various contributions to the industry and Nigerian entertainment industry generally. Other recipients of the awards are, Chief Tony Okoroji, Ojiofor Ezeanyaeche (OJ Productions), Apostle M. OlaKassim, Prof. Bankole Sodipo, Hon. S.O.B. Agunbiade, Chief Joseph Odobeatu, Ejike Asiegbu, Theo Akatugba and Amaka Igwe. Others are the DirectorGeneral of the National Sports Commission, Hon. Gbenga Elegbeleye, Tunde Kelani, the International Federation of Film
Producers Association (FIAPF), Patrick Doyle, Victor Ashaolu (National President, ANTP), B e n j a m i n N j o k u ( Va n g u a r d Newspapers), Ngozi Emedilobe (National Mirror Newspapers), Mandu Umoh (TV Continental), Justin Akpovi-Esade, Nigeria Export and Import Bank, Bank of Industry, and the Director-General of National Broadcasting Commission, Prince Emeka Mba. Earlier in his address of welcome, President of ANCOP and Vice President of FIAPF, Comrade Alex Eyengho, said the ANCOP Recognition Awards is a way of encouraging individuals and organizations who have laboured selflessly to add value to, and deepen the over 60 years historical trajectory of the Nigerian motion picture industry popularly known as Nollywood in terms of brand name. “This is why it is indeed laughable to me, and I am sure many others that some people claim they are celebrating Nollywood at 20 in 2013! If Nollywood is the same thing as the Nigerian motion picture
industry, then it is a disservice to the historical trajectory of the industry to pigeonhole it into 20 years as at 2013. The organizers would perhaps have been pardoned if they tagged it celebration of 'Living in Bondage at 20'. May I use this opportunity to appeal to the media not to allow their platforms to be used as vehicles for the deliberate and provocative distortion of the history of the Nigerian motion picture industry now known as Nollywood”, Eyengho declared. “The Awards ANCOP is giving out to deserving recipients today is a way of celebrating them while they are still alive. These are people and or institutions that have added measurable and verifiable value to Nollywood and indeed the Nigerian creative industry generally over the decades. However, the list is by no means exhaustive. This is just a maiden edition. We trust it will become an annual event with the possibility of metamorphosing into a stand-alone event in the nearest future”, the award-winning filmmaker stated.
A Cross-section of participants 46 WARRI MIRROR
DECEMBER 31, 2013.
PICTORIAL Some pictures at the 2013 edition of the ANCOP-FIAPF and the maiden edition of ANCOP Recognition Awards, recently in Lagos
Ngozi Emedilobe of National Mirror newspapers (middle) displaying his award. He is flanked by Isaac & Nneka Moses
Technical Adviser to the MD of NEXIM Bank, Mr. Hope Yogo making a remark
Notable Filmmaker, Charles Novia and others
Patrick Doyle receiving his award from Mr. Bertrand Moullier
L-R: Mrs. Amaka Igwe, Igwe Gabosky, Mr Bertrand Moullier, Prince Emaka Mba, Marry Oyanli-Omagbemi, & Mr. Jare Ajayi
L-R: Popular actor, Baba Wande, Bassey of Big Brother Africa fame, and Mrs. Bankole Shodipo
Azuka Odunkwe (I), Theo Akatugba (2nd left) and others. WARRI MIRROR 47
L-R: Chief Tony Okoroji, Barr. Chris Nkwocha (NCC Reps), Mr. Bertrand Moulier, Prince Emeka Mba and Mr. Edward Edion DECEMBER 31, 2013.