Is it that the Iwere Movement now knows the custom and tradition of Itsekiris more than the Olu? Or is it that the Iwere Movement is now wiser than the throne or at war with it?
The exact words used by Lee Quan Yew, the first Prime Minister of Independent Singapore in attributing Vietnam as an egoistic people who prided themselves as the Prussians of Southeast Asia; cunning and unreliable, whose deep yearn is to exploit the fears and desires of the countries they sought to befriend, are the exact words fit to appraise the Itsekiri group known as the Movement for the Protection of Iwere Homeland, Development and History who are priding themselves as the Landlords of all the Lands in Warri South West Local Government Area including those of the Ijaws most especially Gbaramatu Kingdom.
Like the Vietnamese who regardless of suffering immensely from American military offensive, but became victorious through sheer endurance and skillful propaganda exploiting the American media, the Iwere movement skillful propaganda against the Ijaws in Warri South West and Warri North Local Government most precisely Gbaramatu Kingdom are gradually earning public sympathy. But having learned from the Vietnam-American war, we the good people of Gbaramatu will only die when we actually keep quiet about the very things that matters. Hence, our response is keen.
The Iwere anti-democratic movement had peddled several propaganda on social media which have succeeded in questioning our identity; desecrated our thrown and misinformed gullible Nigerians and the world at large that they are the true owners of Gbaramatu Kingdom, In Warri South West Local Government Area, Delta State Nigeria. With several warring media titles, they had been persistently attempting to cruelly tell the world that the ancestral homeland of the Gbaramatu people belongs to them. Most shocking among such propaganda is the recent one peddled on a Facebook page Movement for the Protection of Iwere Homeland as “Vanguard Must Be Wary of Inflammatory and Mischievous Publications from Tompolo and His Kinsmen”, published July 2, 2016. The article reads in part: “The whole land and water mass falsely and criminally referred to by the Ijaw customary tenant as Gbaramatu belongs to Itsekiri communities of Omadino and Ugborodo over the lordship of His Majesty, The Olu of Warri”. This, certainly is the biggest fallacy of the 21th century. It stirs wonder how precolonial indirect rule system employed by the British colonial masters found its way into a democratic Federal Republic of Nigeria. The salient question that task interest minds are: When was each community occupied by the Ijaws? And even if the Itsekiris had rented their lands to the Ijaws, how come the Ijaws are occupying the better part of the territories than the Itsekiris who are only at the edges of the water mass, yet claiming to own all lands? Or was it that the Ijaws conquered the Itsekiris and took over their lands? If yes, when?
No doubt the Itsekiris are acting in furtherance of Dore Numa’s rule under colonialism before the Independence of Nigeria. Wherein, from 1848-1936, their Chiefs and even the Olu of Warri were appointees of the Colonial Masters, pursuant to the British indirect rule system that was operational then. The truth is, Gbaramatu Kingdom was never a time under the Itsekiris and can never be cowed to accept such fate.
This was noted in a popular article by the Itsekiris cited by Niger Delta foremost leader, Chief (Dr.) Bello Oboko, the President Federated Niger Delta Ijaw Communities (FNDIC), in an open letter to the then Governor of Delta State, Chief James Onanefe Ibori, dated Saturday 13 December, 2003. He quoted “In recognition of the fact that Itsekiri traditions and customs are different from the Ijaw traditions, Chiefs Law, Cap 19 excludedEgbema(sic), Gbaramatu and Ogbe-Ijoh Local Councils from the spheres of authority of the Olu of Warri as a prescribed Authority for Warri Division” ( http://waado.org/
UrhoboHistory/ WesternNigerDelta/Ijaw/ Itsekiri-FNDIC.html).
As put forth by Dr. Bello, history and intelligence reports on pre-Giniwa era of Itsekiri holds that: “There is a tantalizing hint that the Warri people were originally Ijos’ (A short history of West Africa book by J. A. Osae and N. Nwabara, 1968 page 148)”. He further strengthened his argument with further facts that “Prior to the advent of Bini Prince Giniwa, the territory now known as the kingdom of Itsekiri or Iwerewas (sic) inhabited by three tribes namely; Ijaws, Sobos and mains (sic)….” (A history(sic) of Itsekiri by an heir apparent to the throne of Olu, William A. Moore, 1970, page 13).
W.R.L.N.176,1955, Itsekriris paid Advert in the Vanguard June 12, 2003 pages 14 & 15 refers: “Warri Division… was later created as Itsekiri homeland in 1952, as per W.R.L.N. 176 of 1955 during which Divisional Councils were created for all ethnic nationalities in Western Nigeria”. Is this not funny?, was Warri Division ever created as Itsekiri homeland?, Is this not a deliberate attempt to re-live colonialism in the present Republican Independent Nigerian State? Was it even the place of the Colonial Masters to create homeland for any indigenes?
Warri crisis seemed to have started when irrespective of the Ijaw traditions and customs recognised of the Ijaw Local Councils, the Itsekiri in error still claims Warri Divisional Council as exclusive Itsekiri homeland. This was the cause of Warri crisis and this prompt the former Executive Governor of Delta State Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan to have proclaimed on Vanguard (May 12, 2009)that “… the (Ijaw) youths were fighting for their right”; the right to protect the Gbaramatu Local council- its culture and tradition which they (the youths)could not stand to watch anyone whisk away from them.
From the foregoing, Bello is right to assert that “It is a monumental fraud for the Itsekiri(sic) to perceive” the Gbaramatu people as their tenants ( http://waado.org/
UrhoboHistory/ WesternNigerDelta/Ijaw/ Itsekiri-FNDIC.html).
To keep the record straight, where the federating units i.e. local councils were of diverse ethnic basis then the federation, which in this case was the Warri Divisional Council, could only be of multi-ethnic basis. That the independent Nigeria was originally handed over to Dr. Nnamdi Azikwe as president did not make Nigeria become homeland of the Ibos alone.
Similarly, Bello argues that a Divisional Council created by the Colonial Masters and was allegedly handed over to the Itsekiris to administer, could not have made Warri Divisional Council become homeland and property of the Itsekiris in exclusion.
This is not just a fight against Gbaramatu but against the hard earned democracy of Nigerian and because truth will always prevail, this is not going to end the American-Vietnan way, where propaganda prevailed over the greater light of truth. Sure to speak, Nigerian democracy shall prevail over the defunct British colonial thesis.
It is in fact anti-democratic for a first class fing in a first class kingdom to be ridiculed by another kingdom of same prestige. Owing to this fact, the good people of Gbaramatu kingdom, under the overlordship of His Royal Magesty, Oboro Gbaraun II, Aketekpe Agadagba, the Pere of Gbaramatu Kingdom urges the Itsekiris to jettison these inconsistent, irrational and covetous claims, to embrace the hard earned democracy of the Nigerian state which had overthrown colonialism in all its forms and ramifications some 56 years ago.
More so, no right thinking man will still belief that Gbaramatu Kingdom as falsely claimed by the Iwere movement belong to the Itsekiris, when the Olu sent three of his palace Chiefs to represent him in the coronation ceremony of the revered First Class Monarch of Gbaramatu King (Pere) just recently.
What should task interested minds are: Is it that the Iwere Movement now knows the custom and tradition of Itsekiris more than the Olu? Or is it that the Iwere Movement is now wiser than the throne or at war with it? This inconsistency had prompted some Itsekiri sons who had previously fed fat from the sheer lies peddled by some of their isolated ancestors to question if actually they are true. One of such is Hon. Charles Eyimofe Pemu’s drills when he said: “…how true are those history we were told that we (Itsekiris) own Warri and every land under Warri kingdom is controlled by the Olu?” Pemu at this point is thinking alright. Like Rene Descartes, the great French philosopher, mathematician and scientist, Pemu is straight on his way to a greater light of truth which, according to Descartes can only be attain through methodically doubting all previous knowledge about the Itsekiri claims over Gbaramatu Kingdom. This is the path expected of all Itsekiri sons and daughters to turn to, including members of the Movement for the Protection of Iwere Home Land, History and Development; to seek clarifications on parts of their history that has choked them with falsehood, in order to avoid future doom from God because covetousness is not just a sin against man but also against God and also an attempt to battle with His Word. But who can battle with the Lord? No one!
Maybe Pemu and other zealous Itsekiri sons were blanketed from their own history in affirmation of Ijaw status in Warri and Gbaramatu Kingdom in particular as put forth by an heir apparent to the Itsekiri/Iwere throne, Prince William A. Moore in his book titled A History of Itsekiri (1970, Page 13) which holds that “Prior to the advent of Bini Prince Giniwa, the territory now known as the kingdom of Itsekiri or Iwere was inhabited by three tribes, namely Ijaws, sobos and Mahins”. No doubt, Pemu and co were handed selective history of Itsekiris which has now fizzled away at the appearance of fundamental facts.
Gbaramatu Rebirth Initiative, GRI, Commend Gov. Okowa For His Good Works and Encourage Him on Further Maintenance and sustenance, we particularly extols barrels of commendations to him for personally coming to give the staff of Office to His Royal Magesty Aketekpe, the Pere of Gbaramatu Kingdom on December 6, 2016 accordingly, which has further affirmed Gbaramatu Royal Throne as First Class and overlordship to its territory under the preview of the laid down laws of the Nigerian State.
Your Excellency, we stand by your remarks that peace is the necessary precondition for development, knowing too well that, “Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal” – Martin Luther King Jnr. Hence, we urge you to put in check those anti-peace groups who are tirelessly working against your SMART agenda by priding themselves as overlords over peaceful Kingdoms under your watch, thereby intending to resurrect another round of fresh tribal war in the state.
Your Excellency, it will be a ridicule to your pedigree that colonialism which has been defeated by the Nigerian state since October 1st 1960 is now scoring success only in Delta State under your watch, thereby, questioning whether or not you are in charge of the state and further posit you as an anti-democratic leader, which we firmly believe that you are not. As you are aware, it is your statutory obligation as the number one citizen of the state to facilitate peace by ensuring that every tribe and Kingdom gets what is due them without been cowed by another. This is what “Prosperity For All Deltans”- the summary words to your campaign promises stands for. But Iwere movement is studiously standing against your object as a governor and contesting against the hard earned democratic process that brought you to power. To this end, we beckon in you to protect the right of all necessary stakeholders in the state and this includes defending Gbaramatu right to the EPZ project which was affirmed by your Predecessor, an Itsekiri son, His Excellency, Dr. Emmanuel Ewetan Uduaghan, in fulfilment of God’s word which says “…dwell in the Land and Enjoy safe pasture ” (Psalm 37:3).
It will be of the best interest of the state that you act as a competent and honest father by doing all that is obligatory to your office which will propel citizens on the other hand to be law abiding and further put in their best to see you succeed. Amid such obligations is for you to set the pace for peace in the state for which you have done in part by giving a First Class Staff of Office to the Pere of Gbaramatu Kingdom, thereby distinguishing him as a monarch only under hierarchy of leadership as posited by the Laws of Independent Nigeria. To further maintain this good work, we advice Sir, that you clear off all remnants of colonialism in the state irrespective of whomever orchestrating them- be it a group, tribe, Kingdom or monarch, in order to curtail any Kingdom from overriding you, the hard earned office and bringing your name to disrepute.
It is on this note we call on all necessary stakeholders in Delta State to support His Excellency Sen. (Dr.) Ifeanyi Arthur Okowa in maintaining peace and sanctity across the state.
furthermore, we encourage all ethnic groups especially the Itsekiris to embrace the Nigerian democracy which is the very essence of our peaceful coexistence as a nation and should not ridicule it to serve egoistic purposes.
Comr. Godswill Doubra Wuruyai, Acting Secretary, Gbaramatu Rebirth Initiative(GRI)