Ijaw monarchs sue for peace, unity

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• Do not indulge in any form of criminality – Pere of Gbaramatu

Known for their peace-loving nature, the  Ijaw traditional rulers from across Bayelsa, Delta, Edo, and Ondo states have again called on all, and the Ijaw nation in particular, to imbibe the habit of promoting peace, love, and unity within their domain and in the nation at large.

The Ijaw royal fathers in the Niger Delta stated this on Sunday, January 14, 2018, during the Egbema Annual Cultural Festival holding at Ajakurama community, the traditional seat of Egbema Kingdom in Ovia South West Local Council Area of Edo state.

Speaking at the event on Sunday on behalf of the traditional rulers, His Royal Majesty, Oboro Gbaraun II (Aketekpe, Agadagba) the Pere of Gbaramatu Kingdom, while addressing the mammoth crowd present at the Ajakurama Primary School Playground, urged the people to avoid acts of criminality such as stealing, kidnapping, and other evil vices.

According to His Royal Majesty, “What is happening here today is historic as royal fathers of the Ijaw Nation have not gathered here like this in Ajakurama. What we are all saying is that all should not indulge in acts such as stealing, kidnapping, lying, fighting, disobedience and other forms of evil. 

“We are known to be peace-loving people and accommodating. We urge you therefore to emulate these good qualities for which we are known for, as that will bring peace and progress in Egbema and all other kingdoms of the Ijaw Nation,” His Royal Majesty added.

Also speaking at the event on Sunday, High Chief Benson Mubor, of Ajakurama community, stated that the cultural festival is observed to foster unity and peace for the progress of the Egbema Kingdom contrary to claims in some quarters that it is an evil gathering.

In his words, “Egbema Kingdom is a very peaceful kingdom. Unfortunately evil forces who do not want our progress misinformed the security operatives that this festival was aimed at instigating violence. That informed our being summoned to Koko by security personnel to explain what the festival is all about The security operatives even asked us to postpone it but as a culture, that cannot be done as we insisted on celebrating it. 

Contrary to claims, he explained, that the significance of the festival is to bring together the people to pray for the progress of their kingdom of which if they fail to do so, their ancestors will not be happy with them.

While speaking with GbaramatuVoice correspondent, the Chairman of Ajakurama community, Comr Chief Powei Baimene collaborated the claims of High Chief Mubor on the purpose of the festival.

In his words, “What we are celebrating here today is Egbema Festival and not Ajakurama Festival; and so all sons and daughters of the kingdom are here to pray for the good of the land. This celebration provides us with the opportunity to pray together for the peace and progress of the kingdom.”

He further used the opportunity to blame the government for not summoning the political will to develop the community and also not being sincere in allotting projects to the community.

Giving details, he explained that  Ajakurama, the traditional seat of Egbema Kingdom is an oil producing community but lacking in infrastructures like electricity and good roads, adding that teachers are lacking in the only secondary school they have in the community.

The Chairman of Ajakurama community, therefore, used the opportunity to call on the state and federal government to come to their aid by providing the community with the needed infrastructure.

The festival featured cultural activities such as the Ogele (procession), Bini-Uge (Canoe regatta display), Owu-Uge (masquerade display), and Bouli Gboulu-Uge (football match), Anda-Uge (traditional wrestling match), Izon-Sei (cultural dance), and Izon-Uge (comedy).

Present at this year’s Egbema Annual Cultural Festival are; HRM Oboro Gbaraun II, Aketekpe, Agadagba, the Pere of Gbaramatu Kingdom; HRM Beri Apoi Oki Oborobor Ogudimu, Kalasuo III of Okomu Kingdom; HRM Pere Godwin Ogunyiebo, the Agadagba of Olodiama Kingdom.

Others Include; HRM Oguruyeke Okirimini 1, the Pere of Tubutoru Kingdom; HRM Joel Ebani, the Pere of Iduwini Kingdom; and High Chief Bekewei of Arogbo Kingdom among other dignitaries and guests.

The festival is under the chairmanship of Chief Timi Seimigbo, the Odudukuro 1 of Iduwini Kingdom. Others are Chief Abraham Eghwrudjakpor (Vice Chairman), Mrs. Juliet Pakegua Sile (Chairlady), Mrs. Ebimiyenere Gbegbe Tomone (Vice Chairlady).