Okerenkoko Community Challenges Itsekiri in Nigeria Maritime University Naming Dispute: Sends Strong Letter to President Tinubu

“Any attempt to rename our community Okerenkoko to one devious name called Okerenghigho will be resisted at all courses even if it will cause us the last drop of our blood.”

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Peter Obi

The people of Okerenkoko Federated community in Gbaramatu Kingdom, Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta, have issued a resolute letter to President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, addressing the ongoing dispute over the naming of the Nigerian Maritime University.

Dated 4th December 2023, the letter to GbaramatuVoice raises critical concerns about legislative manipulation, threats to the rule of law, and attempts to involve the President in what the community perceives as a baseless controversy.

Expressing concern over continuous discord fueled by the Omadino/Itsekiri neighbors, the community sees it as an attempt to disrupt the relative peace in Delta State and the broader region. Signed by various community leaders, the letter highlights the history of court actions and manipulative practices by the Omadino people against their neighbors.

Amidst accusations and disputes, Okerenkoko community urges President Tinubu to exercise caution and not let his name be dragged into what they perceive as a fabricated conflict. The letter advises against considering a letter dated 27th November 2023, originating from Robinson Ariyo & Co, which seeks to rename the Nigerian Maritime University from Okerenkoko to Okerenghigho.

The community asserts that the judgment being flaunted by the Omadino/Itsekiri is a case between the Omadino against the Omadino, emphasizing that they were never part of the manipulated court case. They strongly resist any attempt to rename their community and call for the National Assembly to carry out its constitutional duty without interference.

The letter concludes by debunking claims of fraudulent land sales, referring to documented evidence in Vanguard Newspaper dated September 25th, 2013, regarding the revocation of land rights by the then governor of Delta State.

Expressing confidence in President Tinubu’s high moral standing, Okerenkoko community urges him not to be misled by what they perceive as a sinister agenda.

The letter reads in full:

IN RE:THE BILL FOR AN ACT FOR THE ESTABLISHMENT OF NIGERIAN MARITIME UNIVERSITY, “OKERENKOKO” INSTEAD OF “OKERENGHIGHO”: A CLASSICAL CASE OF LEGISLATIVE RASCALITY, IMMINENT THREAT TO THE RULE OF LAW AND AN ATTEMPT TO DISRESPECT AND UNDERMINE THE INTEGRITY OF THE SUPREME COURT OF NIGERIA

THE OMADINO/ITSEKIRI’S CONSTANT FANNING OF THE EMBER OF DISCORD IS AN ATTEMPT TO WANING THE LIFELINE OF THE RELATIVE PEACE IN DELTA STATE, IN PARTICULAR, AND OUR DEAR REGION IN GENERAL.

Your Excellency, sir, we write as per the above caption with reference to a letter dated the 27th day of November 2023 signed by one Chief Robison Ariyo which letter originated from the law firm of Robinson Ariyo & Co of Flat 24B, Topmost Floor, De Park Plaza, Ogunu Road, by Elf Junction, Warri and which letter is also said to have been written with the firm and unambiguous instruction of their clients: Messrs Edward Omagbemi; Oritseweyinmi Emmanuel Aginejuone and Tsaye Edeyibo-mene addressed to your esteemed office.
Your Excellency, sir, while we wish to constantly remain law-abiding, accommodating and peace loving as a people, we take clear and unambiguous exception to the continuous and constant barrage from our Omadino/Itsekiri neighbours who constantly attack the very basis of our existence. We wish to state without equivocation that we are neither customary tenant nor land-grabbers as the said letter would want to portray us or even intend to, at any time, disrespect and undermine the laws of our dear country, Nigeria. In fact, if there should be any customary tenant between the Omadinos and our community then the Omadinos should be our tenant as history is unambiguous as to the true owner of the land and territory currently occupied by the Omadino people.
Your Excellency, sir, by the intent and purpose of the said letter referred to above it is crystal clear that our Omadino/Itsekiri neighbours are head-bent to frustrating any government presence in our land using the mechanism and instrumentality of a carefully and clearly cooked up court judgment which was sinisterly and whimsically obtained without due and proper knowledge and representation from our community. Your Excellency, sir, it may interest you to note that this very feature of our Itsekiri neighbours (i.e their secretly fraudulent and manipulative actions instituted in courts to grab people’s land) is clearly evidenced by the barrage of court actions that they had instituted against their various neighbours in time past, some of which cases some of their fortunate neighbours got wind of were able to unbundled. You may also recall, Your Excellency, that this same said feature is the platform for which the Itsekiri nation used in renaming their king from the traditionally known title of “Olu of Jekiri/Itsekiri” to the “Olu of Warri” just to strengthen their false and baseless claim to the ownership of Warri in the 1950s.
Your Excellency, sir, if our position as to the intent and purpose of the said letter is unconsidered then why hasn’t this same Omadino people not challenged the naming of Okerenkoko Secondary School, Okerenkoko? Why hasn’t they challenged the naming of Okerenkoko Primary School, Okerenkoko? Why hasn’t they challenged the status of the name Okerenkoko as a host community to Jones Creek Flowstation? Why hasn’t they challenged the delineation of the INEC Ward with the name Okerenkoko as the ward headquarters? Why hasn’t they challenged everything that come by the name Okerenkoko as it relates to Okerenkoko land and territory? The rationale to this constant barrage is without doubt predicated on jealousy, greed and hatred for the Ijaws particularly those of Gbaramatu kingdom by our Omadino/Itsekiri neighbours and the same they are trying to do by dragging your hard earned name and identity into.
Your Excellency, sir, we understand the sinister move by our Omadino/Itsekiri neighbours and as such wishes to advise you to be very careful with these set of people. The basis of our advice is anchored on the fact that you are the president/father of all Nigerians as such it is our expectation that you do not let your name be dragged into the mess they are sinisterly cooking.

IN VIEW OF THE ABOVE:
●Kindly disregard the said letter referred to above dated the 27th day of November 2023 which letter originated from the law firm of Robinson Ariyo & Co of Flat 24B, Topmost Floor, De Park Plaza, Ogunu Road, by Elf Junction, Warri as it relates to the renaming of the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko to Okerenghigho.


●The said judgment been flaunted by the Omadino/Itsekiri is a case between the Omadino against the Omadino in the sense that they are the plaintiff and defendant at the same time using the name of James Uluba and others as the defendants, for themselves and on behalf of Okerenkoko. The case was manipulated by Omadino people without the knowledge and representation of our community so we were never part of the case ab initio and will never be part of that fraud.


●At no time in the history of mankind has the Omadino people ever own the land and territory belonging to Okerenkoko people of Gbaramatu Kingdom, other than their imagined and manipulated court judgment which erroneously and consciously gave judgment in their favour.


●Any attempt to rename our community Okerenkoko to one devious name called Okerenghigho will be resisted at all courses even if it will cause us the last drop of our blood.


●The National Assembly should be allowed to carry out her constitutional duty without due interference by the executive and also the executive should as a matter of fact co-promote the passing of the bill for the establishment of the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko for the overall benefit of Nigeria rather than strangulating the university because of the jealousy, greed and hatred for the Ijaws particularly those of Gbaramatu kingdom by our Omadino/Itsekiri neighbours.


●The claim of fraudulent sales and over-blotting of price of the land where the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko situates is a clear show of falsity. We refer Your Excellency to page 43 of the Vanguard Newspaper of Wednesday September 25th, 2013 evidencing the news relating to the “Revocation of Rights of Occupancy and Payment of Compensation Thereof In Pursuance of Section 28 of the Land Use Act Cap.L5 LFN 2004” personally signed by the then governor of Delta State Dr. Emmanuel E. Uduaghan, who is accidentally an Itsekiri man, which letter is dated 3rd of September 2013. Also, the said revocation is gazetted in Delta State of Nigeria Gazette published by authority as No.39 Asaba 26th September, 2013 clearly showing the survey description of the said land.

We repose utmost confidence in Your Excellency high moral and intellectual standing to the management of matters of this nature as such we believe that you will not be caught up in the evil web been spread to hoodwink Your Excellency to do their evil bidding.

Yours faithfully,

Signed:

Hon Shadrach Otuaro – Chairman.
Mr Andrew Bebenimibo -Secretary General.
Amb. John Dekawei – PRO.
Chief Vote Adagbabiri – Leader of Thought
Chief Matthew Oruke – Leader of Thought.
Comr Philemon Bebenimibo – Youth President.
Madam Beauty Okoro – Women Leader