Stop marginalizing Ijaws in Edo state or else… – Okaba, INC president warns
…Says Ijaws are not strangers in Edo state
Professor Benjamin Okaba, the President, Ijaw National Congress, INC, has called on those marginalizing the Ijaw speaking people in Edo State to desist from such act or face the anger of over 15 million Ijaw people across the nation as Ijaw in Edo are not alone.
The INC president gave the warning in Ikoro, traditional headquarters of Olodiama kingdom in Edo State at the 5th coronation anniversary of the Pere of the kingdom, His Royal Majesty, Godwin Ogunoyibo, Alagbabunafa III.
Prof. Okaba who stated that the Ijaw nation is aware of efforts made to change names of Ijaw communities in Edo State and also stop development to Ijaw communities, warned that the Ijaw nation is keenly watching events as they unfold.
While noting that the Olodiama Ijaw and the entire Ijaw in Edo State are not alone, the INC President said: “Today, we want to make it clear that our people in Edo State are not alone. An injury to one Olodiama man, is an injury to over 15 million Ijaw people.
“The Ijaw people are the Aboriginal owners of this place, Ijaw man is not a stranger in Olodiama; the Ijaw man is not a tenant in Olodiama, this is our home – original home, and no body, I repeat, nobody can change that fact.
“We are not oblivious to various efforts made by the government and other kings not to recognise our kings, we don’t want their recognition. Kings are made by the people, not the government, government alone make the formality. So, when the people make their kings, the Ijaw nation will give the backing.
“We are aware of the various efforts made to change the names of our communities. We are also aware of the various efforts made to stop development to this place, we are watching,” he added.
The INC President who doubles as Chairman of the coronation anniversary, while expressing his joy for the anniversary and the unity exhibited among Ijaw people, said Olodiama kingdom is an ancient kingdom that was gazetted in the early 70s hence no one can change it.
He added: “Today is a day of joy because our king is five years old in the throne, and from the record, this particular throne was officially recognised in 1973, several years ago. It was gazetted, and recognised, so the recognition is from the beginning.
“So, it is not a kingdom of yesterday. It is a kingdom that has the recognition of government from Midwest, to Bendel then to Edo. So, the present Edo State Government does not have the capacity to do otherwise. This throne must be recognised.”
Present at the 5th coronation anniversary were Ijaw kings from Bayelsa, Delta, Edo and Ondo states, namely: the Pere of Gbaramatu kingdom, Aketekpe, Oboro Gbaraun II; His Royal Majesty, Roman Bohan, Atunkpokubu XIII, the Pere of Furupagha kingdom; His Royal Majesty, Joel Ekeni Ibani, the Ogiobo IX, the Pere of Iduwini kingdom.
Others include: His Royal Majesty, Egbesuwei Gbaraun X, the Pere of Gbaraun kingdom, Bayelsa State; His Royal Majesty, Gbebokedi Ajiri-Oba, the Pere of Tubutoru and their chiefs.
The Agadagba of Arogbo-Ijaw in Ondo state and other kings who were not present sent their high chiefs and highneses.
Ijaw musicians – Barrister Smooth and Abobra were also present at the anniversary to thrill dignitaries with melodious Ijaw music.