Opinion

Okowa’s riot Act to Ogbeijoh and Aladja monarchs

Okowa

These are trying times for Governors of states continually embroiled in communal crisisweek in, and week out especially, for an oil producing state which had gone through several years of militancy disruptions.
Delta state is no stranger to militancy crisis and for some years back in time, at the height of militancy when the first batch of leaders almost held the Niger Delta to a stand- still when the likes of TOMPOLO, ASARI DOKUBO , ATEKE TOM and a few others terrorized the oil bearing communities with the desire to get some mileage in terms of goodies for the peoples of the Oil Producing belt from the Federal Government.
Along with these, ethnic flares also took over between the Itsekiris and the Izons over who owns the land in Warri.
This time around, the ethnic flares had left the Itsekiris out of action and it is the Izons of Ogbeijoh in Warri South West Local government and Urhobos of Aladja in Udu local government, two closely knit- neighbours,  who had lived together for centuries in peace and harmony.
After several fire brigade attempts to achieve peace, the Governor, Senator IfeanyiOkowa, has come out ,perhaps, justifiably too  to read what amounted to a Riot Act for both Communities, and particularly, the Traditional Rulers of Ogbeijoh and Aladja to hold their subjects in check and firm control.
The justifiable anger emanating from the easy going gentle giant is in  response to the seemingly endless flares between the OGBEIJOH  and ALADJA  communities which had led to stories of kidnapping of innocent indigenes  in both  communities.
Handing down the warning in Asaba  at an enlarged State Security Council  Meeting, he intoned  ‘ Presidents- General, Youth Leaders and Women leaders must report to the Security Agencies every week .’
It seems the Governor has reached the limit of his patience and he said that much when he turned to the Monarchs- ‘ And for the traditional rulers, we have a lot of respect for your office but I wish to caution that  the respect will be withdrawn if we have any further crisis in the two domains’.
One can understand Governor OKOWA’s righteous indignation, especially, as the two communities had closed the link road between the two communities.
The most worrying aspect of the ALADJA and OGBEIJOH communities is that it might soon escalate into an inter- ethnic war between  the Izonsand the Urhobos and Delta state with all the encumbrances of pipe line vandalism that had reduced our share of revenue from federal allocation to the state.
The fear of such a bloody holocaust between Urhobos and Izons in Delta could lead to a declaration of Emergency by the Federal government, which might truncate our democratic dividends as enshrined in the Okowa’s Smart Agenda for all the people of DELTA STATE.
One could recall some frantic moves made by two Izon leaders of thought in Pa Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, the foremost Izon leader who earlier during the crisis reached out to Governor Okowa from his Abuja Maitama residence. Similarly, another Izon son in Chief Broderick Bozimo, a former Minister of Police Affairs under OBJ administration also spoke with some Urhobo leaders to de-escalate  the brewing crisis. In my Facebook post,  I had applauded their efforts, especially, both of them have Urhobo mothers and that place of birth qualified them to be honest brokers in this lingering crisis between Ogbeijoh and Aladja.
During the outburst  of the first crisis, a Youth leader from Udu had given a seven days ultimatum to the Izonsto vacate Urhobo land.
As if this threatening ultimatum fromUrhoboUdu leader was not enough, the UPU President in Engineer Omene also followed with a more damaging statement to the effect thast any attack on any Urbobo son would attract a collective response from all Urhobos against Izons living in Urhobo land.
I strongly support Governor Okowa’s tough line, and for the Izons, since their son is the Deputy Governor to Governor Okowa, they are unwittingly putting their son, Barrister Kingsley BurutuOtuaro in a very tightand  anembarrassing position.
.I want to call for peace on both sides of the ethnic divide between the Izons and the Urhobos, especially, their ties of over many years bound by starch and banga cannot be separated because of ethnic flares.
Apart from inter- ethnic marriages, the long years of gastronomic ties of banga and Owo soup must continue.
The lucrative bunkering business by both communities may well have led to a battle of supremacy.
One hopes the security operative would not be sucked into these greasy and oily business in the night markets of Delta plains

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Ihesiulo Grace

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