Chief Godspower Gbenekama
WARRI- Delta Ijaw prominent leader, Chief Godspower Gbenekama has appealed to the Government of Edo state to allow the Ijaw people in Ovia North East Local Government Area, Olodiama kingdom to choose their monarch peacefully for the best interest of Olodiama people and the Edo state Government for harmonious relationship.
Chief Gbenekama made the appeal today (Thursday), while answering questions with journalists in his residence in Warri, said ‘‘The Olodiama traditional stool in Edo state is not a strange one. There was the monarch who was given staff of office by the then Bendel state governor, Samuel Ogbemudia. Now the current Edo state Government refuses to allow the Ijaws in Edo state to install their traditional ruler which is their age long traditional rights.
‘’I was told that whenever time the ex-governor of then Bendel state invited traditional rulers, the monarch of Olodiama was part of the governor’s entourage and the then Oba of Benin was a good friend of then Akaladigba.
‘‘Two things are involved, when people do not know their rights, then a right becomes a privilege. That is what happened to the people of Edo state. The monarch was given a staff of office by ex-governor Samuel Ogbemudia, at that time the sitting governor, Godwin Obaseki was a little boy. The monarch passed away. After then, there was an interregnum, now, they have resolved the crisis. If you want to install a new monarch, you just explore on the opportunities of the past record and inform the present governor that you want to install a new monarch.
Chief Gbenekama said that despite government of Edo state threats of arrest, they broke their way to be part of the historical installation of a new traditional ruler in Olodiama kingdom in Edo state.
He urged the government of Edo state to withdraw whatever threat made in publications to fix a date to formally give staff of office to the new monarch for peace to reign among his citizens in the state. Noting that a place where there is no leader breeds administrative inconveniences. That the traditional ruler in Olodiama kingdom would help ease of administration, maintenance of law and order.
According to him, the Ijaws in Gelegele are the dominant in that area which abhors a lot of oil wells, seaports and so on that boost the revenue of the Edo Government and that the people should be respected with their ancestral lineage.
‘‘This is issue of oppression. It is that Olodiama Kingdom that has Gelegele and the seaport, a lot of oil wells. To add insult to injury, the Edo state government has made a publication that they do not recognize any kingdom called Olodiama in Edo state. That anybody goes to the installation ceremony would be arrested and charged as criminal. I went with my traditional ruler to join our brothers/sisters in their historical monarch installation. We were there and left after the installation rites and returned to Delta state’’ he said.
On military deployment in Gbaramatu kingdom, the high chief said that the Ijaw people are not against the presence of soldiers in the riverine areas. But explained that the soldiers should remain in their houseboats and never go into the villages to harass and intimidate them with no good reason. He said sometimes, the presence of soldiers’ scare away criminal elements from disturbing the people in the communities.
‘‘Ijaw communities are not at war with Nigerian government. There should be professional engagement rule of the military in the riverine area. Soldiers have made life brutish and short as some test their guns on our innocent youths in the riverine areas
‘‘We are appealing to our Ijaw communities in Niger Delta to be patient with federal government, including the faceless members of Avengers. Government had promised that they will develop the our communities. N5billion has been approved for the take-off fund for the controversial Nigerian Maritime University, after minister of transport; Mr. Rotimi Amaechi has said that there was nothing on ground. Now, the vice president Yemi Osinbajo travelled round the region and saw projects at the University campus. We must give government the benefit of doubt’’ he appealed to militants.