By Esther Eugene, Warri
National Coordinator/Chief Executive Officer of the Center for Peace and Environmental Justice (CEPEJ), Chief (Comrade) Sheriff Mulade has praised the Aladja and Ogbe-Ijoh youths for the peace initiative and for rising up to the challenge of fostering lasting peace between both the communities that had been at loggerheads for the past few years on land border issue.
Chief Mulade stated during the Weekend at the Peace concert organized by Aladja Ogbe-Ijoh Peace Vanguard had described peace as a unifying factor and sacrosanct to growth and development to any nation, adding that communal crisis has become a major setback not only to the nation but to the continent and the world at large. The best thing that can happen to any individual, community and country is peace and not war. We need peace in Aladja, Ogbe-Ijoh and all other communities and I am glad that peace has come to stay.
“‘After many years of communal crisis that has claimed so many lives and properties over land dispute, peace has finally returned to once troubled communities of Aladja and Ogbe-Ijoh in Udu and Warri South government council areas of Delta state.
Chief Mulade, who is also the Ibe-Sorimowei of ancient Gbaramatu Kingdom, stressed the need for peace and unity among people in the areas.
He said the journey to achieving peace is not always easy; it goes with a lot of sacrifices and dedication, sacrifice of time, resources and money adding that whenever peace is achieved, the joy that comes with it is unquantifiable.
He said that Aladja and Ogbe-Ijoh Peace Vanguard has done noble in achieving the peace that others thought was unachievable; they have bridged the gap between war and peace and between unhappy and happy people; between Aladja and Ogbe-Ijoh communities; between the Ijaws and Urhobos. History will never forget their action; they shall always be remembered all over the world because history books will record this event.
Chief Mulade noted that his Centre will continue to support the peace initiative of Vanguard towards achieving peace and unity and called on the state fovernment under the leadership of Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa and other stakeholders to intervene in crisis communities in achieving permanent peace.
His words: “It is true that there are crisis, wars and disunity among peoples of the world today but we can work to achieve peace, because peace for our people is peace for us; peace in our neighborhood is peace for us; peace in our communities is peace for all of us; and where there is peace there is unity, love, growth and development.
“I have always been on the path of peace, so I support this great peace and unity movement powered by Aladja and Ogbe-Ijoh Peace Vanguard. I call on the Delta State Governor, Sen. Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa; Deputy Governor, Barr. Kingsley Otuaro; the Chairmen of Warri South West and Udu Local Governments, Traditional Rulers and Chiefs, Community Leaders, Women and Youths of Aladja and Ogbe-Ijoh communities to embrace peace and support this great peace initiative towards restoring permanent peace to the communities. The benefits of peace outweigh the bloodshed at war.
“We should remember that Aladja and Ogbe-Ijoh are one people. There is no true Aladja person that is not related to Ogbe-Ijoh in one way or the other, and there is no true Ogbe-Ijoh person that is not related to Aladja, so we are one people. We should therefore display genuine love for one another.
“Let us commit ourselves to building on the peace, unity and oneness as the legacies of Aladja and Ogbe-Ijoh Peace Vanguard, so that, everyone in both communities can enjoy peace, prosperity, inclusive and sustainable development in the land. We should know that disunity causes constant underdevelopment and backwardness.
“Let me say that never and never again shall it be said that this beautiful and God-given land experiences war, killings, disunity and oppression of an Aladja man by an Ogbe-Ijoh man, or of an Ogbe-Ijoh man by an Aladja man, like what happened during the past crises.
“The sun shall never again rise and set on such unfortunate inglorious happening, disunity, crisis, and killings in the land of Aladja and Ogbe-Ijoh. Let unity, peace, love and oneness reign supreme in our communities,” he stated.
The dignitaries at the peace concert were; the Udu Local Government Chairman, Hon. (Chief) Jite Brown; Warri South West Local Government Chairman, Hon. Taiye Duke Tuoyo; representatives of the Ovie of Udu Kingdom and the Pere of Ogbe-Ijoh Warri Kingdom; the Director-General of Special Duties to Governor Ifeanyi Okowa; Chairman of Delta Land/Waterways Security, Chief Boro Opudu; Chief Frank Omare, Richard Mofe Damijo (RMD), Harry Song, Ushebebe, among others.