|Urhobo Historical Societ|
Western Ijaw Communities React to Itsekiri Camapign Against
Creation of Separate Local Government Jurisdiction For Western
|Subject:||[Ijaw_National_Congress] FNDIC REACTS TO PUBLICATION|
|Date:||Sat, 13 Dec 2003 14:19:52 +0000|
|From:||Felix Tuodolo <firstname.lastname@example.org>|
NO. 1, PERE QUARTERS,
E-Mail - abcvivimemwebafrica.com
Motto: "WATER FOR FIRE"
Chief James Onanefe Ibori
RE- "APPROACH TO INDIGENOUS LOCAL TRADITIONAL COMMITTEE SERVICES:
The aforementioned Advertorial publication signed, after widespread consultation in the Itsekiri Nation, by most of the foremost Itsekiri Leaders, justifies FNDIC fears and upholds the Warri Ijaw's concerns about Itsekiri diversionary antics with property and/or instrumentality of colonialism such as changing Olu of Itsekiri (Crowned) to Olu of Warri (appointed), Warri Divisional Council to Itsekiri homeland, framing land ownership from fraudulent land leases and colonial court judgements etc.
The Advertorial also goes to demonstrate the fundamental threat
Itsekiri Nationality poses to the hard-earned
CAUSES AND EFFECTS
Without considering causes of the Warri crisis the article deals extravagantly on the effects of Warri crisis on the Itsekiri perse. It places/pleads Itsekiri undeserving demands for consideration and compensation on the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
On the Advertorial the Itsekiri in the spirit of internal
neo-colonialism attempt to perpetuate administrative structure of
colonialism in our
Being anti-democratic, the monarchical Itsekiri oppose electoral ward/constituency delimitation that is a pre-requisite exercise for constitutional elections.
Opposing Governor James Ibori’s "Road Map to Peace", the Itsekiri are again antagonizing proposals for new LGA Creation.
Creating L.G.A. has been a recommended resolution to the Warri crisis by several competent panels. It is not the problem in itself. The Itsekiri are again formulating problems out of the solution-attempt.
In the Warri crisis the problem in the main, is the non-practice of democracy in Warri South - West i.e. non-delimitation of constituencies, non-registration of eligible voters and no elections i.e. the Ijaw neither to vote nor be voted for.
THE ITSEKIRI AND THIER ELECTION FRAUD, ILLEGALITY AND UN-CONSTITUTIONALITY
There was non-delimitation of electoral wards/constituencies in Warri South-West since 1998. The eligible Ijaw voters were not registered by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). The non-registered Ijaw lack the right to vote and be voted for wherever they are, be they in Itsekiri Communities or Ijaw Communities.
Given the above background, how came the non-registered Ijaw allegedly occupied Itsekiri Communities and produced massive votes thereby returning refugee Itsekiri members into both the National Assembly and the Delta State House of Assembly in the past general elections since 1998?
Where is the list of Itsekiri Communities allegedly occupied by the
Ijaw? When was each Itsekiri Community occupied by the Ijaw? When were
the elections held in the Itsekiri communities allegedly occupied by the
Ijaw? How came the wonderfully large votes from the Itsekiri communities
said to be occupied by the Ijaw who are non-registered voters? Are the
Itsekiri truly refugees? Can refugees be voters? Can you register in
If the Ijaw without voting right are occupying the Itsekiri Communities, then the elections of the Itsekiri remain a monumental fraud. Of truth, the Ijaw are only in the Ijaw Communities disenfranchised and did not vote, yet election results were declared upon them; which again is a monumental fraud.
The Itsekiri’s penchant for illegality and un-constitutionality is quite evident in their attacks and gutter words on Senator Chief (Dr.) E.K. Clark. They accuse him of having misadvised the Ijaw of Warri South-West not to register and vote 2003 when infact, INEC had accepted her failure to lawfully delineate electoral wards and constituencies which form the basis of any registration and voting, constitutionally.
Besides being fraudulent, illegal and un-constitutional, the Itsekiri blackmailed, killed and massacred Ijaw to acquire their political powers and they are again blackmailing and killing Ijaw to exercise same powers of authority. The Itsekiri do have at their beck doing their biddings a combined Military Task Force captioned "Operation Restore Hope" which has been into extra-judicial executions and is ready to launch terror attacks on the Ijaw, anytime
This was evident in their aerial shooting assistance given the Itsekiri
militia when they attacked/invaded Ijaw communities along the
THE ITSEKIRI ACTING IN FURTHERANCE OF DORE NUMA’S RULE UNDER
COLONIALISM IN THE REPUBLICAN
"He (Dore) is Olu or King of Warri. So way back in 1921 (this was a time in the interregnum in Itsekiri land) the colonial court acknowledged the title of Olu of Warri". (A history of Warri by J.O.S. Ayomike, page 84). The Olu and the Itsekiri had better belong to colonialism.
In furtherance of Dore Numa’s ignominious roles as an un-crowned Olu (gofune) and to maintain the statusquo of an alleged Olu!s superiority, the Itsekiri Leaders, on the Advertorial, have equally stated:
"The search for traditional, indigenous local mode of governance in the
country is not new, it began under the colonial rule after
The Itsekiri also stated:
"….. the local councils were subordinate to and not independent of, the Warri Divisional Council. In all the local councils including the Warri Urban District Council and the Divisional Council, the traditional members were all subordinate chiefs of the Olu of Warri who was president of both the Divisional Council and the Warri Urban District Council"[The Itsekiri never fought any war against the Ijaw conquered them before the advent of colonial rule and the Olu!s presidency]
It should be realised that all the chiefs and the then un-crowned
Olu (gofune) of
Warri were all warranted and classified by the Colonial Imperial
Masters. The un-crowned Olu (gofune) was the president perhaps, because unlike the Ijaw, the Itsekiri cap
in hand sought, applied and begged for colonial protection as evident in
their treaty with the British who instead, sought and applied to offer
the Ijaw protection in Warri. The Itsekiri were facilitators and indeed
agents of colonial administration in
From the Advertorial Publication, the followings are also notable and deducible:
1. During the 88 year interregnum in Itsekiri Kingship (1848 - 1936) and under the colonial rule up till 1960, the chiefs and Olu of Warri otherwise called Governors-In-Council, were all appointees of the Colonial Masters pursuant to the British Indirect Rule System that was then operational.
2. Itsekiri Local Councils and Ijaw Local Councils, were all created and made equally subordinate to Warri Divisional Council which was an instrument of colonialism. This was in order "To bring local government close to the Communities, be Ijaw or Itsekiri, which were remote from the main Divisional Headquarters, in Warri"
3. Against necessities of the 43 year old Nigerian Independence and well against the nascent Nigeria Democracy, the Itsekiri, in defect, are still positing "the Itsekiri will resist any action of government". Consequently, in Warri the Itsekiri are fighting against lawful and constitutional delimitation of electoral wards/constituencies, creation of Local Government Councils, mini-councils or even Development Committee or Authority.
NOTE: Acting in furtherance of Dore Numa!s Rule during the British Indirect Rule System under Colonialism, the Itsekiri are presently into Internal Neo-Colonialism in the Republican Independence, Nigeria.
THE WARRI HOMELAND QUESTION AND THE EXCLUSION CLAUSE
The Ijaw local councils and their warrant chiefs could and or could not be made subordinate to the prescribed authority exercised over Warri Division that was ruled indirectly by the British Colonial Masters. The subordination was subjective. At least, it was subject to exclusion. In the advertorial words of the Itsekiri:
"In recognition of the fact that Itsekiri traditions and customs are different from Ijaw ones the Chiefs Law, Cap 19 excluded Egbema, Gbaramatu and Ogbe-Ijaw Local Councils from the spheres of authority of the Olu of Warri as a prescribed Authority for Warri Division".
From the aforementioned, it followed, local councils were tied to traditions and customs.
Between the Itsekiri Local Councils and the Ijaw Local Councils the traditions and customs that obtain are different; Itsekiri on the one hand and Ijaw on the other hand. There was exclusion.
Accordingly, Itsekiri homeland was on the basis of the Itsekiri traditions and customs already identified to the Itsekiri Local Councils alone. Itsekiri homeland cannot therefore extend to areas where Itsekiri traditions and customs do not obtain.
Observably, the said prescribed authority of the interregnum
Olu of the colonial
fame, was not a traditional or monarchical
authority of the Itsekiri. The Olu (gofune) of Warri was not crowned by the Itsekiri. The prescribed authority
was radically similar to the authority vested on Col.
Yeri who an Ijaw was in 1990/1991 appointed
as the Military Administrator of the defunct
The State authority then exercised by the Governor-in-council (Olu) and the Military Governor (Administrator) could not have genuinely transformed any area of state authority into homeland of the Governor’s ethnic nationality, Itsekiri or Ijaw.
LOCATING THE ORIGIN OF WARRI CRISIS: THE ITSEKIRI SAGACITY
Was it even the place of the Colonial Masters to create homeland for any indigenes?
Warri crisis seemed to have started when irrespective of the Ijaw traditions and customs recognised of the Ijaw Local Councils, the Itsekiri in error, still claimed Warri Divisional Council as exclusive Itsekiri homeland and or Itsekiri ethnic based Council as follows:
"Divisional Boundaries settlement vide WRLN 176 of 1955 (i.e. Western Region Local Government Law, 1952; No. 1 of 1953) created the Warri Divisional Council for Itsekiri and meticulously marked out the administrative Divisions on the basis of Homelands, bearing clearly the implication that each ethnic nationality was tied to its land in legal, historical, political, economic, social, spiritual/religious terms." (Underling is ours).
From the aforementioned, it followed that Warri Divisional Council was meant to be a colonial administrative Division
Having acknowledged and duly recognised Ijaw local councils to the Ijaw traditions and customs in the Warri Division, to again consider Warri Divisional Council as Itsekiri homeland and or Itsekiri ethnic based Divisional Council, was most unthinkable.
The Itsekiri in their vaulting ambition would unfortunately want their post-interregnum Olu to assume, exercise and wield powers and authority of the interregnum un-crowned Olu (gofune) of the colonial fame.This could be responsible for the wrongful change of title from Olu of Itsekiri to Olu of Warri (interregnum, un-crowned and colonial gofune) and hence, the Warri crisis.
The Ijaw case from the original Warri Crisis has been that any post 1952 Olu such as the present Olu cannot go by the title, power and authority of the interregnum, un-crowned and colonial "gofune" Olus such as Diarre, Chanomi, Nanna Olomu and Dore Numa who un-doubtedly, were all Itsekiri agents of colonialism.
OBSERVATIONS AND DEDUCTIONS BASED ON ITSEKIRI PERCEPTIONS OF THE HOMELAND-QUESTION
A cursory study of the above Itsekiri Advertorial in effect would readily show the followings:
A. That homeland was tied to ethnic nationality (Homogeneity)
B. That Ethnic Nationality was tied to land, in legal, historical, political, economic, social, spiritual/religious terms
C. That local council was tied to traditions and customs [Homogeneity]
Since Homeland relates to ethnic Nationality in terms of elements of traditions and customs and since Ethnic Nationality relates to local councils in terms of traditions and customs then Homeland must relate to local councils in terms of traditions, customs and their elements. In order words,
(a) The indices of ethnic nationality in legal, historical, political, economic, social, spiritual/religious terms are mere elements of traditions and customs which ultimately form the basis of creation of the local councils.
(b) The Local Councils were "to bring local governance (of the Administrative Division) close to the communities, be they Ijaw or Itsekiri, which were remote from the main Divisional Headquarters in Warri" of the Warri Divisional Council.
(c) Ethnicity was a criterion for the creation of the Warri Local Councils. There could be such other criteria as population strength, contiguity, viability etc.
Note: When ethnicity and Warri Local Councils both in common depended on traditions, customs and their elements, it could not be correct and or right for the Itsekiri to state that "ethnicity was not the criterion for the creation of these Local Councils"
Considering the existing different (Ijaw and Itsekiri) traditions and customs, which determined the creation of the Local Councils composing the Warri Divisional Council, it is equally a wrongful perception to consider Warri Divisional Council as Itsekiri homeland in exclusion. It is also wrong to perceive of Warri South-West, Warri North and Warri South as having been created based on Itsekiri ethnicity relating to only Itsekiri homeland. Not only wrong, it is also double-standard to think there can be Itsekiri ethnic based Warri LGAs and turns around to think there cannot be Ijaw ethnic based Warri LGAs which meet all pre-requisite constitutional requirements This must be an expansionist tendency of a people i.e. the Itsekiri.
Where the federating units i.e. local councils were of diverse ethnic bases then the federation, which in this case was the Warri Divisional Council, could only be of multi-ethnic basis.
the Independent Nigeria was originally handed over to Dr.
Nnamdi Azikwe as
president did not make
WARRI DIVISION: THE ORIGINAL STATUTORY RECORDS AND WARRI IJAW HOMELANDS
Warri Divisional Council comprised of both Itsekiri and Ijaw homelands as per Western Region Law of Nigeria (W.R.L.N) 176 of 1955. W.R.L.N 176 of 1955 an Act of State law during the colonial rule recognised Itsekiri Local Councils, hence the Itsekiri homeland. W.R.L.N 176 of 1955 and other original statutory records on Warri Divisional Council equally recognised exclusive Ijaw Local Councils, hence inevitably the Warri Ijaw homeland. Itsekiri local councils as well as Ijaw local councils none superior to the others were all equally subordinate to Warri Division, which was an instrument of colonialism. Single Ethnicity was not the criterion for the creation of the larger Warri Divisional Council.
WARRI DIVISION AND THE EXCLUSION CLAUSE
"As per W.R.L.N. 176 of 1955", Warri Divisional Council comprised of seven (7) Local Councils out of which three (3) in exclusion belonged to the Ijaw, four (4) to the Itsekiri namely: Gbaramatu Local Council, Ogbe - Ijoh Local Council, Egbema Local Council (Ijaw), Gborodo (Sic Ugborodo) Local Council, Benin River Local Council, Ode- Itsekiri Local Council and Koko Local Council (Iteskiri).
"The laws of the Western Region of Nigeria, Chief law of 1959 cap 19 and the laws of Bendel State of Nigeria 1976 cap 37 excluded the three Ijaw clans / Councils of Ogbe - Ijoh and Isaba, Gbaramatu and Egbema from the over-lordship or jurisdiction of the Olu" (report by Prof. V. F. Peretomode in Appendix 1, Page 137 of the book titled Conflict and Instability in the Niger Delta; The Warri Case by T. A. Imobighe, Celestine O. Bassey, Judith Burdin Asuni).
The alleged Itsekiri homeland was by a State Act of Law which then was an instrument under colonialism. By same instrument under colonialism and by other State Acts of Law, the Ijaw were equally guaranteed exclusive Ijaw Local Councils which must be Warri Ijaw homelands.
WARRI IJAW HOMELANDS (HISTORICAL AND INTELLIGENCE REPORTS ON PRE-PRINCE GINUWA ERA OF THE ITSEKIRI)
The Ijaw of Warri hail from the Warri Ijaw homelands of
Gbaramatu Clan kingdom,
Ogbe-Ijoh Clan kingdom,
Diebiri Clan kingdom,
Isaba Clan kingdom and
1. "There is a tantalizing hint that the Warri people were originally Ijos’ (A short history of West Africa book one by J. A. Osae and N. Nwabara, 1968 page 148).
2. "Prior to the advent of Bini Prince
Ginuwa, the territory now known as the
3. In the Southern Nigeria Civil Service list and handbook of 1910 at
page 128, the following passage is stated: "The natives of Warri
We understand Prince William Moore, Prof. Alan Ryder, F. P.
Lynch, J. A. Osai,
It is a monumental fraud for the Itsekiri to perceive of
Warri Division in totality as their exclusive homeland based
paid Advert in the Vanguard
"Warri Division… was later created as Itsekiri homeland in 1952, as per W.R.L.N. 176 of 1955 during which Divisional Councils were created for all ethnic nationalities in Western Nigeria" (Is this not funny?, was Warri Division ever created as Itsekiri homeland?, Is this a deliberate attempt to re-live colonialism in the present Republican Independent Nigerian State?)
In their fraudulent perception of colonial instruments aforementioned and such others as "Olu of Warri", Land Treaties and Court Judgements originating mostly from Chief Dore Numa’s era [CHARACTERISED BY MIS-CARRIED JUSTICE] undermining the Nigerian Independence and Democracy, the Itsekiri have stopped INEC from carrying out lawful delimitation of electoral wards/constituencies in WARRI SOUTH WEST. Without delimitation of constituencies the Itsekiri have been rewarded and appeased like election winners. To them it is rewarding to oppose. They are again opposing a proposed creation of ethnic based[homogenous,contiguous,and viable] L.G.As for the indigenes of Warri.
NON-VIOLENT RESOLUTION OF THE WARRI CRISIS 2003
In seeking for peaceful resolution to the Warri Crisis, all Parties to the conflict need be involved and or considered, each according to its level of commitment.
MATTERS OF URGENT STATE ATTENTION
The Ijaw cannot afford to be disenfranchised and remain excluded from
the Nigeria Democracy for eight (8) consecutive years. In the words of
Ex-Senator Chief Dr. Wilberforce Chuba
Okadigbo (now of loving memory),
"we’ll defend democracy with our blood" (Sunday Champion
Non-delimitation of electoral constituencies in Warri South-West by INEC was a political problem and the subsequent Justice Alhassan Idoko Commission of Enquiry set up on the Warri Crisis with several others, was for political resolution of the political problem within the context of Rule of Law.
For peace in Warri and the Federation, the Justice Idoko recommendations be considered and duly applied by the National/State Assemblies, at least to achieve inclusion and accommodation as follows:
(a) Autonomous, homogenous, contiguous and viable ethnic based L.G.As for the indigenes of Warri
(b) Over-lordship of Olu of Itsekiri be restricted to areas of Itsekiri jurisdiction.
(c) All oil companies which operations impact on the Ijaw, Itsekiri / Urhobo should treat them on relatively equal basis - employment, empowerment, development etc.
THE WAY FORWARD:
To be able to move forward meaningfully, all hands must be on deck as follows:
(a) TO THE GOVERNMENT:
Outlaw operation Hakuri II, Operation Restore Hope, Special Marine Police and Demilitarize the Ijaw Nation, in particular and the Niger Delta Region, in general. Ensure that all citizens [Ijaw] participate in ALL general elections, and Support Reparation and do-away with Internal Neo-colonialism
(b) TO THE WARRI IJAW :
Actualization of majority democratic rule a MUST in all parts of the Ijaw Nation particularly Warri South-West, Warri South and Warri North.
(c) TO THE OIL AND GAS COMPANIES: Stop operating behind the terror of Militarization of the Ijaw Area of Warri.
(D) TO THE INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY, NATIONALAND STATE ASSEMBLIES:
· Institute an International War Crime Tribunal to try and punish all those who in one way or the other perpetrated the atrocity in Odi, Okerenkoko and the Ijaw Nation.
· Speak out against the genocide on Odi, Okerenkoko and the Ijaw Nation
· Prevent an identified person(s) or groups from enjoying international goodwill such as visits to countries who do not support the type of activities carried out in Odi, Okerenkoko and the Ijaw Nation.
· Arrest any officer or personnel who took part in Odi, Okerenkoko and the Ijaw Nation invasion whenever they visit any country that is signatory to the Geneva Convention against Genocide and Torture.
It was the studied position of FNDIC that the amiable Governor James Onanefe Ibori be provided with some more space and time to enable him take further decisions and make public statements on all the data he collated during his reconciliatory tour, thinking His Excellency Governor James Onanefe Ibori could make the difference.
Governor James Ibori has since come out with "Road Map to Peace" and FNDIC and the Ijaw are in support pursuant to outcomes of the late Justice Alhassan Idoko Commission of Enquiry into Warri Crisis. It is high time Governor James Ibori sponsored a State Bill on the creation of new LGAs in Warri and its environs, in the light of the "Road Map to Peace". Time is running out.
Whatever be it in the colonial era, the situation of Warri must change for better if nothing, but for the goodness of Nigeria Independence and for sharing the dividends of Nigeria Democracy with one and all citizens as co-equals.
Thank you and God bless.
HON. CHIEF (DR.)
KINGSLEY OTUARO (Esq.)
CHIEF ADVISER FNDIC
CHIEF GOVERNMENT EKPEMUPOLO
MOBILIZATION OFFICER FNDIC
CHIEF GODSPOWER GBENEKAMA
CHIEF NELSON OGELEGBANWEI