Youths in the Niger Delta region on Thursday said the posture of the Federal Government towards the Niger Delta should not be misconstrued to mean that President Muhammadu Buhari and Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Chief Godswill Akpabio are against Substantive Board for the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).
The youths also said that decisions on ongoing forensic audit and appointment of a sole administrator for the Commission are in line with transparency, accountability and new standards.
‘’The appointment of Effiong Akwa as the head of the agency and the decision to delay the substantive board until the completion of the forensic audit ordered by President Buhari should be seen in the same light’’.
Speaking to journalists shortly after a closed-door meeting of prominent Niger Delta youth groups in Port Harcourt, Chairman of Niger Delta Youths Forum (NDYF), Dr. Amos Idahosa, said the NDDC forensic audit was being blown out of proportion by the same people who had done much damage to the region.
‘’We agree with the rights to pressure the system but we do not agree with the method of some of our associates’’
They described some youths in the region as political jobbers who have lost their relevance under the new dispensation and are ready to do anything to rubbish President Muhammadu Buhari and Senator Godswill Akpabio.
‘’We need to salvage them from the thralldom of intolerance, which stems from ignorance. They should sheathe their swords’’
The leaders of youth organizations in the region noted that the region’s development is being hindered by the activities of some youths.
‘’Anybody who harbours the belief that some youths in the region are interested in the development of the region is dead from the neck up. The recent action of some youths is not good for business. It is capable of discouraging foreign investments’’
The Niger Delta youths also condemned the arrogant posture of some politicians.
‘’The Niger Delta youths are aware of the value of the forensic audit and the influence of the sole administrator in improving the general standards of the region. Some youths in the region are opposing Buhari, Akpabio and Akwa in order that we might continue to remain underdeveloped’’
They hailed President Buhari for strategizing on how to get bad eggs out of the system, strengthening the Commission, establishing new framework and enthroning good and focused leadership.
They also commended Akpabio for moving the region from a state of doldrums, stepping up development and managing the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs honestly and effectively for the benefit of the public.
The Niger Delta youths scolded some young boys in the region for creating unhealthy atmosphere for the activities of local and foreign investors
President Muhammadu Buhari had, in January 2019, ordered a forensic audit of the operations of the NDDC from 2001 to 2019.
Yesterday afternoon I had the distinct honor and pleasure of having a very productive and important meeting with the National Chairman of the APC, Governor Mai Buni of Yobe state and Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi state.
We discussed the state of the nation, pressing national issues, party politics and the way forward.
These meetings are wide-ranging and ongoing and I am delighted to be involved in them.
Despite the obvious benefits and wisdom in this noble initiative it amazes me that some people should feel that it is wrong for me to sit with other leaders in the country to discuss issues which touch and concern the national cohesion, future and stability of our country.
This is a time in which we must set all our differences aside, build bridges and come together as one lest our country drifts into fratricidal butchery and civil war.
It is right and proper for us to talk and to attempt to join hands across political, religious and regional lines to save Nigeria.
I can and will never compromise or jettison my core fundamental principles for any reason and I stand firmly on my honestly held opinion that we need to enthrone equity, justice and fairness in this country for it to survive.
I also believe in restructuring the country and in a vigorous and effective fight against terrorism.
The fact that I am in talks with leaders from a cross section of political parties, including the ruling party, does not in any way derogate from this and does not mean that I will ever change those views.
The next few months will be critical in terms of whether or not our country will survive as one and I believe that if we want it to do so dialogue, building bridges and collaboration, even with those that you may disagree
with on some issues, is vital and inevitable.
That was the purpose of our meeting. Permit me to add the following for the record. I will always stand for justice and I will never cease to oppose evil.
Yet the greatest evil that we are confronted with today is the prospect of a second civil war.
Despite our differences, as leaders and statesmen, we must all sheath our swords and ensure that we never go down that path.
· Commend Sylva for creating 35,000 Jobs in Bayelsa State
Some prominent leaders in the Niger Delta region on Monday urged Nigerians to encourage the government of President Muhammadu Buhari in its efforts to create jobs, develop the oil rich Niger Delta region and tackle youth unemployment in the country.
The eminent leaders also praised President Buhari for his resolve to make the lives of all Nigerians better.
In a statement in Yenagoa, capital of Bayelsa State, the leaders praised the Minister of State for Petroleum Resources, Chief Timipre Sylva for going the extra mile, using his good office to pursue the Niger Delta cause and helping the business image of Nigeria in the international scene.
‘’Certainly, Chief Timipre Sylva has further shown that his politics is driven by character, integrity and development’’ the leaders said.
They emphasized the country’s vast endowments, revenue generation, supports for gas based industries and import substitution for methanol needs of the nation.
The leaders also emphasized Sylva’s approach to the development of the oil and gas sector, foreign direct investment, economic diversification, zero gas flaring and community development
Signed by the Chairman of the Niger Delta People’s Movement (NDPM), Mrs. Ibifuro Thompson Tatua, the leaders commended the management of the Nigerian Content Development and Monitoring Board (NCDMB), the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and DSV Engineering for the growth of the nation’s economy.
They pointed out that the signing of the Final Investment Decision (FIB) for the construction of 10,000 tonnes/day methanol production plant by the Brass Fertilizer and Petrochemical Company LTD (BFPCL, committing equity investment of US$670m was well timed.
The construction phase is expected to create 30,000 direct and indirect jobs and additional 5,000 permanent jobs during the operations phase.
The leaders described the FID, the Gas Supply Purchase Agreement (GSPA) with the Shell Petroleum Development Company (SPDC) led joint venture, off-take agreements and contracts for Engineering Procurement Construction and Technology Provider as another benchmark in the history of Nigeria.
‘’It is a good development that is capable of yielding a beneficial outcome’’ the leaders said.
The statement said the Niger Delta leaders would continue to pray for the success of the President Muhammadu led All Progressives Congress (APC) administration.
President Buhari in July, 2020 approved the development of the Brass Gas Company with the sole aim of aggregating and monetizing all stranded gas in the Brass area.
Notable women in the South-West on Tuesday scolded the leader of the Indigenous people of BiafraI (POD), Mr. Nnamdi Kanu for creating enmity and cutting a bad image for the South-East.
‘’We feel very sorry for the people who listen to the sermons of the mischief maker and the voice of disunity, Mr. Nnamdi Kanu’’ the women said.
Expressing concern over the potential implications of statements credited to the IPOD leader, the women condemned Kanu for his parochial reasoning and hatred for Hausa-Fulani.
‘’The statements portray Nnamdi Kanu as one who is ignorant of the police hierarchy in Nigeria. As it concerns Oyo State and the directives of the Inspector General of Police, we feel very strongly, that it is very wrong for Kanu to urge the CP to flout the orders of the IGP’’.
In a three-page statement issued in Akure, the women harped on the need for unity and mutual understanding within the South-West.
Signed by the Chairperson of Yoruba Women in Government (YWIG), Chief Fumilayo Adesanwo, the women poured encomiums on Mrs. Ngozi Onadeko.
They underscored the IGP’s focused and purposeful leadership, the CP’s academic and professional credentials and her vision to set a record in Oyo State’s security history.
The women also emphasized Onadeko’s demonstrable competence, discipline, loyalty and integrity.
Part of the statement reads’’ Another round of ethnic feuding in Oyo State started last week. One Sunday Adeyemo, well known as Sunday Igboho, alongside his followers stormed the Fulani settlement in Igangan, Ibarapa to eject Seriki Fulani, Salihu Abdukadir’’
This antagonistic position towards Fulani can hardly be described as the best thing to do.
It is very obvious that this action appeared not to have gone down well with Nigerians.
However, the order by the Inspector General of Police that Sunday Igboho should be arrested came as a joy to many.
But much ado has been created over the reported order to the Oyo State Commissioner of Police, Mrs. Ngozi Onadeko, to arrest Sunday Igboho.
Indeed, some Nigerians in Diaspora have attempted to denigrate the Inspector General of Police for directing the Oyo State Police Command to arrest Igboho.
For sure, the good people of Oyo State have every obligation to fight crimes ranging from kidnapping, killings, rape to invasion of farmlands at all cost but without promoting anarchy,
Forcefulness, dissent, general bad manners and unruly behavior should not be encouraged in a decent society.
Nigerians should disregard the various lies being peddled by the self-acclaimed Igbo leader against the Inspector General of Police and the Oyo State Commissioner of Police. There is no plan to stop the agenda of the people of the South-West. There is no plan to ferments enmity between the South-East and the South-West.
We commend the Police for doing what they are statutorily assigned to do.
We urge the Oyo State Police Commissioner not to succumb to the propaganda and blackmail daily oozing out of the mouths of some enemies of Nigeria.
We urge the Oyo State Commissioner of Police to ignore calls by the self-acclaimed Igbo leader in Diaspora to resign from office.
It was reassuring to see how thoughtfully the Inspector General of Police responded to the incident.
The police must go the whole hog to put a stop to the acts of lawlessness of some people in the country.
We commend Governor Seyi Makinde for being responsible and responsive to the needs of all.
We urge him to continue to support the police and other security agencies.
We also commend President Muhammadu Buhari for showing that lawlessness and brigandage are alien to our culture
We call on Oyo youths to extend to Hausa/Fulani in the state a hand of fellowship, friendship and brotherhood so that together, they could position the state for economic growth.
We call on the President General of Ohaneze Ndigbo, Prof George Obiozor to call this Igbo self-acclaimed leader in Diaspora to order
Security of life and property is so fundamental. We urge the police to discharge their duties to the government and heroic people of Oyo State and Nigeria.
Lastly, we appeal for professionalism, restraints and understanding on the part of Igbo and Yoruba youths.
2023 Polls: Okpe leaders give condition to Governorship Aspirants
· List expectations from Buhari, Okowa, others
· Decry imbalance in polity
· Task Delta State Government on Sapele Polytechnic
· Call for All Okpe Summit
Prominent Okpe leaders on Wednesday expressed disappointment that politicians in Delta State seem to be interested in the political zoning rather than the performance of the people they elected.
They said that anyone who feels that he wants to be governor of Delta State in 2023 must react to the Okpe question and issue.
‘’The Okpe Union is prepared to lend its voice and support to policies that will address the developmental challenges of the state. Ultimately, looking into the future of leadership in the state, the Okpe Union shall be open to supporting such personalities with leadership qualities and credentials that will ensure the stability and overall equitable development of the entire state’’.
In an end of year message of the Okpe Union National Executive Council, the leaders asked the Federal Government to institute structures and processes which enhance equitable involvement and participation in the affairs of the country by the component parts.
‘’We call on the federal government and Stakeholders of the Nigerian federation to take the issue of restructuring and devolution of more governmental powers to the federating units of the country seriously. We believe that it is with a restructured Nigerian federation that the current myriads of problems bedeviling the country like security and economic development issues can be resolved for progress. We also call on the federal government to revisit the issue of the Sapele Port which is the only freshwater harbour in Nigeria and therefore attractive to vessel owners the world over’’
Signed by Mr. Patrick Akpotor, President General, Barrister Kingsley Akpederin, General Secretary and Mrs. Atarhe Abuh,
National Publicity Secretary, the leaders advised Orhue 1, Orodje of Okpe Kingdom to use his wealth of experience and connections to help Delta State in general and Okpe kingdom in particular.
‘’The National Executive Council notes the fatherly advice the Okpe Union has enjoyed from the Orodje of Okpe Kingdom since the restoration of the Okpe monarchy in 1945. We thank our Orodje of Okpe, Orhue I, for his leadership and support for the national leadership of the Okpe Union led by Mr. Patrick Akpotor. As an advisory body to the Udogun Okpe which is headed by the Orodje of Okpe, the Okpe Union will continue to avail its services to the revered Okpe institution as it grapples with challenges of Okpe unity and development. In this regard, the Okpe Union looks forward to active participation in the community of ethnic nationalities in Delta State and in Nigeria as a strong voice of the Okpe Nation in collaboration with the Orodje of Okpe Kingdom vis-a-vis the articulation of the Okpe identity, development and the restoration of all aspects of Okpe heritage’’.
They stated that the 2020 National Conference/General Assembly and the setting up of an Electoral Committee to organise elections into the National Executive Council of the union in the early part of next year 2021 remained glorious achievements of the union.
‘’2020 has been a turbulent one in several regards especially from the consequences of the corona virus (COVID 19) which ended up affecting the implementation of some of the programmes that the national leadership of the Union earmarked for the outgoing year. We are however relieved that the Union succeeded in holding its 2020 National Conference/General Assembly which has set in motion a transition template by setting up an Electoral Committee to organise elections into the National Executive Council of the union in the early part of next year 2021 as well as a Constitutional Review Committee which is saddled with the responsibility of bringing the Okpe Union Constitution up to date with modern realities and developments’’.
The leaders reiterated that the stability of the union depended on a good working relationship between the headquarters and the branches.
‘’We thank the leadership of branches and members for standing by and supporting the current leadership by making the erstwhile Acting President General, Mr. Patrick Akpotor the substantive President General as well as extending the tenure of the outgoing National Executive Council by five months to avoid a leadership vacuum and enable the Electoral Committee to conduct credible national elections. The National leadership promises to complete the implementation of the various resolutions of the last General Assembly of the Union which held on the 14th of November, 2020 and to uphold the provisions of the Okpe Union Constitution. We are particularly relieved with the adoption of a resolution by the last General Assembly of the Union enabling the National Executive Council as well as committees of the Okpe Union to hold meetings by employing reliable social media like WhatsApp and Zoom for meetings. This has now made it safer, less expensive and more convenient for meetings to be held to address challenges of the Okpe Union and of the Okpe Nation from time to time’’.
They harped on the need for continuous unity of the Okpe Union.
‘’The Okpe Union is the oldest ethnic union of Delta State, Nigeria. In the union over ninety years of existence, it has run its affairs as an autonomous registered organization. We enjoin all branches to remain steadfast and uphold the constitution of the Okpe Union and its traditions that have been handed over to us by the founding fathers of the Union’’
The leaders said the founding fathers of the Okpe Union held the Okpe Nation together along with the Chief Ayomanor Evwida led Udogun Okpe and initiated the process for the resuscitation of the Okpe monarchy by installing Esezi II in 1945.
‘’It is with unity that the Okpe Union established scholarship schemes during the colonial era to train Okpe sons overseas as well as to achieve several collective land mark legal victories of the past. This vision of unity and cohesion amongst members of the Okpe Union handed to us by our founding fathers must be upheld to enable us consolidate on the several successes of the past. The Okpe Union is an organisation registered with the federal government since the early colonial times with its constitution, and with registered branches and members. The Okpe Union can only be governed by compliance with its constitution’’.
They said Okpe Union had played great roles in the development of the Niger Delta region.
‘’The Okpe Union is one of the oldest ethnic Unions in Nigeria and the oldest registered one of Delta State. It was registered with the Colonial Government of Nigeria on the 13th of December, 1934, after it officially took off on the 16th of May, 1930. Our founding fathers envisioned creating a platform to be a formidable voice for the Okpe people as well as mobilise the people of the Delta region to collaborate for the Development of the area. The Okpe Union has therefore worked with other ethnic Unions which were later created to ensure stability of the region. We therefore hope to continue partnering with the Delta State government, the Nigerian federal government and developmental agencies at both the Federal, Regional and State levels to achieve peace and development for the country, the region and the state’’.
Assessing Okpe kingdom’s journey in phases, the leaders stated that the union has taken a leadership role in drawing attention to the abandoned Sapele Polytechnic project.
‘’We also reiterate our earlier call to the Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa led administration of Delta State to look into the abandoned project for the establishment of the only higher institution of Okpeland, the Sapele Polytechnic project in Elume’’.
The leaders lamented the deplorable nature of roads in the kingdom and called on the authorities to see that something was done to save the situation which the rainy season complicated
‘’It is also regrettable that many of the link roads for Okpe towns and villages are still in earth road state despite the huge contributions in terms of oil and gas mineral resources in revenue generation to the federal and state governments. Both the NDDC and DESOPADEC hardly think of the rural communities of Okpeland’’ the leaders said.
They stated that the main challenge before the kingdom was the lack of synergy between the political leadership of the two local government areas of Okpeland which are Sapele and Okpe Local Government Areas.
‘’It is the desire of the national leadership of the Okpe Union to organise an Okpe Development Summit to coincide with the celebration of the founding of the Okpe Union 91 (ninety one) years ago. It has been observed that there is hardly any synergy between the political leadership of the two local government areas of Okpeland which are Sapele and Okpe Local Government Areas. Some of the over a century old road networks in Okpeland for example crisscross these two local governments. Despite the existence of link roads, moving from Sapele Council Area to the Okpe Council Area can be herculean because of their poor state. It is therefore important for the Okpe Nation to have a development summit which will bring together all Stakeholders of the Okpe Nation to brainstorm on how best to make our land achieve social and infrastructural development’’.
The leaders described Okpe language as distinct.
‘’The Okpe language is a distinct language recognised by Ethnologue which is the international body that recognises and registers distinct languages the world over. The Okpe language is the only language indigenous to Sapele and Okpe Local Government Areas of Delta State. Unfortunately, the Okpe language has deteriorated in official recognition from a government officially utilised newscast language in Bendel State times to one which has been abandoned by the Delta State Government. It is currently not a subject in the schools of Okpeland despite the mother tongue policy that it is the language of the place that is to be taught in the schools. The Okpe Union calls on all Stakeholders to join hands to rescue the Okpe language from going into extinction as the pressures hindering its development increase further. We hope that in the year 2021 and beyond, we shall all bring to the table our ideas and proposals for an action plan to save the Okpe language. We are glad to reveal to all Okpes that our traditional leader, Orhue I, the Orodje of Okpe is at the forefront of these efforts to save the Okpe language’’.
They urged the people of the state to come together and work for the progress of the state.
‘’As the year 2020 comes to an end, we wish all Okpe people, and the people of Delta State and Nigeria, a prosperous new year 2021.
We remind all Okpe people throughout the world that the Okpe Nation is a unique one in Delta State. It is the ethnic nation that is most connected to the other ethnic groups in the state. The connection of the Okpe people to the other ethnicities in Delta State is highest both in terms of ancestry and history of migration as well as intermarriage. The Okpe people are therefore expected to be a force to unify the various peoples of our Delta State. We therefore enjoin all our people to always present themselves as peace builders. Our people must close ranks with the other ethnic nationalities and help our Delta State achieve its development potentials in the modern era’’.
Niger Delta leaders restate support for Buhari, Akpabio
Leaders of the Niger Delta region on Wednesday described the appointment of sole administrator in the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC) as legal and ethical.
They also described the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio as a pride to Nigeria.
‘’We are determined to support the current effort of President Muhammadu Buhari, the Minister of the Niger Delta Affairs, Senator Godswill Akpabio and the Sole Administrator of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), Mr Effiong Okon Akwa to sanitize the Commission and effectively develop the oil rich region’’ the leaders said on Wednesday.
In a statement in Port-Harcourt, the leaders commended President Buhari for his commitment to assisting and dealing with challenges in the Niger Delta region.
Signed by the Chairman, South-South Front (SSF), Chief John Harry, the regional leaders condemned the orchestrated attack on the person and leadership of Senator Akpabio by some misguided individuals and their backers.
They praised Akpabio for sticking to the administration’s policy of transparency and accountability, promoting the best interests of the Niger Delta people and initiating the first-ever comprehensive reform of the NDDC.
The leaders expressed disappointment that some elders, politicians and youths in the region seem to be interested in board appointment rather than the performance of the Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs.
‘’Some governors, elders and federal lawmakers in the region are not focused as we think they should on the level of development in the region. We should not quantify development of the region in terms of board appointment but in broad terms. We have to think about completed and on-going projects’’ the leaders said.
They described the calls for Akwa’s removal as puerile.
‘’As notable leaders, we are concerned with the unity and transformation of the region. We are very proud of Senator Godswill Akpabio. He has given good account of himself in politics and public life” the leaders added
High-ranking federal government functionaries, prominent traditional rulers, professionals and leaders of political parties in Nigeria are expected in Aghalokpe, Delta State on Friday, April 9, 2021.
The 70th Anniversary Celebration of St Peter Claver’s College, Aghalokpe is billed for April 9 and 10, 2021.
According to a statement by the Chairman of the 70th Anniversary Organizing Committee, Chief Kingsley Omokri, there will be Mass at the College Chapel, inspection of college premises and distribution of anniversary crested books to students of SPCC, Aghalokpe and pupils of SPCC Nursery and Primary School on Friday, April 9, 2021.
Major programmes at the gathering, Chief Omokri said, include the commissioning of renovated projects by old students, anniversary lecture, award ceremony for those that have distinguished themselves and launching of a book titled ; SPCC Aghalokpe: The Hidden Pearl of the Ethiope.
‘’There will be free medical service for the natives of Aghalokpe, Aragba, Oviri, Ekpan, Okpara-Waterside and Igun on Saturday, April 10, 2021’’ the statement said.
.’’A novelty football match between Old Boys Association of St Peter Claver’s College, Aghalokpe and Old Boys Association of Urhobo College will take place on Saturday, April 10, 2021’’ the statement added.
Founded in 1950 as the fourth secondary school in Warri Province (later renamed Delta Province in 1952), St Peter Claver’s College was the first secondary school in Sapele.
Its proprietor, His Lordship P. J. Kelly, Catholic Bishop of Benin Diocese which included Warri/Delta Province during British Colonial Times, envisaged St Peter Claver’s College as the equivalent of St Patrick’s College, Asaba, for the Catholic Community in Warri Province.
SPCC moved from Sapele to Aghalokpe in 1953.
· FOREIGN JOURNALISTS
· INTERNATIONAL MEDIA CORRESPONDENTS BASED IN NIGERIA
· NIGERIAN JOURNALISTS (Publishers, Editors, Correspondents and Reporters)
I welcome you all delegates from various branches and affiliates as well as the members of the Okpe National Executive Council to this year’s 2020 Annual National Conference of the Okpe Union. The last Annual Conference of the Union held in 2018. That of 2019 could not hold due to some unfortunate circumstances that we could not handle efficiently. We are grateful to God and to all those who have been steadfast in ensuring the continuous functioning of the Union despite several difficulties in the course of this year 2020.
2 Brief Surgeon into the History of the Okpe Union.
The Union was founded by our forefathers officially in 1930. It was registered with the Colonial Government of Nigeria in 1934 under the Land(Perpetual Succession) Ordinance No. 22 of 1924. We celebrate our founders’ day 16th May of every year. The Union which started in Lagos, has grown to several towns, cities and countries of the world. At a point especially between the 1970s and the 1980s, the union could boast of no less than sixty branches. Though there has been a drawback in its growth in recent decades, we have started experiencing some revival of the Union due to increase in communication from especially new media as well as the dedication to duty of the current leadership. We hope that with the growing interest amongst our youths in the affairs of the Okpe Union, we shall achieve a turnaround for our Union.
In 2016, we agreed to relocate the Okpe Union National Headquarters to Orerokpe. The past four years have indeed been remarkable in the affairs of the Okpe Union as it is the first time that we have experienced a National Executive Council whose members are elected from the various branches in the country. The efforts to implement the relocation of the headquarters is still ongoing as the legal procedure to accomplish it is still a work in progress. The registered office of the Union is still the Okpe House, No. 65 Moshalashi Street, Obalende, Lagos. It is our sincere wish that with unity, a befitting edifice will be built in Okpe Kingdom in Delta State that will house the National Headquarters of the Union.
The Okpe Union at Ninety Years Anniversary
It is regrettable that as our union, the Okpe Union marked its ninety years anniversary this year 2020, circumstances beyond our control especially the incidence of the global pandemic, COVID 19 did not enable us to have the elaborate celebrations that we had planned. We hope that next year 2021 when the Okpe Union shall be 91, we shall have the intended celebration.
Current Challenges of the Union
The Okpe Union has several challenges at the moment. The Union is experiencing challenges of reforming it from the age long analogue ways of doing things to that of the digital information technology era of smooth interaction and communication. In today’s reality for example, it is no longer necessary for decision making process to be by physically travelling hundreds or thousands of kilometres to meet. With contemporary communication technology, members of executive and committees of organisations are able to meet in secure platforms like WhatsApp, Zoom, Skype and many others without the risks, inconveniences and expenses that physical meetings entail. Delegates in this National Conference are therefore called upon to fashion out a way of breaking from the analogue past through resolutions and constitutional amendment to put the Union on the part of progress consistent with modern realities. In the same vein, sections or articles of the constitution relating to notices of National Executive Council meetings, national conferences/meetings and such others should be reviewed accordingly to enable electronic transmission and modern media as communication means. We should also consider the possibility of voting through similar means as the reality for example of COVID19 has made this necessary.
Secondly, the Okpe Union has the challenge of funding. The Union must find a way of conveniently funding its activities without the current near dependence on individual members of the National Executive Council. The current subscription from branches of five thousand naira annually is a far cry from the funding requirements of the Union.
Thirdly, though I have alluded to this earlier, the constitution of the Union needs thorough reworking for it to meet the requirements of a modern ethnic union regarding administrative structure. The Union Constitutional framework must also provide for how the various people of the communities of the Okpe Kingdom can be incorporated into the Union. This is the only way that the Union can ultimately become relevant to the Okpe people generally in contemporary Nigeria and Delta State today.
One immediate challenge currently is the transition of the current National Executive Council whose tenure is constitutionally due to end by the 17th this month November, 2020. As the NEC was not able to set up an Electoral Committee for the purpose of organising elections in our last meeting of the 29th of August, 2020, this National Conference as the highest decision making organ of our union has to set it up and also determine the transition framework that will be in charge of running the Union at the national level from the 17th of November, 2020. It is also necessary that this conference fixes the date and modalities for the next elections. Let us consider the possibility of the electoral committee which we shall set up adopting on line voting for the next elections.
I must on behalf of the National Executive Council also bring to your notice the events of the 3rd of October, 2020 in which His Royal Majesty, Orhue I, the Orodje of Okpe swore in a nine member interim Committee to take over the administration of the entire Okpe Union and purportedly dissolving the elected National Executive Council. The imposed NEC is made up of two members of the Okpe Union and seven non members. The Okpe Union Constitution does not contain any provisions for such. It does not provide for any role for his Royal Majesty. As the Royal father of the Okpe Nation, we have always received advice from our Orodje. However, it is clear that our royal father by the decree of the 3rd of October, 2020, has overthrown and suspended the constitution of the Okpe Union which is a registered organisation under the Corporate Affairs Commission with its legally recognised independence. There is no law whether of the constitution, federal Act, or State law which empowers His Royal Majesty to do so. We expect this National Conference of the Okpe Union to respond to this development with all sense of responsibility so as to determine the limits of the role of our royal father in the face of the fact that the Okpe Union is a registered organisation under the Corporate Affairs Commission with its registered constitution. Allowing the overthrow of the Union is the beginning of the destabilisation and destruction of the Okpe Union which our forefathers handed over to us as independent of the Palace. We must collectively protect the respected traditional stool of the Okpe people from coming down to matters which do not fall within its legal jurisdiction. In its more than ninety years history, the Okpe Union has always had its autonomy and mechanisms of internal dispute resolutions.
Some Recent Developments in Okpeland that the Union should be abreast with.
Within the last four years, we have noticed some not pleasing developments in our dear Okpe Kingdom relating to economic development. The dwindling economic fortune of Okpeland of recent calls for urgent attention. Many companies and establishments which have accounted for the employment of our youths and teaming population have either been relocating out of Okpeland or folding up outrightly. In 2017, one of the highest employing companies in Okpeland and Delta State located in Sapele, Eternit Ltd folded up and relocated its proposed huge infrastructure installation to Emenite Ltd, Enugu for the inability of the investors of the company(which include the Delta State Government) to raise the sum of one billion naira only. Our area lost the thousands of direct and indirect jobs thereby. Similarly, Sapele City has lost the sister companies of the seaboard group. The largest of all, the African Timber and Plywood is in a sorry state now as production is hardly taking place there now despite the reported take over by the Delta State Government. The exact investment structure of the company is currently shrouded in misery. If properly structured and managed, we believe the African Timber and Plywood Company, Sapele can employ a large number of our teaming youths. The NTA Amukpe has ended its operations reportedly because of seven hundred thousand naira for equipments. Many smaller companies and enterprises have gone under too. The factors militating against the growth of smaller enterprises in Okpeland include poor power supply as well as the current activities of government backed touts who harass vehicles bringing goods to and from the area especially Sapele on the pretext of stickers and other charges. It is said that trucks from different parts of the country are scared of bringing goods to our area and many a time ask that the goods will be dropped at neighbouring cities.
Another area that is disheartening is the abandonment of the Sapele Polytechnic, Elume which the Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan’s administration approved and commenced construction. We hope that there can be a strong resolution here in this National Conference today to call on all our Okpe politicians to close ranks to project a common front to the government of Senator Ifeanyi Okowa to revisit the issue of the only higher institution proposed for Okpeland.
Also it is shocking to realise that the entire Okpe Local Government Area still does not have a bank. The bulk of the salaries of council workers, primary school teachers, the Udogun Okpe accounts, and the several towns and villages around Orerokpe are sufficient to attract a commercial bank to Orerokpe if we can get the political, traditional and trade union leadership of the area to act in concert.
To improve job creation and enhance economic activities in Okpeland, there needs to be a multi faceted approach. The power sector has to improve, the conduct of our youths has to encourage investors and the agricultural sector like palm trees, cocoa, fish breeding, livestock and the like have to be exploited. The Okpe area has comparative advantages in many of these areas and the hydra headed problems of unemployment and poverty have to be addressed from this robust perspective. I urge this confidence to table a strong resolution calling on the government of Delta State as well as the administration of the two local government councils of Okpeland to intervene in the issue of hindrances to businesses regarding free movement of goods to and from , the Okpe Kingdom which have brought down businesses enterprises and activities in the area. The Governor Ifeanyi Okowa led administration of Delta State needs to revisit the matter of the proposed Sapele Polytechnic as there is yet to be a higher institution in the two local government areas of Okpe Kingdom.
About Some National Issues in Nigeria.
Permit me to address a few issues that are of national relevance in our country Nigeria. On the recent End Sars protests nationwide, we urge both the federal and state governments of our country Nigeria to achieve synergy in ensuring that the Nigeria Police Force is restructured in such a way that guarantees the protection of lives and property of Nigerians while at the same time respecting the constitutionally guaranteed rights of Nigerians. The issue of police reforms must be taken holistically.
Of great importance to the country at large and especially to areas in the country with so much water resources is the current controversial Water Resources Bill at the National Assembly. Firstly, it is a misnomer for there to be an attempt for the central government in a federal system to make provisions for a legal framework which attempts to cover the entire field of water resources management. That can only be tolerated in a unitary system. One problem of the Nigerian governance system is that after transition from military administrations in Nigeria which are basically unitary with concentration of powers at the centre, we as a country neglected to firstly restructure the country to a federal system. The adoption of a new imposed constitution is not sufficient in getting back the country to a federal system. The existing water resources legislations have already violated the federal nature of the Nigerian system of government. Much of the contents of the controversial Water Resources Bill like control of rivers and other water bodies as well as underground water are purely within the jurisdiction of the state governments and communities of the local government councils. I urge this general assembly to pass a resolution calling on the various ethnic nationalities of Nigeria especially those of the Niger Delta to close ranks and present a common front not only to prevent the passage of the current Water Resources Bill but also to evaluate existing ones which have already violated the agreed federal principles for the governance of Nigeria at independence.
What should be immediately done by the this National Conference and Branches of the Okpe Union.
As the President General of the Okpe Union elected along with us the other members of the outgoing National Executive Council on the 17th of November 2020 Union, Chief Robert Onome, has accepted the imposition of an unelected interim Committee to take over the affairs of the Union in contravention of the constitution of the Okpe Union, this general assembly of the branches of the Union should act decisively to save the Okpe Union.
The Okpe Union constitution provides as follows:
“The Union shall not be governed nor shall any person or group of persons take control of the government of the Union or any part thereof except in accordance with the provisions of this constitution”.
The road to the disability and destruction of our union has begun if strangers to the Okpe Union are permitted to take over the union. The Okpe Union is an organisation which has membership. It is not every Okpe person that is a member of the Okpe Union. The reported interim National Executive Council by the Orodje decree of the 3rd of October, 2020 has only two members of the Okpe Union out of nine. By the provisions of the Okpe Union Constitution, such members who have permitted themselves to be part of what overthrows the Okpe Union constitution are guilty of gross misconduct. This conference is called upon to look into this too. The Okpe Union Constitution has no provisions for the role any external powers within or outside Okpe Kingdom. This National Conference must be decisive in protecting the Okpe Union.
To buttress the need to act firmly, it is important for us to understand that we have a duty to reach out to our royal father, the Orodje whenever we are not happy with any of his decisions.
Believing in the Divine rights of Kings which presupposes that kings make no mistakes and therefore cannot change their decisions at this age is not supportable. The dark notion Divine Rights of Kings has been condemned to the dustbin of the dark age. It is even a burden too heavy for monarchs as it will restrain them from correcting errors which they later realise thereby causing their societies underdevelopment. This account for the incidence of modern monarchies being transformed into limited offices. They only reign but never rule now. This explains the refusal of successive governments of Nigeria since 1976 to provide constitutional governmental roles for traditional rulers in the Nigerian constitutions.
For immediate attention is the matter of transition. I had earlier alluded to the fact that the tenure of this outgoing executive is to end in three days time which is precisely the 17th of November, 2020, this National Conference being the highest decision making organ of the Okpe Union, is duty bound to put in place a transition template which includes the setting up of an electoral committee to organise an election for a new National Executive Council of the Okpe Union. The outgoing National Executive Council could not set up the electoral committee in the last NEC meeting where this Annual National Conference date was fixed. A Union of the status of the Okpe Union worthy of its name and history cannot afford to permit a vacuum in its leadership.
Lastly, delegates need to know that all the trustees of the Okpe Union registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission have passed on. This conference is required to approve other names of prospective Board of Trustees members for subsequent registration with the Corporate Affairs Commission, Abuja.
Once again, I welcome delegates to this auspicious gathering of representatives of the Union from various branches. With unity, we shall surely realise the dreams of our forefathers who founded this Okpe ethnic organisation to protect the interests of the Okpe people.
The National Executive Council of St Peter Claver’s College, Aghalokpe Old Students Association has postponed the 70th Anniversary of the founding of the College.
The executive committee had planned to hold the 70th Anniversary in December, 2020.
At a meeting in Sapele, Delta State, the Association announced 9th, 10th and 11th April, 2021 as the new date for the 70th Anniversary Celebration
A statement by the National President of the Association, Mr. Cornelius Semiteje, said the postponement became necessary because of the global Covid-19 pandemic.
‘’We are interested in the health of old students and guests’’ the statement said.
Founded in 1950 as the forth secondary school in Warri Province (later renamed Delta Province in 1952), St Peter Claver’s College was the first secondary school in Sapele.
Its proprietor, His Lordship P. J. Kelly, Catholic Bishop of Benin Diocese which included Warri/Delta Province during British Colonial Times, envisaged St Peter Claver’s College as the equivalent of St Patrick’s College, Asaba, for the Catholic Community in Warri Province.