RE: GROUP TASKS ILOT TO SANCTION SECRETARY FOR DISREGARDING CONSTITUTION

I read, with consternation, the above write up by a group that calls itself “Aferire-O'one Socio-politcal Organization of Warri Kingdom”, calling on


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RE: GROUP TASKS ILOT TO SANCTION SECRETARY FOR DISREGARDING CONSTITUTION
Sir Amorighoye S Mene (KSM)


 

RE: GROUP TASKS ILOT TO SANCTION SECRETARY FOR DISREGARDING CONSTITUTION

RIGHT OF REPLY;

EMMANUEL OKOTIE-EBOH: THE OKOTIE-EBOH TRAUMATIZATION OF ITSEKIRI NATION, WHEN WILL IT END?

 

I read, with consternation, the above write up by a group that calls itself  Aferire-O'one Socio-politcal Organization of Warri Kingdom”, calling on the Itsekiri Leaders of Thought (ILOT) to sanction my humble self, it’s Secretary, for joining other well meaning Itsekiri sons and daughters to pay a courtesy visit on the newly appointed Management of the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC).

Aferire O’one, is   purportedly chaired by  Emmanuel Okotie-Eboh acting with Hosanna Jalogho, Alfred Apoh and Shola Amoye, in this  travesty.

In my view, these are persons  who are  in the search of personal identities and  doing whatever it takes, no matter how infamous, to gain some relevance.

 

2.   My initial attitude was not to dignify their diatribe, circulated on the social media, with a reply.  It was my feeling that I would not join issues with “Chairman  Emma-Koti” and his cohorts, by whatever name. It was not worth my while. 

To be “relevant”, they  claim to be “Princes” of Iwere Kingdom because they are members of “Ginuwa I Ruling House”. “Chairman Emma-koti”, likes to be referred to and be called the immediate past Regent of Warri Kingdom.

They have forgotten or do not know that with the coronation of Atuwatse III, as Olu,  their erstwhile “positions” and “titles” are no longer operative and any use of such are an affront to His Majesty. Perhaps they are oblivious of the Itsekiri Native Laws and Customs, in this regard .

 

3.   For their education, I am also to draw their attention to Paragraph 2 of the  " Declaration Made Under Section 8 of The Traditional Rulers and Chiefs Edict 1979, Stating The  Customary Law Regulating Succession To The Title Of Olu of Warri ”, which has been a law of Delta State.

For the avoidance of doubt,  the Olu Advisory Council, Ginuwa I Ruling House, and the Regency, all now adopted by and creation of the law, are ONLY activated on “ .. the demise of an Olu”. On the recommendation, acceptance and installation/coronation of the Olu, these offices cease to exist. They  are not referred to again!

 

Reason for Change of Attitude to Ignore

 

4.   My initial attitude to ignore the group changed, when I read the submission of our most distinguished literary Icon and Nobel Laureate, Professor  Wole Soyinka in the Vanguard Newspaper of November 10, 2023, titled "Technology creating new generations of illiterate in Nigeria", which I crave your indulgence to quote extensively from.

Professor Wole Soyinka spoke of the “new internet culture” of which we must be very careful because the “internet never forgets”. He saw in the internet, including the social media, the rise of “ .. (a) new, tyrannical, insolent, and abusive culture, the culture of sub-mental humanity in our midst, which you can give the rough name of the new internet culture, in which real creativity is being downgraded, even despised for cheap, populist, nasty, subversive, humanly subversive culture” which also include the denial of the truth.

Professor Soyinka further said this “new internet culture” is , “ (its) ..  creating new generations of the illiterate, who believe it’s up to them  that it’s sort of noble, progressive and populist to despise what I call the real meaningful culture  that improves the mind of humanity, expands our horizon, offers numerous alternatives or interpretation of phenomena, et cetera, and leads to a new construct of a genuine new being”.

 

Professor Wole Soyinka warned that “ .. now we have to watch this network-facilitated abuse of culture. I speak very specifically to my society, especially the Nigerian society, the greatest abusers of (this) kind of culture, where you have the real degradation of the real meaning of culture, facilitated by internet technology”.

 

He concluded by saying “but we must not let the barbarians get away with this new project”.

 

 5.   The above position is more than enough reason to insist on my “Right of Reply”.

 

Courtesy Call on the Management of NDDC.

 

6.   A group of Itsekiri sons and daughters met and thought it wise to call on the recently appointed Management of NDDC. We felt that while other ethnic nationalities under various titles and groups had made and were making their presence felt, Itsekiri had not been represented under any shape or form. We needed to act fast. We had a mixture of political actors across the spectrum and concerned sons and daughters of Iwereland.

The purpose of the courtesy call was to congratulate them on their appointment and to request for the completion of some 17 (seventeen) or so projects which are scattered across our homeland, some of them awarded during Obasanjo Administration in 2003!  These projects include, but are not limited to, the Koko – Ogheye - Lagos Road, Warri -Omadino -,Escravos Road,  Aladja – Ogbe Ijoh – Isaba – Ode Itsekiri Road, Koko Foreshore Protection, Ugborodo Foreshore Protection etc etc.

 

7.   I was appointed as spokesman and I introduced myself as Secretary of ILOT, my primary constituency. My choice was deliberate because those present in the delegation and in the NDDC, were aware that ILOT has been the main pressure agent crying for the completion of these almost a decade and a half and engaged them at every turn. As Secretary of ILOT and one of its longest serving members, I am acquainted with the facts relating to these projects, hence I was appointed as its spokesman.  Other members of the delegation contributed immensely to making the courtesy call happen.

 

The NDDC Management while acknowledging that we were the first Itsekiri group to visit them, thank the Itsekiri nation and promised that they will do all in their power to meet our demands.

 

8.    This is the meeting that I attended that Aferire-o'one is calling on ILOT to sanction me for. They erroneously believe that, the fact that I correctly said, in my introduction , that I am currently the Secretary of ILOT, amounted to using ILOT’s name without authorisation. In addition, they also accused me of working outside the constitution of ILOT in attending the meeting with Chief Ayiri, Prince Emiko, and other persons whom they consider “ in opposition” to them. They have tried to cast aspersions on my name and my modest achievements. They even went as far as suggesting that our esteemed Chairman of ILOT, Chief Barrister Edward Ekpoko is working against their interests.

However, in fairness, Emmanuel Okotie-Eboh and his group acknowledged what the delegation did by their visit to the NDDC when they said "the Aferire-O'one therefore commended the MD/CEO for warmly receiving the Itsekiri group like every other ethnic groups that have visited the commission and charged him to accord the Itsekiri nation their rightful dues and privileges in the award of contracts and employment"

 

Aferire- O'one's Confusion

 

9.   This acknowledgement  exposes Aferire-O'one's confusion and possible mischief. More importantly, are their interests more important than the interests of the Itsekiri ethnic nationality? Who made this motley crowd the identifiers and enforcers of Iwere interests?. Are they more Itsekiri that Chief Ayiri Emami, Prince Yemi Emiko and other Itsekiri sons and daughters in the delegation?

Have they not read the Scriptural passage where our Lord Jesus Christ said  “He who is not against me is for me”?

 The group did not work against Itsekiri interest, by the admission of Chairman Okotie-Eboh and cohorts. So what, then, is the quarrel of Aferire-O'one? So, why then did they call for my sanction by ILOT? Why was it necessary to call me names and disparage my person?

 

10.   I must say this appears to be a continuation of their “dispute” with Chief Ayiri Emami and their fright at the present disposition on certain matters of Prince Yemi Emiko.

They are now in their guilt by association mode. They do not appreciate the underpinnings of our Federal Constitution or of common law, for that matter.

Despite pressures from well meaning Itsekiri sons and daughters, both at home and abroad, in the last two years, I have refused to speak on matters relating to the disagreements in Iwereland. There are people who think the ILOT should come out with  “a position “.

 

11.   My attitude is in line with that of my primary constituency, ILOT, which prefers an internal and peaceful resolution of such disagreements based on truth, equity and justice, no matter the pressure. ILOT, though pained by the unforeseen disagreement in the land, would rather focus  on the need for reconciliation, peace building and protection of the sanctity and integrity of the “Itsekiri People, their Land and the Crown” (in that order). This is also in line with cardinal objectives of its founding fathers.

Therefore, in this endeavour as with its usual standard operating procedures, ILOT has no use for ramble roosters, influence seekers, self appointed wannabe palace enforcers, and self seeking political opportunists etc, whose views are as well thought out as the wind vane and whose conviction are as firm as the mischief and ignorance, declared on the top of their voices, on which they are formed.

I am the first to admit that ILOT’s silence has been loud and perhaps, deafening!

 

Aferire-O’one's Call for ILOT to Sanction Me.

 

12.  I wish to deal briefly with Aferire-O'one’s call for ILOT to sanction me for the “offences” which I have enumerated above and for the imaginary breach of ILOT’s constitution.

First and foremost, I  did not lie, nor was I engaged in some subterfuge when I introduced myself as the Secretary of ILOT. Secondly, ILOT knows, encourages the formation of secondary groups, either on an adhoc or permanent basis, provided such secondary groups are in furtherance of its primary objectives. It further encourages fraternal relationships, consultation and joint action across the Niger Delta and other minorities in our country.

Therefore, ILOT is well known and immensely respected in Niger Delta sub region and in the country!

Lastly, Aferire-O'one does not have the foggiest idea what is in the ILOT constitution or what its fundamental objectives  are.

 ILOT’s constitution does not contravene the provisions on freedom of movement, freedom of speech, freedom of association and the liberty of all citizens  of the Constitution of the Federation 1999 (as amended).

 Here again Aferire-O’one is  engaged in their stock in trade of misinformation, mischief and ignorance as described by quotes in section 4 above.

 

ILOT:  A Brief Synopsis of its Founding And Objectives

 

13.  As Secretary of ILOT it is necessary to make some introductory remarks on the origin and what Itsekiri Leaders of Thought represents and stands for.

 I make this remarks with a high sense of responsibility, knowing fully well that certain bitter truths are best left in the deep dark vaults of history. However, Chairman Okotie-Eboh and merry cohorts need to be educated for their own selves and for the sake of the Itsekiri younger generation who might not know and who deserve to know.

 

Itsekiri Leaders of Thought, is a socio- political organisation formed in 1974 by an amalgam of Itsekiri gentry. They were the very best of Itsekiri men and women, professionals, in academia, business, civil service etc. They were determined to steer the ship of Itsekiri nation in the evolving combustive post Nigerian civil war politics, under the military.

They held  their inaugural meeting in the home of late Ben Sutherland in Lagos to fashion a new raison d’etat   for Itsekiri collective existence and survival under the Nigerian state.

This became imperative due to the new awakening of our neighbouring ethnic nationalism, the plethora of cases challenging our rights over our territory and other socio-political problems arising from our neighbour’s geographical expansionism, after the quashing of the Midwest  Constitution of 1963 provided for the protection of our rights in our territory.

The meeting resolved amongst other things as follows; to :-

13.1   Insulate the Itsekiri Crown from political partisanship. That the Olu will be King (Father) for all Itsekiris no matter the political divide. The king will reign and not rule.

 

13.2    Provide intellectual, knowledge-based leadership, putting Itsekiri first above personal and parochial political consideration in the protection of Itsekiri people, land and crown, while encouraging full political participation in the political process already aroused by the Gowon administration.

 

 

13.3    Be truthful at all times, promote Itsekiri rights within the precepts of equity, justice and fair play as guaranteed by Nigerian laws.

 

13.4    Never again allow events of the recent past, kingships tussle(Otu-Moje/Otu-Meje) and political crisis between NCNC/AG derail the peaceful coexistence and development of the Itsekiri nation.

 

 

13.5   Promote peace, reconciliation and development at all times etc.

These are the cardinal objectives of Itsekiri Leaders of Thought. Despite daunting challenges of the Nigerian state, and within Itsekiri nation, we remain steadfast in upholding the above principles from inception till date.

 

Comments on My Antecedents

 

14.   It is against my upbringing, training and tenets of my associations to say anything about myself.

However Aferire-O'one's innuendos and scurrilous attacks on my person which contains gross misrepresentation and general falsehood has made a few comments on my person desirable, but unpleasant and infra dignitatem.

These are in two sections my membership of ILOT and my adult life.

 

14.1  My membership of  ILOT has been one of my achievements that I am most proud of.

Membership of ILOT is strictly by invitation. Nobody applies for membership.

It follows years of Itsekiri activism, intellectual contribution and potential for further intellectual development in Itsekiri matters and what is adjudged, by existing members, as good character and personal discipline etc.

People who know me can attest to my commitment to any Itsekiri matters. I was involved in my teens. Then in my undergraduate and postgraduate years and beyond, I was a “foot soldier” of ILOT and a beneficiary of their tutelage and strict upbringing.

Then I was invited to become a member some 20 plus years ago. The work was at, most times, daunting but satisfying. One learnt the basics of identifying Itsekiri interest, architecture, geography, sociology and political interaction of Iwereland. Members have a joke that the amount of materials one had to go through, in order to function effectively  as a member, could earn one  or two postgraduate degrees. Add to that, the training in decorum under the ever watchful eyes of our leaders, the discipline, personal sacrifice etc.

It has been a tough and demanding grind. It has also been most satisfying.

As younger members, we had maintained the relationships built by our leaders all over the nation. We introduced and argued successfully, defended new relationships, adopted new approaches and improvement of existing methods. This was not easy at all under the eagle eyes of our leaders, especially ,  at times, their scathing criticism to one was “you are ineffectual!”, despite one’s best effort! Of course , we failed sometimes, suffered reprimand and censorship. However, We grew!

I wear, as badge of honour, being described  as “one of the Itsekiri hawks”, a fierce, unrelenting, knowledgeable and factual fighter for Itsekiri interest, by some of our neighbours with whom we have  fraternal relationships and are our associates in the Niger Delta and nationally.

Today, I  am proud and honoured to be addressed as Secretary of ILOT, a scholar of, among  of other fields of study, Itsekiri ethnography, having passed through the tutelage  of our most distinguished, learned and thorough breed Itsekiri leaders, that may have walked the sands of Iwereland!

14.2    After my secondary,  higher school and undergraduate  education, I participated in National Youth Service Corps programme. I also took a post graduate degree in Business Administration (MBA). 

While in university, I had business interests in agriculture, both local and produce export, and printing and publishing. Business was so good but demanding that I never considered a paid employment.

My printing business was principally in the area of study guides for preparation and past questions and suggested answers for the JAMB and West African School Certificate Examination. I discovered quite soon that problem with candidates not doing well at both examinations, was essentially because of the falling educational standards and poor preparation. I started a JAMB preparatory class targeted to improve preparation. This has some mixed results. I soon realised that unless we had extended period of concentrated preparation we will still have patchy outcomes.

Instead of JAMB lessons, we developed a programme of remedial education cum intensive preparation for both JAMB and West African School Certificate Examination.

This programme has been very successful. We have produced  over 38,000 ( thirty eight thousand) people  amongst whom are Professors, Doctors, including Medical consultants, Engineers, Lawyers, Bank Managers, Accountants and I.T experts and professionals in all fields of human endeavor, adding value to the society across the globe.

We have awards for educational management, prevention of cheating and examination fraud.

For example, I have managed  Ugbajo Itsekiri USA, yearly scholarship examination without a wiff of any scandal and have received their commendation.

So, I am proud to be a “private school proprietor” resident in Benin City, living in my own house and free and clear owners of my facilities, with a truck load of international and national commendations and awards to booth.

Finally, with independent source and steady source of income, from my school and other businesses, I am grateful to God, my Almighty Father, contented and  able to pursue my convictions firmly. I was a not palace hanger-on and not dependent  on political and pecuniary favours gotten on basis of being “loyal”.

 

15.   Contrary to Aferire-O'one claim, I was never an All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate for Delta State House of Assembly. In 2011 general election, I contested for a seat in Federal House of Representatives under the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN).

True ACN was one of the legacy political parties  that came together to form the APC.

It is this deliberate historical inaccuracy that lead to the firm but unfortunate distortion and falsehood. Again Chairman Emmanuel Okotie-Eboh and his “barbarians” (apologies to Professor Wole Soyinka) are wrong!

I am a fully registered and committed card carrying member of the APC. Under the auspices of the party, I served as two term state organising secretary of APC Delta state and a full term member of the Board of the National Hospital, Abuja. I dare say I represented Itsekiri, Delta state, south-south zone and Nigerians well.

 

16. I have spoken about myself for internet to “ never forget “ and for Aferire-O'one's education hoping that their mischief will allow them to be humble and avoid creating misinformation. I also hope that they put themselves to “hang”  for the “internet to remember”.

 

General Comments

 

17.     However, I am tempted to examine their recent antecedents cursorily.

They are members of the Ginuwa 1 Ruling, which were saddled with the task of midwifing the selection of an Olu designate. Chairman Okotie-Eboh was appointed “Regent” as provided by codified Itsekiri Customary Law.

From the “get go”, the Ruling House was in disarray  and split. Chief Akoma was leading a faction and singing his own tunes.

The Otun Olu Company became fractured.

Ginuwa 1 Ruling House  ended up suspending  an  Ologbotsere, an Otsodi and appointed replacement and reconstituted Olu Advisory Council, while both were alive and well.

There are matters in court challenging the suspension  of the Ologbotsere  and seeking the nullification of the coronation of the Olu! These suits were filed by Chief Ayiri Emami and a faction of Otun Olu Company respectively.

The matters are sub judice and we are all waiting with baited breath for outcomes. However, one hears nowadays of personages like Chief Brown Mene saying that Ginuwa 1 Ruling House or any amalgam of princes have no power to suspend any chief.

This is merely an observation  and not a comment or discussion of matters sub judice.

 

18.    I know Okotie-Eboh men and women of character, capacity, achievers and persons of sterling qualities.  If not, given the fact an Okotie-Eboh was alleged to have played a sordid and perfidious role in the travails of an Olu, one might be given to ask whether that name should be mentioned in the same sentence with the Crown.

 

19.      For example, after the 88 year interregnum Ginuwa II was crown Olu. These was no case.

On his joining his ancestors in 1949, it took until 1951 when Erejuwa II was crowned. All disputes were resolved and there was no case in court.

In 1987 Atuwatse II was crowned. Again all disputes were settled and matters taken to court were withdrawn.

Then Ikenwoli was crowned Olu.

20.     Why is it that with the coronation of Atuwatse III, there has been so much disagreements within in Ginuwa 1 Ruling House, the Otun Olu Company and in the Itsekiri nation? Why are these disagreements being aggravated instead of finding ways to settle?

Knowing that Chief Ayiri Emami had gone to court challenging his suspension by the Ginuwa I Ruling House, why was there a rush to appoint someone in his stead? Was the Olu not being put in a bind?

I venture to say, it is because the Ginuwa I Ruling House was factionalised; chose an incompetent, Mr Emmanuel Okotie-Eboh as Regent; did not establish guard rails for his conduct and thus, had bad decisions made in his name.

 

Conclusion

 To my mind, the mischievous opinion given under the name of Aferire-O'one is a pursuit, by other means, of the existing brouhaha between Emmanuel Okotie-Eboh and his “tribe” of Ginuwa 1 Ruling House and Chief Ayiri Emami. They have escalated this disagreement to “guilt by association”.

Are these purveyors of the new internet culture not tired of making and seeking enemies for the Olu? The venture they engaged in will not make them more relevant in the scheme of things now and in the future. I appeal to them to stop forthwith.

The calling and job of the Olu is tough and complicated enough. They do not need to make it tougher and more complicated. The Olu has enemies enough both within and without. They do not have to make more enemies for His Majesty.

Instead, they should join ILOT to find paths to resolving these disagreements, fashion a way out that is acceptable to all parties and build a sustainable and lasting peace and concord in Iwereland.

 

God bless us all.

 

 

 

Sir Amorighoye S Mene (KSM)

Secretary,

Itsekiri Leaders of Thought

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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