By Sunday Apah, Ughelli
A prominent politician in Warri North Local Government Area and Chairman of Egbema and Gbaramatu Communities Development Foundation, Ambassador Jude Ebitimi Ukori has chided the commissioner of Communication and Orientation, Edo state, Paul Ohonbamu over his comments that Egbema people are strangers to the Benin people.
It would be recalled that the Edo State Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Paul Ohonbamu had last week stated in one of the National Dailies that there was a Supreme Court Judgment that gave the entire Egbema land to the Oba of Benin, saying it was because they heard that there will be development of Seaport in Gelegele, that prompted the Egbema people to say they want their own king.
Ambassador Ukori in a telephone chat said it was disappointing for such statements to come from a high ranking public officer of the commissioner for Communication and Orientation of Edo state that the Egbema people are strangers in their own land.
“The statement is inciting and capable of igniting crises in the area. The Egbema people are the aborigines of the land they are occupying and there is no court case that ceded any part of Egbema land to Bini people. We have our own king duly recognized by the then government of Mid-Western Region, the then Bendel state until it was split into Edo and Delta states. Delta State Government on her part duly recognized our present monarch HRM King Gold Oro Tiemo, Bini Pere III, the Agadagba of Egbema Kingdom, while Edo State Government failed to recognize him.
Ukori said: “I was surprised that the Commissioner for Communication and Orientation, Edo state cited a case between the Benin people and a family in Gelegele community which is not part of Egbema kingdom while making refence to the proposed seaport in Gelegele. Although we remain critical stakeholders of the proposed seaport about because it can never come to life without the co-operation of the Egbema people.
“It baffles me that the commissioner does not know the history and geographical placement of the people that make up Edo state. We are talking about Egbema kingdom and he was referring to Gelegele an Olodiama Kingdom community. He should know that there are five Ijaw kingdoms in Edo state with their distinct traditional institutions and they include: Egbema, Olodiama, Okomu, Furupagha and Gbaraun kingdoms.
According to Ukori, the Edo state Commissioner for Communication and Orientation could have dealt with the issues in question instead of condemnation and unprintable statements made against the Egbema people of Edo State.