By Binebai Princewill
Nominate Opudu as his eye in the tournament
The paramount ruler of Itsekiri nation, popularly known as the Olu of Warri, His Royal Majesty Ogiame Ikenwoli has yesterday joined the league of other prominent Deltans to endorse the Ijaw/Itsekiri Peace and Unity cup otherwise known as Comr. Sheriff Mulade Peace and Unity Cup, declaring that the Ijaws and Itsekiris will never fight again, particularly during his reign.
The traditional ruler made the declaration and endorsement of the Peace and Unity Cup at his royal castle in Warri Delta State, stressing that the Ijaws and Itsekiris are brothers and can’t afford to be living as foes.
Ogiame particularly heaped praises on Amb. Comr. Sheriff Mulade for coming up with such peace promoting initiative, vowing that he will support the football tournament while admonishing Mulade and his team to expand beyond football in the quest to achieving peace in Warri, Delta and beyond.
His Royal Majesty, Ogiame Ikenwoli while speaking on the historical origin of the Itsekiris, particularly his family lineage, he said they are also from Ijaw, precisely from Isaba community, traditional headquarters of Isaba kingdom in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.
He maintained that till date, their compound is still there at Isaba, a situation he said many from Isaba can attest to.
Earlier, chairman of the Comr. Sheriff Mulade Peace and Unity Cup, Local Organizing Committee, LOC, Hon. Ken Nwamucha on behalf of the committee thanked the traditional ruler for the warm reception, appealing to the monarch that they will be happy if Ogiame can nominate someone to represent the palace for the tournament.
However, Ogiame stated that the peace process will begin from his palace, hence he nominated Chief Boro Opudu, an Ijaw from Isaba whom he described as his brother to be his palace representative that will be liasing with him from time to time as the Peace and Unity Cup kick-starts.
Speaking among other issues, the Olu decried the high level of insecurity in Delta State, particularly Warri, noting that lack of job opportunities for the youths in the area is the reason for the festering insecurity in the once booming and peaceful city of Warri.
In view of this, the revered Niger Delta monarch had stated that he is in touch with President Muhammadu Buhari for the resuscitation of both the Koko and Warri Ports in Delta, noting that if the Ports are revived, more job opportunities will be available for the youths and there would be no time for perpetuating violence against one another as it will drastically reduce rising criminality in Warri and its environ.
He said he is optimistic that President Buhari will resuscitate the Ports as he has given him his words earlier of reviving them, he also pleads with both Ijaws and Itsekiris not to disrupt the activities of the company should they start to commence the dredging or other related works in the area.
Speaking further, the traditional ruler also revealed that since the Shell Petroleum Development Company, SPDC left Warri, the town has become ghost of itself, bothered about such ugly development, he said he is also in close contact with them with strong indications that they will be coming back to Warri soon.
In his words: “Mulade is my son, he is a member of this family, I am happy that since my enthronement, I have always wanted peace for my kingdom, Delta State and other parts of the country.
“The Royal family members of the Itsekiris are from Ijaw, we are also from Isaba, our compound is there, nobody can harass any Ijaw man in my presence, for you to come here to see me means that you are my son.
“I am so happy with your initiative of spreading peace in Warri South West, we have truly become so unsafe, I feel so bad because we can no longer move freely, all these things are happening because there are no jobs.
“Warri and Koko Ports must work for the good of all of us, President Muhammadu Buhari has assured me that they will work on them and I believe him.
“I want to also state that it must go beyond soccer, I will support in any way that I can, peace must return to Warri Kingdom and all parts of the country.
“I have been speaking with Shell, they promise coming back, the people are really suffering, when these companies comes back, everybody will benefit.
“I want you to know that I am fully in support, get more people to be with you, people that will be supporting peace. Ijaw and Itsekiri cannot fight again, we are brothers. I thank Sheriff for putting up this team, if people like him are in Government, nobody will lack, Ijaw and Itsekiri will benefit.
“I nominate Chief Boro Opudu as my eye in the tournament, this group must succeed. Your nomination as my representative is peace at its beginning” The Itsekiri traditional ruler stated.
Nevertheless, the LOC Chairman, Hon. Ken upon the nomination of Chief Borodo Opudu, Chairman Delta State Waterway/Land Security Committee decoraded him with the official 2019 Ijaw/Itsekiri Peace and Unity Cup Jersey as the eye of the Olu for the tournament.
Meanwhile, Chief sponsor of the tournament, Amb. Comr. Sheriff Mulade, National Coordinator, Center For Peace and Environmental Justice, CEPEJ had earlier appreciated the revered traditional ruler of the Itsekiri people for the warm reception and audience granted him and the entire members of the LOC, stating that it is a rare privilege.
“We are very glad for the warm reception, the purpose of our visit is a team of people concerned with a deep drive for our peaceful coexistence, we hosted the first edition in 2017, for now, we are set to host the second edition, we have to bring Hon. Ken from Delta North due to interest and broadening the scope, we thank you as a peace loving traditional ruler, we can’t embark on this journey without coming to identify with you and seek for your support and royal blessings. You have always been a father to me” Mulade stated.
The visit to Mayuku
Meanwhile, in a similar manner, Mulade and members of the LOC also visited and decorated Hon. Daniel Mayuku, Executive Director, ED, Project, Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission, DESOPADEC at his office in Warri South Local Government Area of the state.
It would be recalled that Hon. Daniel Mayuku, an Itsekiri is the immediate past member representing Warri South West in the Delta State House of Assembly.
“As a very important leader, we can’t do this under your domain without meeting you on this Ijaw, Itsekiri peace and unity cup. We are here to seek your support, financial and most importantly physical presence. We came to show and present to you the official Jersey for the tournament ” Hon Ken, Chairman LOC, 2019 Ijaw/Itsekiri Unity Cup stated.
“I am very happy for whoever that came up with this idea, may God bless that person, Ijaw and Itsekiri, we are one, I will support both morally and financially, I will give my total support to this”
“I am also aware that I have my team in the tournament, I will support to ensure that I win the tournament.” Hon. Daniel Mayuku.
The Liberator Newspaper can report that Tthe he Second edition of the Ijaw/Itsekiri peace and unity cup popularly referred to as Comrade Sheriff Mulade peace and unity cup will commence November 16 2019.
According to information disclosed by the Local Organising Committee, the tournament will last for eighteen days and rounded off on 29th November with closing ceremony and award of medals and gifts to finalists.
One major interesting aspect of the 2019 edition is the prizes involved, while the winner will smile home with whooping cash prize of N1m and gold cup, the first and second runners – up will pocket N700. 000 and N500.000 respectively.
The organisers also disclosed that there are other consolation prizes and award for most valuable player, highest goal scorer, fair play award for the best behaved team and best goal keeper among others.
Another unique feature of this year’s edition according to the organisers is that, unlike the first edition, matches will be played in two venues of Ugborodo and Benikrukru communities both in Warri South West Local Government Area of Delta State.
A total of sixteen teams are expected to slug it out during the exercise, eight teams playing in each of the host centers.