Operemo Kingship Tussle: Concerned Indigenes  Drag Chiefs To Court (See Reasons)

By Binebai Princewill

A group under the aegies of Concerned Indigenes of Operemo Kingdom in Burutu Local Government Area of Delta State have dragged chiefs of the Kingdom to court over alleged atempt to install a new king without due process.

In a statement jointly signed by Hausa Walter – Ojobo Town, Ayangor Goodluck  – Ekogbene Town, Felix Kemepade – Bulou-Ndoro Town as well as Andrew King from Akorugbene Town, a copy of which was sent to The Liberator Newspapers Worldwide yesterday on behalf of the Concerned Indigenes of Operemo Kingdom, the group had given reasons why they are in court.

The statement reads in full below:

                                                     Why we are in court

We have decided to make this media address because we are receiving calls from everywhere asking why we have gone to court to challenge what the chiefs of Operemo are doing to install a new king. 

We have come also to inform everyone that our action is not aimed at favouring one community against others, one contestant against others or one individual against others. We are not sponsored by any individual or group as some mischief makers would want to allege. We are also less interested in who becomes the king of Operemo but highly interested in the process leading to the emergence of the king. 

We are also interested in the progress and prosperity of the kingdom. We are free and bonafide descendants of the clan who would do everything to stop evil and illegality. Our coming is to stop the chiefs, who are only a minute part of the population of the kingdom, from setting a bad but avoidable precedent. 

This action we the concerned indigenes of Operemo has taken is for the good of every member of the Operemo kingdom. These are the reasons that compelled us to go to seek justice in the court of law:

The chiefs are usurping the rights of all other members of the kingdom by trying to illegally and unilaterally install a king. The Edict clearly states that “any male descendant of the clan of forty (40) years and above” is qualified to attend a meeting summoned by the oldest member of the clan (ebeokosu-owei) to start the process of enstooling a new king. 

The chiefs have conspired to violate this provision.The chiefs are conniving to introduce an order that is strange and criminal into the kingdom by fraudulently setting up what they term as a “selection committee” to install a king without the consent of the ebeokosu-owei and other male descendants of the kingdom.

The chiefs have put the kingdom on sale by extorting members of the kingdom who are interested in contesting for the traditional stool of Operemo. They collect Two million naira each from any individual who wishes to express interest in to contest. The Edict does not prescribe application fees to be paid by contestants. It only recommends that at the clan elders meeting written applications should be invited from interested candidates. 

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This is absolutely free.The illegal application fee, which they refer to as” Kingdom Development Levy,” goes into the private account of Chief Bare Etolor instead of being domiciled in the kingdom’s account.The chiefs want a foreigner to lead them to install a king for the people of the Operemo kingdom. The only persons known to the Edict to have the right to participate in the selection process are the Ebeokosu-owei (the eldest man) and the male DESCENDANTS of forty years and above. 

The chairman of their illegal committee is Chief Bare Etolor who has no link with the kingdom. Chief Etolor is chief and is not a descendant of Operemo. Being a chief does not guarantee him the right to be a member of the Operemo kingdom.

The kingdom is burdened with so many litigations. Some of these cases are targeted at the unity, continuity and progress of the kingdom. To be responsible, all the cases need to have been vacated completely before talks of installing a new king are begun.  As a result of the legal tussles in the kingdom, the Regent was detained for over one month before he was conditionally released a few days ago. This tells the gravity of the matters against the kingdom.

It is based on the above reasons and many more that we have gone to court to restrain them. The restraining order has been served on the chiefs and the purported selection committee. We do not want to drag the kingdom into the muds, therefore if the chiefs honourably dissolve their illegally constituted committee, return all the monies to the owners and come to terms with the law establishing the kingdom, we may have a reason to reconsider our legal action.

Thank you and God bless you.

Signed:

Hausa Walter                        – Ojobo Town

Ayangor Goodluck               – Ekogbene Town

Felix Kemepade                    – Bulou-Ndoro Town

Andrew King                         – Akorugbene Town

Meanwhile, in our bid to balance this story, all efforts geared towards reaching out to the other party in order to hear their own side of the story proves abortive as we are unable to reach them as at the time of filling this report. 

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