By Binebai Princewill
There is palpable tension in Edo State as youths of oil rich Egbema Kingdom in Warri North and Ovia South West Local Government Areas of Delta and Edo States met on Sunday at Abere, one of the autonomous communities in the Egbema to X-ray recent happenings in the Kingdom. The Liberator Newspapers Worldwide can report.
The Egbema Youths Convention/ National Congress which was majorly called by the Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Egbema Clan Chapter, Egbema Youth Council (EYC) and Egbema Peace Keeping and Security (EPKS) saw youths from of all the nine (9) autonomous communities in the Kingdom with their youth presidents in attendance and representatives at some instance.
However, in their opening remarks, the trio of Comr. Peter Toruwei, Chairman Ijaw Youth Council (IYC) Egbema Kingdom, Comr. Ebidouwei Miyenperegha Messiah, President general Egbema Youth Council (EYC), Comr. Nicholas Igarama, financial secretary IYC Western Zone and a representative of the Egbema Peace Keeping and Security (EPKS), Mr. Akas Kenneth all spoke in similar direction by urging all youths of the kingdom to be united in fighting against the issue at hand which they described as a threat and an attempted plot to alter the sacred ancient traditional institution of Egbema Kingdom.
Obviously speaking with pains in their submissions while deliberating on the said self styled strange and self imposed Royal Highness of Egbema Kingdom in Edo State, Henry Binidodogha, the youths have vowed that they will fight even if it means using the last drop of their blood to resist Henry and his group of kinsmen from parading Binidodogha as king of Egbema Kingdom in Edo State , adding that Egbema Kingdom remains one and nothing can change or split it as they do not recognise him as a king in their kingdom.
After much deliberation among youths of Egbema Kingdom reflecting the various youth leadership and groups in the Kingdom, coordinator and moderator of the Egbema national Congress/Convention, Comr. Freedom Atigbi, former Chairman of Ijaw Youth Council (IYC), Western Zone had while briefing the press asserted that the meeting was to reaffirm their earlier position in the Kingdom that so long as Henry Binidodogha has not come to beg the Egbema people for forgiveness, his banishment remains standing and is in full force.
He hinted newsmen that the youths are working on the directives given by the Egbema apex leadership such as Egbema regency council, Egbema leaders of thought as well as Egbema chiefs and elders council, adding that as it is, Henry has no bearing with the people of Egbema Kingdom.
Atigbi stated that the latest on Henry Binidodogha’s activities in the Kingdom is the spreading and sales of security forms which he described as fake to recruit and gullible sons and daughters into doing his bidding in the Kingdom, stressing that the Government of Edo State and its security network must stop such dealings with Binidodogha.
However, on his part, Comr. Peter Toruwei, Chairman of Egbema Clan IYC had told His Excellency, the Governor of Edo State, Mr. Godwin Obaseki to stop any dealings with Henry Binidodogha, noting that Ijaw Youths in Egbema Kingdom will not sleep on the matter.
Comr. Toruwei stressed that it is in the best interest of Governor Obaseki to severe any ties with Henry Binidodogha as he has been rejected by the Kingdom and that whatever he is doing with Henry Binidodogha is against the interest of Egbema Kingdom and at his own risk.
On his part, Comr. Messiah Miyenperegha, President general of Egbema Youth Council had in his interview with newsmen vowed to continue mobilise the youths across the Kingdom in executing the resolutions reached by the kingdom leadership against Binidodogha and his crew.
Speaking further on the deplorable state of things that has over time engulfed the kingdom, Miyenperegha had called on the Edo State Government, His Excellency, Godwin Obaseki, the federal government of Nigeria, NDDC, Niger Delta Ministry and others to complete the abandoned Udo/Ofonama road project.
We are in support, if it goes beyond the Kingdom, it will be a Western Zone affair – Igarama warns
On his part, Comr. Nicholas Igarama, financial secretary of IYC Western Zone had stated that the zone is in support of the move by the Egbema youths and elders, stressing that if it goes beyond the Kingdom level, the zone under the firm leadership of Dr. Comr. Doubra Collins Okotete is ready to take over the matter.
Igarama maintained that Governor Obaseki must not be seen supporting and empowering Binidodogha to the detriment of the Egbema people, adding that the unity and traditional sanctity of Egbema Kingdom remains sacrosanct.
The statement issued at the end of the meeting reads in full below:
THREAT TO THE PEACE OF EGBEMA PEOPLE AND DISBANDMENT OF MR. HENRY EKEBELIGHA BINIDODOGHA FROM ALL SOCIO/CULTURAL AND POLITICAL ACTIVITIES WITHIN THE IJAW TERRITORIES IN EDO STATE
Arising from the Egbema Youths Convention held at Abere, Ovia South West Local Government Area of Edo State on the 13th day of June, 2021, the leadership of the Ijaw Youth Council, Egbema Youth Council and other Ijaw Youth bodies in Edo State have collectively restated the disbandment of one Mr. Henry Ekebeligha Binidodogha who styled himself “OJUAGA 1” from all socio-cultural and political activities within the Ijaw territories in Edo State following his continuous sacrilegious acts on the cultural, traditional and social well being of the Ijaw people.
Mr. Henry Ekebeligha Binidodogha and his cohorts have constantly and persistently truncated the peace of the people by usurping the powers of the AGADAGBA of EGBEMA kingdom and the traditional institution generally. It is no more news that he has been parading himself as a paramount ruler without installation and without the consent of the people and therefore contrary to the customs and traditions of the Ijaw people.
It is important to clear the air on his alleged installation as he was never installed not even as a youth leader of his quarter (Bragba Quarters of Ofunama community) talk more of installing him as a highness of Egbema kingdom. For avoidance of doubt, it is traditionally a misnomer for an indigene of Ofunama community to be installed as a paramount ruler which in itself is contrary to the Gazette of the Egbema traditional institution.
We wish to educate the Government, Security Agencies and the General Public on the leadership structure in the Ijaw nation as follows;
The leadership in Edo State like every other state is led by;
THE TRADITIONAL RULERS OF THE FIVE IJAW KINGDOMS IN EDO STATE,
IJAW NATIONAL CONGRESS (INC), IJAW ELDERS FORUM, IJAW YOUTH COUNCIL (IYC) EGBEMA YOUTH PROGRESSIVE FOUNDATION a.k.a EGBEMA YOUTHS COUNCIL OTHER ALLIED BODIES which are true representatives of the people.
Criminal elements have little or no place in Ijaw leadership structure and issues bothering on the very existence of the people including, traditional, cultural political and developmental issues can only be discussed with the leadership structure as adumbrated above. Doing otherwise is tantamount to desecrating the traditional institution and shall be acted upon with equal force within our means.
Ofunama community is respected for its honest, purposeful leadership and peaceful disposition in handling matters of concern and therefore seen as a model for other Ijaw communities in the Niger Delta. Hence, the leadership of the community (from the Amaokosuwei to the last child) has rejected the said Henry E. Binidodogha and also banished him from the community since December, 2020 for parading himself as a paramount ruler at his Benin residence.
Consequently, we are calling on the Government of Edo State and all the political parties to stop all dealings with him and his cohorts whether politically or otherwise as doing so is at their own risk. Henry E. Binidodogha does not represent the interests of the Ijaw people and he has never done so before now.
We are putting the Governor on notice to the effect that any political appointment given to him shall have no effect in the Ijaw territories and such shall be treated as an affront on the Ijaw nation and shall be resisted stiffly.
It is within common knowledge that Mr. Henry E. Binidodogha is recruiting innocent youths in the guise of a state government appointment which to our knowledge is non existent. He has forcefully and criminally collected several amounts ranging from #7500 to #10,000 per youth which in tandem with his criminal practices.
Egbema people will not condone any illegal security outfit aimed at extorting from the people andif there is need for one then the government should do well to consult the people through the structures of leadership highlighted above.
Our position on this matter is sacrosanct and shall never be shaken upon intimidation by Government or any security outfit as our traditional issues should be left to the Ijaw people rather than the police, DSS, the Nigerian Army etc.
That an invitation by any agency of government on account of this issue shall be deemed to be an invitation of the Ijaw Youths Council World Wide, hence we shall fully mobilize to any office if anyone is arrested or invited.
A stitch in time saves nine.
We are also sending this message to the Presidential Amnesty Office to stop further dealings with Mr. Henry E. Binidodogha because doing so will be treated as an affront on the Ijaw people worldwide especially to the Ijaw people of Edo State and shall be given the desired and appropriate counter reaction.
Comrade Freedom E. Atigbi (Former Chairman IYC Western Zone)
Comrade Nicholas Igarama (Financial Secretary IYC Western Zone)
Comrade Peter Toruwei (Chairman IYC Egbema Clan Chapter)
Comrade Messiah Ebidouwei Miyenpirigha (President Egbema Youth Council