The people of Gbaramatu kingdom, the ancestral home of Chief Government Ekpemukpolo, aka Tompolo, have issued a statement advising Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta state to stop addressing their issues through Mofe Pirah, the state commissioner for oil and gas.
The people are angry over the unguarded statements credited to Pirah in relation to the location of the controversial Nigerian Maritime University in Okerenkoko, a community in Gbaramatu kingdom of Delta state, a statement which was published in the Vanguard Newspaper of February 11, 2018.
In the said publication, Pirah, a serving oil and gas commissioner in the Delta state executive council, was said to have called on the people of Gbaramatu kingdom to sit at a round table with Omadino people and negotiate on what should be the name of Okerenkoko, an autonomous Ijaw community in the state.
In the publication, Pirah was said to have labeled the Ijaw of Gbaramatu kingdom as settlers who, according to him, must discuss with the people of Omadino concerning the Nigerian Maritime University in Okerenkoko.
But in a statement by Ijaw Youth Council, Gbaramatu Kingdom Structure and signed by Godswill Doubra Wuruyai, Chairman; Emotimide Friday, Information Officer and Frank Ekpemupolo,Rep in Parliament, the Gbaramatu people said Pirah’s “call for the Ijaws of Gbaramatu to share percentage with the Itsekiri people establishes the fact that the Itsekiri people are indeed famous and heroic in their land grabbing spree and a further evident that the Itsekiris have no single stake in Okerenkoko.”
The people expressed surprise that Pirah who is a member of the state executive council could pretend not to know “how the land for the establishment of the Nigerian Maritime University was acquired from the Okerenkoko people by the previous Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, his own Itsekiri kinsman.
“Perhaps, the statement continued, ‘Mofe may have forgotten the due processes the land acquisition followed before compensation was duly paid to the Okerenkoko people as the rightful owners of the said land. One would wonder where was Mofe when all these processes were legitimately concluded? Where was Mofe when schools and government projects were named Okerenkoko?
The statement further said: “It is expected that before now, Mofe ought to have resolved either to be the voice of peace in the state as a commissioner representing several tribes or continue to remain an activist for some Itsekiri people.
“Honourable Mofe’s negative outburst against the good Ijaw people of Gbaramatu Kingdom strikes us with doubt if he can continue to represent us fairly as oil producing kingdom in the state.
“For this reason, we make bold to say that His Excellency Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa should forthwith stop to address any Gbaramatu matter through Honourable Mofe Pirah, until the commissioner addresses due apology to the Gbaramatu people through same fora he had poured fire and brimstones on us or be relieved of his position as the oil and gas commissioner as he seems to be more interested in promoting ethnic disharmony and crisis unbecoming of a public servant who is representing the same people he is desperately struggling to destroy.”
The statement described Pirah as a hypocritical commissioner who pretends to be calling for peace but subtly peddling structural violence against the good Ijaw people of Gbaramatu kingdom even as the people advised Governor Okowa to call the commissioner to roder so as not to cause further disharmony in the state.
“The governor should ask Mofe to either choose to continue to occupy his current office in the state as a detribalized person representing the Ijaws, Urhobos and Itsekiris or immediately resign from same to fully assume the Itsekiri sectional activist position he is currently in love with,” the statement read.
The Gbaramatu people said they cannot sit down and watch Mofe leversging on state apparatus to fight against the interest of the Ijaw nation, adding that no leader of Gbaramatu has the madnate to sit down with any Itsekiri community to negotiate sharing formula on benefits and projects coming to Okerenkoko community.
The statement described “Mofe’s dream to adjust the alphabets that gives meaning to our dear community Okerenkoko is nothing but a Utopian dream far from reality.
“We reiterate that His Excellency Senator Ifeanyi Okowa should sanction his commissioner for oil and gas as this will exonerate the Governor from the tribal bigotry displayed by Mofe against the peace loving Ijaw people of Gbaramatu kingdom to avoid us to think aloud that the commissioner may have spoken on behalf of the Delta state government which he represents by the virtue of his position.”
READ THE STATEMENT MADE BY PIRAH HERE