Agadagba Of Egbema Kingdom Attends His Maiden Meeting With Delta Ijaw Traditional Rulers Forum

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…as Delta Ijaw Traditional Rulers urges government to focus more on development of host communities of oil & gas.


By~ Comr. Omerhiowa Cletus Iniovosa (a.k.a The Political Aficionado)


On Tuesday 8th. August, 2023, HRM. Amb. Meshack E. A. Ubabiri (JP), Bini Pere IV, Agadagba of Egbema kingdom attended his maiden meeting with Delta Ijaw Traditional Rulers Forum hosted by the Chairman of the forum HRM. Elder (Capt.) Joseph Timiyan (Ph.D.), The Ebenanaowei of Ogulagha kingdom.


Agadagba of Egbema kingdom having fulfilled all traditional demands by the Egbema tradition and costum before going out of His Kingdom to attend any meeting or function, stormed the Delta Ijaw Traditional Rulers Forum meeting today with some of the High Chiefs of Egbema kingdom in Warri, Delta State.

Members of the Delta Ijaw Traditional Rulers Forum led by the Ebenanaowei of Ogulagha kingdom were elated to receive Agadagba of Egbema kingdom who is one of the first class kings in Ijaw nation and in the Niger Delta region. The Egbema revered monarch was formerly introduced to all the Delta Ijaw Traditional Rulers present in the meeting.


Besides, the Delta Ijaw Traditional Rulers Forum’s meeting received the presence of Hon. Chief Favour Izuokumor- Executive Director on social services in the board of DESOPADEC and his counterpart, Hon. Spencer O. Okpoye- the Honourable Commissioner representing Ijaw ethnic nationality in Delta State in the board of DESOPADEC.

The Delta Ijaw representatives in Delta State Oil Producing Areas Development Commission (DESOPADEC) revealed that their maiden visit to the Delta Ijaw Traditional Rulers Forum was crucial to familiarize themselves with the revered Delta Ijaw monarchs, been their subjects chosen by the Delta State Governor by the special grace of God to represent the interest of the Ijaw ethnic nationality in the Commission.


While addressing the kings, Hon. Spencer Okpoye averred that their coming was a familiarization and thank you visit to all the Delta Ijaw kings who are their royal fathers and key stakeholders in the state. Hon. Spencer further said that they came to consult the kings for a needs assessment in their mandate areas and also to inspect old and abandoned projects issued out by DESOPADEC during the past administration so as to include such projects into the budget of the state government for prompt completion.


Hence, they came to seek the blessings and support of the royal fathers as they saddle the responsibility of the Commission to the host communities in their mandate areas.


“Our aim is to do things differently to ensure that development go to all our mandate areas”, Hon. Spencer revealed.


Also, Chief Hon. Favour Izuokumor expressed his warm gratitude to the royal fathers and acknowledged them for the great role they play towards the peace, growth and development of the Ijaw nation, Delta State, the Niger Delta region and Nigeria at large. They also expressed kudos to the royal fathers on behalf of their subjects for voting for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) massively during the 2023 general elections. So, he thanked the royal fathers for their continuous support on the government of the state and their immense contributions towards national development.


Hon. Chief Izuokumor, a former Commissioner that represented Ijaw ethnic nationality in DESOPADEC during the immediate past administration further said, “Your Majesties, your gathering is a symbol of national unity. Your coming together showed that there is strength in unity and this has made everything easy for us the government representatives to deliver on our assignments”.


“We owe our royal fathers greatly for this rare opportunity to welcome us on this maiden visit to them. If we are to pay for this royal audience given us, a part of the budget of the Commission will go for this project and we believe that our royal fathers will not permit this because all they wanted and clamoured for was for the development of the various communities in their kingdoms and this is what the present Delta State Government led by His Excellency, Rt. Hon. (Elder) Sheriff Oborevwori has promised Deltans- “To listen more, do more and achieve more”.


In response, His Royal Majesty, Elder (Capt.) Joseph Timiyan (Ph.D.)- The Ebenanaowei of Ogulagha kingdom and Chairman of the Delta Ijaw Traditional Rulers Forum, said: “I am so elated seeing Ijaw sons and daughters making waves in politics nowadays, unlike before where other ethnic nationalities take dominance in the political spheres of the state and nation”.


“When I see people speak eloquently like this, I know that they’re politicians. It is true that politicians speak eloquently in many words but their problem is their inability to fulfill what they promised. After getting what they wanted, you will not see them again and many have also failed in their promises. I hope both of you will not behave like that.”


“Well, as for Hon. Chief Favour Izuokumor, I am familiar with you and when you were there during your first tenure as Commissioner in DESOPADEC, you performed very well to everyone’s admiration. This is why you have been promoted to be the Executive Director on social services in the Commission. However, I am not too familiar with Hon. Spencer. However, the way I see Agadagba of Egbema kingdom giving a nod to your speech, It shows that you are a good man because Agadagba is your royal father and He is one of us”.


“Therefore, I expected you people to consult widely the various community President Generals/Chairmen, the leadership of Host Communities, Oil and Gas, youths leaders and other stakeholders to have a first class information about the needs of the people and not just sitting in your offices and begin to write projects in the budget to execute for communities. I urge the board members and staff of the Commission to cooperate so that success can be achieved”, Ebenanaowei of Ogulagha kingdom admonished.


Besides, HRM. Pere S. P. Luke, Kalanama VIII, Pere of Akugbene-mein kingdom and the first vice Chairman of the Delta Ijaw Traditional Rulers Forum buttressed on what His Chairman earlier said and further admonished the Government representatives to as a matter of urgency, tow the line of community development, saying that they should endeavour to work with the host communities. His Royal Majesty appreciated the Delta State Governor for deeming it fit to appoint the Ijaw representatives into such positions in DESOPADEC and He was sure that His Excellency Rt. Hon. Sheriff Oborevwori would deliver his promises to Deltans seeing to his excellent moves so far.


The revered monarch of Akugbene-mein kingdom further urged the state government to timely release sufficient funds- the 50% of the 13% derivation accrued to DESOPADEC to enable the commission deliver their mandate to the Host Communities.


Moreover, HRM. Pere Charles Ayemi-Botu (OFR), paramount ruler and Pere of Seimbiri kingdom took everyone back on memory lane as he revealed the history about the struggle that led to the establishment of DESOPADEC and the great transformational job done by Chief Wellington Okirika- the pioneer Chairman of the board of DESOPADEC during the administration of Chief James Ibori, former Governor of Delta State.


However, the paramount ruler of Seimbiri kingdom lamented how subsequent administrations came to bastardize the Commission as they diverted the 50% of the 13% Oil derivation from the Federal Government meant to develop the host communities to enrich themselves as they starved the commission of the needed funds to the extent that the Commission could not pay its contractors in full.


This led to so many DESOPADEC projects being abandoned across different Local Government Areas.


DESOPADEC which was supposed to be an interventionist agency with the aim to alleviate poverty and the sufferings of the people through meaningful development then became an agent of poverty to the extent that many contractors were indebted as they could not pay the money borrowed to execute DESOPADEC projects. Many contractors had to sell their houses and were left in great dilemma.


Therefore, Pere of Seimbiri kingdom called on the present State Government to do the needful by promptly funding DESOPADEC with the full 50% of the 13% derivation funds from the federal allocation. With this DESOPADEC can be able to fulfill their stated mandates to the host communities.


High point of the meeting was the former introduction of all the Delta Ijaw Traditional Rulers present to the DESOPADEC leaders as the royal blessings was offered to the DESOPADEC leadership and the State Government to succeed in their agenda. The prayer was led by HRM. Pere Charles Ayemi-Botu (OFR) the paramount ruler and Pere of Seimbiri kingdom.

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