The land dispute between the Delta State Government and the people of Okere community took another dramatic twist yesterday, as woman activist, Chief Rita Lori Ogbebor, decried attempt by the government to name the school on the controversial land after the Olu of Warri.
The government and the community had been tugged in legal battle over a landed property, which the Itsekiris pleaded to be spared for their cultural centre but the state government preferred the site for a model school project.
Ogbebor, in an open letter made available to Daily Sun yesterday, argued that the present attempt to name the school built by the government on the disputed land was a calculated ploy to blackmail the Okere people, who have been resolutely united in the legal fight for justice.
She warned that naming the school after the Olu of Warri would make it an open sore that would continue to hurt the sight of Okere people. Part of the letter reads: “May you live long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.
It is 5 o’clock in the morning, after soul searching throughout the night, I have decided for the good of the Itsekiri land to write this open letter to you because: The matter between the Okere people and the Delta State (Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan, an Itsekiri man) is now a public matter, we are in court and everybody is interested and waiting for an answer. “All Itsekiris hold the Olu and the palace very sacred. I was installed as your Chief on April 22, 1989, roughly 24 years ago. All Itsekiris know that I hold the institution of the palace very dearly. I have served my people. I am therefore pained to know and see the institution being dragged in the mud by a dirty, messy, selfish case that is now before the court of law.
Your name, which spells hope, justice and fair play is being hung on a controversial school which the Okere people will always look upon with great pain from generation to generation. It is like a sore on the face which one sees in the mirror every day. It is a matter the Okere people will fight from generation to generation. “You have six chiefs in Okere and we are all united in our resolve.
Your name being hung on this controversial school is a way to intimidate, marginalise and blackmail the Okere people. I, as your chief, am resolved like I have done in many cases in the past to stand and protect the throne from dirty politics, which will erode the confidence and love of the Itsekiri people for the throne.
“If governor Uduaghan is really patriotic, as he wants us to believe, like we told him in our earlier meetings, he should imitate what ex-governor Ibori did in his village (Oghara), where he built a secondary school, a polytechnic, a university and a teaching hospital. He should do the same and put the name of the Olu. That is what befits your name-not a controversial model school.
This matter has been in and out of your palace. May your God and the God of the Itsekiris guide our nation.”