United Bank Africa

Self Acclaimed “Delta Proper” and Sudden Affection For Delta Igbo Neighbours

By Nnamdi Ekweogu
Shouldn’t it be “cause for worry” and a surprise to you the sudden “Love” Urhobos, Ijaws and others known to throw words about the same people, are beginning to show to the Igbos of Delta and Rivers States?
Was it not these same set of people that always called themselves “Delta Proper” but chided and called their Igbo neighbors usurpers and fake Deltans? Same thing happened/happening in Rivers where the Ijaws felt and still feel they are more Rivers than Ogonis, Ikwerres, Ndokis and other Igbo groups there.
In 1991, when Delta State was created and Asaba made the Capital, was it not these same people that protested, drew blood, destroyed properties, insulted their Igbo neighbors and told them to go back to where they come from?
Didn’t the first Governor of Delta State Chief Felix Ibru, rule from Warri rather than Asaba the State Capital, before the Abacha’s coup that sacked all civilian Governors?
Didn’t James Ibori spend more time in Warri and Oghara than he did in Asaba? Even developed Warri and Oghara  within that period more than he did for Asaba?
Was it not these same Urhobos and ors that fought tooth and nail to making sure an Igbo man doesn’t emerge as Governor and made sure that Igbos in Delta State don’t breathe and also made them feel like second class citizens?
Was it not these same people that accused Maryam Babangida (An Igbo woman from Asaba) for conspiring with IBB, her husband to making Asaba the Capital rather than Warri (that was in the heat of ethnic war and massive blood spilling, even up till now)? We even heard comments, slants and insults like; “IBB use Asaba take pay Maryam bride price”
Go to Warri and Asaba and tell me which is more developed.
Fast forward to 2017, these same people have decided to do 360 degrees and turn logic on its head looking for land to grab as there’s? I don’t blame them, I blame the boneheads and simpletons that failed to read and study history.
The above reminds me of what Ikwerres and other Igbo groups in Rivers, suffered in the hands of the Ijaws, after the war. The Ijaws saw every inch of land and wealth in Rivers as theirs, which led to lots of bloody inter-ethnic wars in the 80s and 90s (Okrika (Ijaw) vs. Ikwerres), (Okrika (Ijaw) vs Ogonis) (Andonis vs. Opobos) etc. etc.
And even till now there’s an ongoing real and cold war. Infact at a point Ijaws took everything leaving Ogonis their co-conspirators behind, which made Ken Saro-Wiwa out of frustration and regret to write that his famous letter; “AWO & THE CREATION OF STATES” to Awolowo in 1985?
In 1991, Dr. Obi Wali from Rumuigbo, wept when Abia State was created and Port-Harcourt State that he’s been clamoring for didn’t sail thru. (FYI, Obi Wali wanted a Port-Harcourt State that would cater for all Igbo speaking groups in Rivers State). He got so frustrated, bitter and regretted the actions of his kinsmen’ identity confusion. Dr. Obi Wali was to right that misnomer and was getting set to deliver a paper at the Annual Ahiajioku lecture series at the Obiri Odenigbo, Owerri, before he was gruesomely murdered in 1994. WHO MURDERED OBI WALI?
Two years later, in 1996, during Abacha’s regime, when the rumour of another round of States’ creation was rife, the King of Port-Harcourt, Eze Apara Rebisi XI, Eze Sunday Nnanta Woluchem, led a delegation of Ikwerre traditional and political leaders to meet Nnamdi Azikiwe at Onitsha and pleaded with him on the need to create a State for his brothers, that will have the Igbo groups as majority, because they’ve suffered enough. Zik, at age 92 was too frail, but pressed the right buttons. Under his behest, linked them up to meet former VP, Ebitu Ukiwe from Abia State at his residence in Victoria Island, Lagos.
On the other hand, Ijaw leaders struggled to add Bonny to Bayelsa, but failed. They went ahead to try to add Ahoada, if they had succeeded BAYELSA (BRASS YENAGOA SAGBAMA) would have been ABAYELSA (AHOADA BRASS YENAGOA SAGBAMA), But were stopped on their tracks when Chief Cheta Nwuche (the father to Hon. Chibudom Nwuche; former Deputy Speaker House Of Reps) and a strong member of Ohaneze Ndigbo, ran to Arthur Mbanefo and with his help, that plan failed and scattered like a pack of cards. Hence the name BAYELSA as against ABAYELSA.
Have you asked yourself why in 2007, highly popular and favoured, Dr. Peter Odili (former Governor of Rivers State) was dropped as VP to Umaru Musa Yar’adua, just at the dead end to the PDP primaries and little known Goodluck Jonathan was conscripted as VP? Let me help you with the answer;
The Ijaw leaders led by E.K Clarke and co., told Obasanjo point blank that Dr. Peter Odili is an Igbo man, that if at all they needed a Niger Deltan, it must be someone from “Niger Delta proper”, using militancy as their bargaining chip. On one hand, James Ibori struggled, skimmed and fought hard to get it. It then turned to a battle between Ijaws and Urhobos. Trust OBJ, he didn’t want a gra-gra and hot-headed man like Ibori. Surprisingly and to the chagrin of all, he went for quiet and little known Goodluck Jonathan. Even after 10yrs, Dr. Peter Odili is yet to recover from that fatal blow.
Do you know why some South-South Governors fought so hard to making sure GEJ didn’t emerge as VP in 2007 and as President in 2011? Let me stop here, I will leave you to do the remaining calculations yourself.