By Sunday Onye, Senior Correspondent
Rights and peace advocate, Comrade Mulade Sheriff has advised the Itsekiris and the Ijaws of Delta State to live in peace and remained united in order to fast- track the development of the oil-rich Niger Delta region.
He made the call on Wednesday, November 29, in Warri while expressing mixed feelings to a recent petition that was addressed to President Bola Tinubu on behalf of the Omadino Community, calling on the president to prevail on the Nigerian Senate’s decision to pass a bill for the establishment of the Nigerian Maritime University, Okerenkoko, instead of Okerenghigho, where they alleged the institution is actually located.
Recall, some individuals identified as Edward Omagbemi, Oritseweyinmi Emmanuel Aginejuone, and Tsaye Edeyibo-Mene, who were represented by the law firm of Robinson Ariyo and Co in Warri, Delta State, filed the petition in their appeal for the government to uphold the rule of law, specifically emphasising respect for a certain Supreme Court’s ruling in the case of one James Uluba and Ors vs Chief E.E. Sillo and Others (1972), particularly regarding the use of the name “Okerenghigho” instead of “Okerenkoko.”.
Chief Mulade, who is the Ibe Serimowei of Gbaramatu Kingdom and a leading peace advocate said that what the Niger Delta people needed at this moment in time was the overall development of the grossly neglected, marginalised region by uniting as one, and not engaging in actions that would fan disunity to their disadvantage.
His words, “It is worthy of note that Ijaws of Delta and Itsekiri produce about 80 percent of the state’s revenue but there is nothing to show for neither any single federal nor state government presence, nothing in any of our communities and local government headquarters because of hatred and division among us.
“We don’t want what happened in the Warri crisis to be reignited all over again. It is not an experience we want to go back to. That crisis set us backwards and we are just gradually recovering from that ugly episode.
“The Ijaws and the Itsekiris in Warri area have coexisted for ages. What affects one affects the other. So, to me, it is not in the best interest of the people to create division in our midst,” He reiterated.
Mulade therefore called on the Omadino people to embrace peace and collaborate with their neighbours for the overall development of the area.
“I am calling on the Itsekiri Nation, particularly Omadino people to embrace peace that will foster unity and the quest for development of the region,” and added further “Let us not give room to opportunist to benefit from our resources through conflicts. As the saying goes, when two brothers fight, a stranger inherits their properties,” he added.