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Yesterday is gone. Yesterday should be gone.Yesterday should be gone forever without a furtive look occasionally cast at today.But yesterday is not gone because it has recently been resurrected and brought back into idle conversations and pseudo-intellectual discourses of today in the wake of the 14 March Okuama(Okubama) massacre in Ughelli South Local Government Area of Delta State.

The apostles of this exhumed yesterday are the chameleonic ethnic jingoists – rabidly in search of spaces to display their congenitally and preternaturally indoctrinated views and kleptomaniac capabilities, though currently barred by their shaky circumstances. These are the atrociously -grammared pseudo-intellectuals and idle commentators on the social media whose correctional sieve-free, pseudo-historical fabrication, verbal cartography, ethnic chauvinism and pontifications are driven by a mania to convince the public that they are the only true patriots of Ijaw nationality whose self-opinionated views must become the thesis and dissertation of every student – or perhaps the orgasm of every participant in the Adam-Eveic game of willing slide and swings usually enacted with absolute privacy on the ‘Bermudan fairground’.

His Excellency Senator Lawrence Ehwrudjakpo is the deputy governor of Bayelsa State. Before he became the deputy governor of Bayelsa State there was a ferocious wind of
self-opinionated demagoguery, declamations, verbal denigration, indoctrination, radicalisation, verbiage, delirious melancholia, paranoia, ‘facebook-mania’ and vindictiveness against him premised on the knowledge that he was an Urhobo man – as perceived idiosyncratically and propagandised by the so-called ethnic jingoists. The verbal storm that raged against His Excellency Ehwrudjakpo was activated by some ethnic jingoists who employed the services of pseudo-intellectuals and idle commentators (Facebook vampires) on the social media to ‘hyperbolise’ it without first drawing on the knowledge available in the history of Bayelsa State. For being ideologically stuck to His Excellency Ehwrujadkpo as his deputy governor despite the man-made rising storm, His Excellency Governor Douye Diri was even subjected to verbal pulverisation.

What is indeed wrong with an Urhobo man resident in Bayelsa state becoming a deputy governor even if his true biological roots are not historically buried there? Ethnicity does not define and determine performance competence and prudent management of resources in government. It is an emanation from individual capacity, not tied to the roots of one’s ethnicity. If it is an Urhobo man who has the capacity and competence to developmentally place Bayelsa State on the right path, it should be a commendable development because performance competence is the centre-piece of governance in any position. It is an echo of irrationality to begrudge an Urhobo man deemed developmentally competent enough to hold the office of a governor or deputy governor in any state of residence with or without any geographical licence of belongingness and indigeneship if the age-long conventions allow it.

The ‘whys’ of why an Urhobo man should hold this position or that position in Bayelsa State and else where in Nigeria assume deafening stridency or high decibel in the wake of the 14 March 2024 Okuama massacre that led to the death of seventeen soldiers in Delta State over which the culprits are still being furiously searched for. Ethnicity does not produce competence, patriotism and productivity in office. The resultant performance miracle often demanded by the society stems from the individual. It does not recognise tribe.

A universal acknowledgement powered by biological exposure is that no ethnic group has special performance competence genes physiologically built into the body at birth, responsive to activation and deployment when demanded in official position.Performance competence in office does not recognise ethnicity. If it were so, why has PAP (Presidential Amnesty Programme) performed dismally over the years? Apart from Major General Godwin O.Abebe (2009-2010) and Air Vice Marshal Lucky Ochuko Ararile (June 2009- April 2010), the PAP office has often being run by Ijaw people – Timi Alaibe ( 2008/2010), Hon.Kingsley Kemebradigha Kuku (2011-2015), Brigadier-General PT. Boroh (July 28-March 13 2018), Prof. Charles Quaker Dokubo (13 March 2018-August 26 2020), Col.Milland Dixon Dikio (August 2020-August 2022) and Major- General Barry Tariye Ndiomu (September 2022-March 2024).When these Ijaw personalities from Rivers and Bayelsa States were appointed PAP Administrators, the ethnic jingoists jubilated that authentic Ijaw men had been rightly appointed to man the office of PAP. To the ethnic jingoists, Heaven was developmentally on earth. Did these applauded personalities run the office admirably as rabidly anticipated by the apostles of ethnicity? Doesn’t this show that humans must be concerned with performance competence in office because it is not dictated by roots of ethnicity?

Today the PAP office is in the hands of Chief Dr. Dennis Otuaro from Delta state. Stuck to their known attitudinal convention or theology, the ethnic jingoists have started their impetuous jubilant dance that it would be developmental Uhuru for PAP since Chief Dr Otuaro is an Ijaw man from Delta State – a jubilant impetuous dance that may dramatically metamorphose into a maiden dance of castigation if events don’t fall ‘wekezi’ into their tainted individual idiosyncratic mould,idiosyncratic expectations, idiosyncratic prescriptions and projections.Syllogistically, this anticipation is wrong. My alignment is with the position that Chief Dr Otuaro will do well in his office based on his antecedents. However, whether or not he performs well in his office will not be a product of his roots as an Ijaw man but it will be a product of his competence, prudent management of resources and philosophy of development and performance. Ethnicity has no space here, only compositions and characterisations of the individual appointee have a comfortable space here.

Again, for the Ijaw ethnic jingoists obsessed with Urhobo this and that in Bayelsa State over a matter that is not even tangentially connected to such positional and governance matter, should know that to bear Urhobo names as both first name and surname does not diminish or invalidate one’s root of Ijawness, particularly where one’s roots of Ijawness are maternally traced. Must such a person whose roots of Ijawness are maternal not be addressed as an Ijaw man, but rather than as an Urhobo man depending on the indigeneship choice of the person? May be this is the categorisation around which His Excellency Ehwrudjakpo’s roots journey in varied forms until authentically claimed by the root-owner in words in opposition to the claims of ethnic jingoists

However the magnetism of our idiosyncratic perceptions, let us always learn to adopt as a philosophy that if an Urhobo man errs in position, single him out for correctional castigation, not the entire Urhobo ethnic group because such impetuous extension to incriminate and verbally cremate all the Urhobos would be a hallmark of hasty generalization replete with ignition points for ethnic tension.

I think the time has come for ethnic jingoists to stop the impetuous categorisation of true Ijaw people as Urhobos when it borders on elective or appointive struggle for spaces available. The Urhobos and the Ijaws have often intermarried over the years.Hardly can you find a family in Ijaw that does not have Urhobo roots because of the long history of intermarriage.It is this history of age-long intermarriage that one can find Urhobo communities geographically sandwiched between Ijaw communities in Delta State.Ofoni is an Ijaw community in Bayelsa State where they speak both Ijaw and Urhobo languages because of intermarriage. Though biologically rooted in Ijaw, some of them bear pure Urhobo names occasioned majorly by maternal and paternal variations in roots of origin –which is even the phenomenon in Kiagbodo community in Delta state – Kiagbodo community which is purely an Ijaw community linguistically divided into Urhobo and Ijaw in communication. Must we label such people in Ofoni or Kiagbodo Urhobo and deny them their entitlements? And even where it is historically authentic that they are not Ijaws, doesn’t their performance competence matter if it is spotted?

It would be intellectually nourishing to look at this issue in its varied forms.If the Urhobos, by geographical location, find themselves in a distinct community in Bayelsa State as indigenes as some Ijaws are in Edo, Akwa Ibom, Ondo State and others, sons and daughters of Urhobo distinguished by performance competence can hold any elective or appointive position in Bayelsa State.Wild outbursts against this on the social media is a dissipation of time and energy.Would you be happy if you are deprived of your entitlements in Edo, Ondo, Akwa Ibom and other states into which some Ijaws have been thrown through calculated fate of balkanisation? Must you deprive the Urhobos of their elective and appointive entitlements if they geographically or geopolitically belong to Bayelsa State?

It is high time we stopped the gratuitous sale of individual pretensions, predispositions and preconceptions on the social media because such individual stands don’t reflect the mainstream position of the Ijaws whose hands are always historically thrown open to any person possessed of performance competence irrespective of the ethnic or geographic roots of origin.

Commendable performance in office must not be linked to biological or historical rootedness in a particular ethnic group. Performance competence in office is dead to the language of ethnicity. Ethnic jingoists should know that an Urhobo man can hold any appointive or elective office in Bayelsa State provided he or she has the capacity to perform stainlessly in the position held. The tribe is not a barrier; the individual is the barrier because of different compositions. Among the many freedom Ijaw ex-agitators, Chief Dr Tompolo is doing well today not because he is an Ijaw man but because he is an individual distinguished by his own philosophy – a philosophy driven by obsession with the betterment of man on earth. ‘Zebrudayaically’, can the pathological ethnic Jingoists saw what I see?

Bayelsa State-consolidated instigative, denigratory outbursts against Urhobos –an unpaid job feverishly taken up as a moonlighting engagement by the pseudo-intellectuals and idle commentators on the social media in the wake of the 2024 Okuama massacre – must stop now. Don’t begrudge any Urhobo man for elective or appointive position held in Bayelsa State as long as performance competence is not questioned.Ethnicity-based jingoistic outbursts on the social media targeted at any ethnic group heightens ethnic tension between tribes even where it is clearly known that the jingoist dance of pseudo- intellectuals and idle commentators on social media does not reflect the mainstream positions of the true Ijaws intellectually equipped and historically exposed to such issues, particularly where the authentic thinking Ijaws are daily armed with the knowledge that the condemnable 14 March 2024 Okuama massacre has no bearing on the elective and appointive compositions of Urhobos in Bayelsa State .

It truly worries the community of intelligentsia that this propagandist excitation, propagandist pastime, propagandist dance, preponderantly popularised by those who are not even from Bayelsa State, some of whom are among those ethnic jingoists whose words and deeds cumulatively suggest that they are great shareholders in the conglomerate that routinely distracts development organs in the world.

Ethnic jingoists seem to have radicalised their minds to abolish or knock into extinction the ancient democratic culture of Ijaw people. Over the years the Ijaws are historically known for creation of elective and appointive spaces for people strictly on relationality to possession of performance competence without thoughts of consanguineous ties. Is it not a core democratic element of Ijaw cultural recognition that in their various communities councilorship and chairmanship spaces are thrown open to even strangers who have admirably given behavioural account of themselves in relation to possession of performance competence in communal affairs? Have the ethnic jingoists forgotten this democratic component of Ijaw culture that prioritises performance competence over geographical or geopolitical considerations in their different communities? Then why this anti-cultural and anti-historical showmanship shamelessly advertised by these reckless ethnic jingoists and Facebook vampires?

Those verbally delirious songbirds on the social media disgustingly dismissed as Facebook vampires must be ignored by the authentic Urhobos and the Ijaws who are historically familiar with the true behavioural and ideological compositions of their ethnic groups on every issue of public interest, even without the verbal delirium displayed by the accredited Facebook vampires on every issue.It even shocks and pains that with some disgusting amount of irredeemable condescension these so-called pseudo-intellectuals and idle commentators (Facebook vampires) on the social media term the appointive and elective cordiality between their so-labelled Urhobos and the Ijaws in Bayelsa State a ‘stupidity’ – a stupidity that is called into being to derogate the Ijaws for being in elective and appointive harmony with the Urhobos.Is this not ‘Soyinkally’ unpalatable, ‘redundant’ and ‘uncivilised’ as Lakunle would be grammatically tempted to say in The Lion and the Jewel?

Global concerns in governance issues always essentialise the need to strive to discard ethnicity as one would a torn piece of cloth and valorise performance competence visible in the man like the radiant rising sun.The Kenya-rooted Barack Obama became the president of America on account of performance competence.Is the Obama example not enough to guide and silence ethnic chauvinists on the issue of Urhobo this and Urhobo that on the social media?

What is actually wrong with an Urhobo man holding elective or appointive position in Bayelsa state as long as the person has the performance competence as exampled by Senator Lawrence Ehwrudjakpo? Pseudo-intellectuals and idle commentators on the social media must watch their impetuous, instigative outbursts on matters that are not connected to the Okuama massacre when the matter itself is being professionally tackled by the concerned authorities. May we always retain the respective names of our fathers and mothers so that the secular space does not become too befogged for human habitation.

We must feel obliged to make the secular space the honeyed haunt for all birds to perch however their variegated pigmentations by not being distracted by the ravings of pseudo-intellectuals and delirious Facebook vampires who perpetually market bad products and contraband on the social media in their individual capacities and send wrong signals to other ethnic groups because they pass themselves off as patriots of their perceived ethnic groups with false assumptions.Urhobo and Ijaw are always partners in progress who will never be distracted by Facebook vampires that always rave without a defined ideology. Urhobo wado! Haan Izon!

By: Ekanpou Enewaridideke

Writes from Akparemogbene, Delta State.

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