ACTIVIST and Igba of Warri, Chief Rita Lori-Ogbebor has vowed to take it personal with emerged Itsekiri lone representative at the National Dialogue, Chief Isaac Jemide, if he fails to speak the collective interest of the Itsekiri at the National Conference which opens Monday.
Chief Lori-Ogbebor was reacting yesterday in Warri, Delta State to doubts among Itsekiri whether Chief Jemide’s last minute listing among the Confab delegates was intended as a state delegate or as representative of his ethnic Itsekiri who had challenged their exclusion in the original delegates list.
At an Itsekiri National Confab she facilitated in Warri to articulate the Istekiri agenda at the National Dialogue, Lori- Ogbebor said Chief Jemide is duty bound to fly the Itsekiri flag at the Conference irrespective of the circumstance of his appointment.
“We were completely left out. We fought together. Now we have Chief Jemide. He is first an Itsekiri before any other identity. I invited him in writing to this conference to fashion the Itsekiri agenda and he is not here. Go and tell him, if he goes there to undermine the interest of Itsekiri, I will fight him.
“I am known to be a fighter for just courses wherever I find my self. But when I fight justly in my own Itsekiri land I fight with a blunt knife because I fight among my own brothers. But on this Confab, if anybody tries to play with our lives, our interest, I will fight with a sharp knife, double egded.”
In his reservations at the meeting, however, a lawyer, Wilson Alatsa, cautioned that Chief Jemide was not the issue, saying what was paramount was for the Itsekiri nation to rally round him to articulate the common purpose of the Delta ethnic minority.
“The credentials of Jemide are not in doubt. We should even count ourselves lucky he emerged from Itsekiri. The real reason we have been gradually losing our pride and respect in recent time is because we drifted into a generation which allows unqualified persons to represent us in various spheres in the larger Nigerian circle.
“Without doubt, if the choice of who represents us was by election, unqaulified persons no where near the staure of Jemide would have hijacked the process and imposed themselves on us. What we need now is a support committee to assist Jemide in charting the Itsekiri agenda.
The Lori-Ogbebor Itsekiri Committee on National Confab was already constituting the Jemide Support Committee at the time of filing this report.
The occassion was chaired by one of the high profile South West delegates to National Conference, Gen. Alami Akirinade, who accepted Itsekiri’s desire to fuse with the Yorubas in fighting common agenda at the confab.