CHRIS Boyo is the Chairman of the Boyo Descendant Union of Jakpa community in Warri North Local Government Area of Delta State. In this interview with Gab Ejuwa, he speaks on the initial exclusion of Itsekiri from the ongoing national confab, the non-inclusion of Chief Festus Okotie-Eboh and Chief Alfred Rewane from the recent centenary awards despite their enormous contributions to the development of the country, among other issues.
What is your reaction to the exclusion of Chief Jemide’s name from delegates to the National Conference?
It was quite embarrassing and very discouraging as an Itsekiri man and most annoying was government’s statement that there was an anomaly. It’s quite shameful.
Do you see it as a set back for the Itsekiri ?
It’s gradually showing that the Itsekiri are being schemed out of things in the Nigerian polity which is an evidence of lack of leadership.
What do you think is responsible for the exclusion?
The Itsekiri can no longer speak with one voice due to lack of a leadership structure. Fragmented groups abound in the Warri Kingdom, seeking recognition for sharing the benefits of oil discovery, viz-a-viz slots for contracts and other derivable benefits and paying less attention to the political survival of the Warri Kingdom. So much hatred, in-fighting and blackmail abound amongst the Itsekiri.
Why can’t the Itsekiri have a strong and dependable political body like the UPU, Urhobo Progress Union, INC, Ijaw National Congress, ACF, Arewa Consultative Forum, IDU, Isoko Development Union and a host of other bodies that can always stand-in and lobby for their various ethnic nationalities. No one is there to lobby and speak for and on behalf of the Itsekiri nation.
What is your reaction to the unending tussle in Ugborodo leadership?
Sincerely speaking, that leadership tussle should not be there at all. My very candid and brotherly advice and plea is that parties in this tussle should come together and work for the good of their Ugborodo brothers and sisters in order to enhance the development in Ugborodo land and our kingdom. They should not forget that there are other zones itching seriously for the relocation of this project that is tearing them apart. Enough is enough, Ugborodo must progress.
Some persons are showing interest in the Federal House of Representatives, what qualities do you expect from the person that should hold this post?
Indeed, several persons are indicating interest in the Federal House of Representatives, which is their civic right. But there again, in order to have a powerful presence, we need a person like Hon. F.S. Okotie Eboh, who was there from 1954-1966 before he was cut down by the 1966 coup-whose long presence in the House gave him so much experience and dexterity in the art of politicking to the advantage of his party and constituency.
This gave birth to the Mid Western Region of old. This being the only State that has so far been created by an Act of Parliament in Nigeria. With his long stay, Okotie Eboh was able to lobby and convince his friends in the House to successfully pass the Bill for the creation of a Mid Western Region from the Old Western Region. It is our desire to regain our past glory and it is quite expedient to allow our son presently in the House to mature to a colossus in order to move our Itsekiri nation to a greater height. Experience, they say, makes perfect.
Personal ambition and interest should now be put to rest in the politics of Iwere land. Let us remember the days of the Rewanes and Begho, when experience mattered in the choice of Representation of Itsekiri in the various Houses, when the likes of Late Retd. Justice Atake, to the Senate, Late Hon. Bon Omoruwa to the Federal House, and Barrister Isaac Jemide to the Bendel State House. If we cannot get quality representation, we can build it by zeroing on the ones already acquiring the experience. Enough of the ‘it is now my turn politics in our land’. We have to nurture and groom those we have in the various Houses of Parliament to grow and give us quality representation.
And here again, we need a leadership forum for effective directives and monitoring of our representatives. This is surely going to be a bedrock for us to bounce back to political relevance in Nigeria and in our state. In conclusion, I seriously frown at the appointments of those men and women in the present confab that have served the nation in the 2nd Republic.
Their presence in the conference will hardly move the nation forward as they are all there with set minds about what they have always wanted for their ethnic nationality. You cannot teach old dogs new tricks’ is a wise saying. There should have been an age limit.