By Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South
“WARRI Boys”, under the auspices of the Warri Rebirth Initiative, WRI, are planning to revive the good old days of the oil city of Warri in Delta State, which was detribalized and united, by collaborating with the state government, development agencies and stakeholders to build a new Warri mega city .
The WRI, whose membership includes Urhobo, Itsekiri, Ijaw, Isoko, Anioma, Yoruba and Igbo natives, who lived in Warri of between the sixties and eighties before it was torn apart by inter-ethnic crises, headed by Mr. Kes Agbosa, who is the acting General Manager, Public Affairs, Delta Steel Company, DSC, Plc, Aladja, Delta State, has already drawn up a blueprint for the mega city.
The group, at the moment, is the major rallying point for Warri elite from different ethnic groups that are interested in the transformation of Warri from its present state of debauchery to a better future. It is a non-partisan association of Wafarians who dislike the animosity and bitterness in today’s Warri and believe that, without unity, Warri would not make progress.
Barring any odd, the group is putting together, in November, a carnival, tagged, “Warri Day”, to further unite the ethnic nationalities in Warri. The carnival committee is headed by Mr. Patrick Origho, a veteran permanent secretary in the state’s civil service.
Origho said his committee has plans to stage a novelty football match between Warri Boys and Warri Babes or feature other clubs on the carnival day, tentatively fixed for November 26; invite different cultural dance troupes from the ethnic nationalities, notably Agbasa dance, Okere dance, Calabar/Efik dance, Wawa dance, Isoko, dance and others in addition to other events.
The Warri Development Committee, which has Engr. Eric Ilogho, Engr. Alex Neyin, Mr. E.S George, Prof. Peter Eruotor, Mr. Ben Akpasubi, Mr. Matthew Akiri, Caesar Kagho, Cyril Ezomo, Godwin Uweru, O.P. Origho as members, submitted its report to the larger body, June 26, and drew a large applause for the profundity of its work.
However, the WRI interim chairman, Agbosa, said the proposal would be kept under wraps until the input of the other stakeholders were sought because the development of Warri was not a matter for one group, but all true Wafarians, and government.
Eminent Wafarians are invited at each meeting of the group to give talks on how Warri would move forward and the guest speaker at the last meeting was Mr. E.S. George, who stated that the idea of developing Warri to a mega city would not succeed if the people themselves were not first developed.
He said, “It is not just about mega city, but mega people also as nothing will change except the way the people think also change, we have to involve the people, as many people as possible in the Warri mega city project”, adding, “Ninety per cent of the problem are based on the system, but 10 per cent are on human errors”.
He, however, said the best thing was to solve the 10 per cent human errors and once that was done, things would begin to change. The guest speaker pointed out that things would change in Warri if the way the people relate with others change and if people begin to think differently on how to live together as one and not live together as enemies.
George said it was not possible to develop Warri without the people just as no country could be developed without the participation of its people, stressing, “If you don’t involve the people, they will not be committed to what you are doing, we need to involve our people, when you involve them, they will get excited, we have to ask ourselves and determine what kind of city we want in the next five to 10 years. Market women, ‘deve’ collection boys and every stakeholder must be involved”.
“In building a new Warri, the spirit of fairness and justice must not be violated, the principles should not be case overboard, the former President , General Ibrahim Babaginda annulled the June 12, 1993 Presidential election against the principles of justice and fairness and it is still counting against him till today”.
Above all, he stated that the operators of the system must be men that have core values because “values are what will make them work out solution to change Warri”. “Without core values, there cannot be foundational policies, without values and principles, people do things anyhow”, the guest speaker stated.
“All physical infrastructure will make meaning only when the attitude of the people is changed. If your attitude towards road building as a contractor is good, you will build road that will last, but if it is to grab at the expense of the people, it will not last, so, there has to be an attitudinal change before things will change in Warri”.