By Jimitota Onoyume, Asst News Editor
WARRI- SULTAN of Sokoto, His Eminence, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, has frowned at the unacceptable condition of the oil city of Warri in Delta State, saying with the resource generated from the area, it should be one of the most developed cities in the world.
Abubakar III, who was special guest of honour, spoke at the 3rd coronation anniversary of the Olu of Warri, His Majesty, Ogiame Ikenwoli, at Warri, penultimate Wednesday, where Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu, who represented the Federal Government, spoke.
Governor of the state, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, commented on the development strides of his administration in Warri and future plans to develop the oil city.
The rich culture of Itsekiri nation with the colourful traditional attires and dances of the people was also on display during the anniversary. While Sultan and other dignitaries hailed the ethnic group, Kachikwu specially called for it to be packaged occasionally to promote tourism in the country.
Sultan hails Olu for promoting peace
The Sultan lauded the Itsekiri monarch for his drive for peace among his neighbours, adding that since he (Olu) mounted the throne, he has been building bridges of national unity.
He assured that as traditional rulers, they would continue to promote peace in their various kingdoms, pleading that the electorate should use their votes wisely to elect leaders that will serve them.
The Sokoto monarch blamed anger in the land on poverty and bad leadership by successive governments, pleading that Nigerians should be guided by the promises of politicians ahead of the general polls in choosing their leaders.
Okowa promises N3.5bn for Trans Warri Road
Governor of Delta State, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, who also eulogized the Itsekiri monarch for promoting peaceful values since mounting the throne, said his government was working to ensure the release of N3.5 billion for the Trans Warri Road, adding that it was committed to the construction of several other roads in Itsekiri communities and other parts of the state.
He disclosed that the government had conducted a thorough drainage study to redress the drainage problem, adding that N3 billion will be expended to tackle the drainage challenge in the oil-rich city.
Buhari assures of development of Warri
President Muhammadu Buhari who was represented by the Minister of State for Petroleum, Dr Ibe Kachikwu lauded the Itsekiri monarch for promoting peace, adding that the Federal Government was determined to develop Warri and its environs.
He spoke on efforts by the government to end gas flaring by 2020, assuring also that President Buhari’s government would deliver a free and fair election next year, adding: “Holding on to power is not his calling. He will ensure a free and fair election.”
Groups in Warri also laud the peaceful mien of Olu
Chairman, Abigborodo community, Monday Msgbeyi, University of Benin Alumni Association, Warri branch representative, Mr Olulade Festus, Ologbotsere descendants, Ebiren Lori Society, Faithful Sisters, Uwangue delegation, Otonloye( a frontline Itsekiri body), Alhaji Zubairu Muhammed of the Hausa community in Warri and several others, described the Olu as a man of peace, stressing that since he assumed the throne, his cardinal focus has been promoting peaceful co-existence between the Itsekiri and her neighbours.
Mr Olulade of Uniben Alumni Association, who disclosed that the monarch is the grand patron of the group, advised that his value for peace should be emulated.
Olu bemoans neglect
Olu of Warri, in his address lamented the neglect of Itsekiri communities by the Federal Government despite being an oil-rich city.
“While the country derives a great deal from the bowel of our homeland, including but not limited to crude oil and gas exploitation, not much in terms of commensurate returns ever gets to our people and our environment is left to suffer degradation that remains after the exploitation.”
He thanked the Federal Government for ongoing work on the Koko-Ogheye road project, appealing to the government to resume work on the Ogidigben Gas Revolution City project in Escravos.
Continuing, he called on all parties around the crisis impeding smooth take off of the new board of the Itsekiri Regional Development Council, IRDC to sheath their sword for the common good of the Itsekiri nation, stressing that it was regrettable that money meant for development of Itsekiri nation to be managed by the IRDC could not be applied for the purpose at the moment because of the crisis.