•No militancy, it’s all lies against Okubo —Andrew Igiri, community leader
By Emma Amaize
EX-MILITANT leader and former Senior Special Assistant, SSA, to Edo State Government on Surveillance/Waterways Security, Robert Okubo, accused of terrorising villagers and setting up a parallel government at Inikorogha Community in Ovia South-West Local Government area of the state, has rebutted the accusations.
A community leader, Andrew Igiri, who corroborated his claim, said some people who want to take over Inikorogha by hook or crook were the ones causing trouble in an otherwise peaceful settlement.
I didn’t recruit ex-militants against my people
Dismissing the charge that he commandeered the community with ex-militants from neighboring states, Okubo said: “It is not correct, Inikorogha Community people are living in peace, and they can come for a visit.”
Is he saying that the Amaokosuwei (eldest man and head) of Inikorogha Community, Joseph Megbuwei, who cried out, recently, that he (Robert) was intimidating the people with ex-militants lied, the ex-militant leader responded: “I don’t think this is coming from the Amaokosuwei to be, because the entire Inikorogha Community is very peaceful and, if this is truly coming from the Amaokosuwei, it means he is doing so under some influence.”
He denied constituting a parallel government, saying: “There is nothing like installation of new executive because the current executive tenure has not ended.
Secondly, nobody was beaten; they came to Inikorogha Community with 15 armed mobile policemen and 35 vigilante members for the installation of the Amaokosuwei, but the Amaokosuwei to be disappointed them by travelling out of the community without letting those that came with him from Benin to know. Nobody was beaten.”
PDP leaders want to take control
His words: “The only problem we have in Inikorogha is that some Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, group, under the leadership of Godstime Ogidigba, Atiga Magbuwei, Sunday Kiriya and one Daniel Pere, who is not from this community, are trying to force new executive on Inikorogha people, when we have an execo that their tenure has not expired.
“We have police post in the community. They can confirm to the world that Inikorogha is peaceful. The PDP guys in government gathered some community elders that stays in Warri, Benin, Lagos etc., and came to try to change the executive when their tenure has not expired.
“They are just trying to give a dog a bad name to hang it, because I refused to join the PDP. I decided to stay back at All Progressives Congress, APC, because APC is the party that I belong to. They are doing all these things just to bring me down politically, but God Almighty has failed them, because I have done a lot for my people. Ninety-nine per cent of the entire community is with me.
“Inikorogha is a community that I provided with seven boreholes, built a primary school, market, hospital, solar lights; we brought MTN masts and, during former governor Adams Oshiomhole’s era, we gave jobs to 418 persons, including Godstime Ogidigba, Sunday Kiriya etc. Daniel Pere is not from Olodiama Clan and he is just deceiving them,” he added.
I’ve not committed any crime
Asked if he was aware that security agents were on manhunt for him, the ex-militant leader said: “I am not aware that security agents are looking for me. I have not committed any crime that will make security agents come for me. I have worked with them for 12 years now and I don’t have any criminal records.
“The likes of Daniel Pere, Godstime Ogidigba, Atiga Magbuwei, Sunday Kiriya etc. are trying to use Edo State government against me. What they claimed is happening at Inikorogha Community is just politics. They have lied to the security agents that there are arms and ammunition at Inikorogha and the security agents have visited the community four times with gunboats and drones, without finding anything incriminating.
“They are just making the government waste money with their lies, just to get appointments and to be relevant in Edo State politics. My question is this, ‘must you destroy your leaders to become a leader?’
“In addition to what I said, the Amaokosuwei does not have the right to install anyone of his choice as a community chairman. It must be a collective decision. The Amaokosuwei to be has not even been installed as the community leader,” he stated.
Nothing like militancy —Igiri
Andrew Igiri, speaking to Niger Delta Voice, NDV, said: “There is nothing like militancy, nor any harassment going on in Inikorogha Community. The accusers are only lying and trying to instigating the government against the community, just to give a dog a bad name. Also they have been boasting that it is their government (PDP) that is in power, and that they will be coming to take over the community.
“They further lied that Okubo Robert is grooming militants from Ondo, Delta and other states, in the community. They are all lies just to give a dog a bad name.
“But there is point of correction, Ijaw communities are governed by Ijaw traditions and not political parties. They also brought in parallel executives, when there is an existing exco in the community working for the overall interest of all. The community executive is headed by Timi Edu, while the youth body is headed by Pereke Ukulor. So, they cannot come from anywhere and put up a parallel executive, when the present executive tenure has not expired.
“And again, the community has a working document that is guiding it, which says, and I quote: ‘Except an executive member is been found wanting in embezzlement, or involved in criminal activities, that is when he or she can be removed from office’; otherwise, they should remain silent.
More lies against Okubo
“They also lied to the military and the military came to Inikorogha with gunboats and drones and found out that it was all lies, and they left. Now, the only option they have is to instigate the Edo State government against the community.
“They also mentioned that the Udo-Inikorogha–Ofunama road contract was awarded to Okubo Robert and that he (Okubo) ate the money. These are all lies, because the above-mentioned road construction was approved during ex-President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration through the Niger Delta Development Company, NDDC, to a construction company called Japaul, and not Okubo, and the road is still left undone by the company,” he said.
Igiri urged Edo State government to disregard those bent on fomenting non-existent crisis in Inikorogha, for selfish reasons.