Uzanu Community Worldwide
“Those who cannot remember the past are doomed to repeat it”.
This quotation often attributed to philosopher George Santayana highlights the need to take history and the lessons that history offers into account in taking decisions.
We are compelled to write this rejoinder following some insensitive and untruth post following the purported dissolution of South-East Uneme clan which was created out of South Uneme Clan.
This is because we are essentially people of peace and will always shy away from controversies since it is an ill-wind that serves nobody well.
It is rather very curious, ridiculous, and most unfortunate that the political actors in Edo state as represented at present by his Excellency Godwin Obaseki the Governor of Edo state and his Deputy Comrade Philip Shaibu, have elected to sow the seeds of discord and disaffection instead of fostering peaceful co-existence between the Igiode and Uzanu communities which by God’s grace is under their suzerainty at present.
Instead of being harbingers of peace, they have chosen to become agents and fomenters of discord and disharmony.
Disputes among neighbouring communities is not new and has always been with humanity. What is expected of good and astute leaders is to work assiduously to foster peaceful co-existence among communities since no community exists as an island.
It is rather sad, that the powers-that-be in Edo state today instead of towing the hallowed and honoured path of peace and reconciliation have chosen the ignominious, inglorious, and ignoble path by taking side with one community against the other.
Instead of playing the father figure as it is expected and taking sure and purposeful steps towards a peaceful resolutions of the issues at stake, what the government of Edo state has decided to do is to deliberately provoke and set the two neighbouring communities on the path of war.
War as we know does not do anybody any good. You may know when it starts but the end and out come no one can determine.
Yes, it is conceded that there are issues between Uneme-Uzanu and the Igiode Community as it relates to the boundaries between the two neighbouring communities, but this is not unusual as there are other communities with the same issue.
The issue in dispute relates to land for which there is an extant Court of Appeal decision in Suit No. HAU/28/78 delivered by the Honourable Justice J.B. Amissah of the Auchi High court on the 20/11/79; Suit No.HAU15A/72 delivered by the Honourable Justice J.Omo Ebohon 8 August 1973 and Suit No. HAU/13/72, with all decisions in the favour of Uneme-Uzanu.
Subsequently, an Appeal to the Supreme Court No.SC.386/74 Filed by Igiode Community was dismissed on 26 January1976 while another Appeal in No.SC411/74 was struck out and another subsisting legal matter in court.
Instead of reconciling the two communities in an impartial manner or allow the courts to make their pronouncements on same as it was in the past, Governor together with his deputy has decided to make political capital out of it and use the issue as an avenue to extract his pound of flesh from Prince Clement Agba, the current Honourable Minister of State for Budget and National Planning, an illustrious son of the community in whom they are well pleased because of the unquantifiable development that has been the lot of the community through his efforts.
There is this saying that is often attributed to Ukpabi Asika and it goes thus: since man to man has become so unjust, I have no friend to trust.
Friends today, enemies tomorrow. It is an open secret that there has been no love lost between the current Governor of Edo state, Godwin Obaseki, and the Honourable Minister of state for budget and National Planning, Prince Clement Agba.
Of course, both served in the government of Comrade Adams Oshiomhole. If else while friends decided to become foes, it is within their right.
But what is not within their right and is wrong and condemnable is for the Governor to seek to gain political mileage and exert his pound of flesh by setting two communities who are neighbours and where leaving in peace and harmony against each other.
We will always appeal to our political actors to eschew violence and tread the path of peace and harmony. They must never be allowed to use the people as pawn in settling their political scores and differences.
We are using this medium to call on all men of good will in the two communities to listen to the voice of reason and not allow themselves to be used to settle political scores by politicians who do not have their interests at heart but are rather out to settle pollical scores. We must remember that political actors come and go but the two communities will remain.
The powers-that-be today may favour you but remember that they will not always be there. It is our duty to continue to foster and fortify the bonds that hold us together instead of severing the bonds with the knife of political vendetta. We should be mindful of the fact that It is a double edge sword that can cut either way.
We have people in Igiode community that are our friends and wives. We eat and drink together. We share in the struggles of life as a common people.
At this juncture, it is imperative for us to respond to the issues raised in a FaceBook Post by Edo North media Team 4 PDP to set the records straight for the sake of posterity.
Like Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, a foremost political actor rightly admonished his fellow politicians, “this is not necessarily bad since many of us belongs to this social class. But you will find yourselves willy-nilly in the company of mediocrities and non-entities who depend upon extraneous factors and so succeed and not necessarily upon their own merits and honey efforts”.
The obviously sponsored write-up by Edo North Media Team 4 PDP in Facebook, we must confess is riddled with untruths, fallacies and inaccuracies.
Not only is the report jaundiced, but it is also aimed at further fanning the embers of discord between the two neighbouring communities.
The quest for Peace should always be our aim, as peace is the pre-requisites for any meaningful development to take place.
We call on the Igiode Community to reject Obaseki’s trojan horse of a gift. It is a poisoned chalice that they must refrain from drinking, they should instead continue to work with people of goodwill to resolve this issue between them and Uzanu community.
Before this rather unfortunate step by the Deputy Governor, there has been peace arrangement championed by Prince Clem Agba and some well-meaning Stakeholders from Igiode community and other Weppa & Uwano.
We will now proceed to address the issue raised in the writeup by the Edo north 4 PDP seria tim:
The dissolution of South East Uneme clan and the removal of the Clan Head: This is strictly within the purview of the government if properly done but not in this case.
We will however leave it to posterity to judge whether Governor Obaseki acted in utmost good faith or whether his action was borne out of political vendetta against Prince Clement Agba, whom he sees as his political rival.
However, the allegations that the decision was because the Clan Head, His Royal Majesty Benjamin Ikani instigated violence and disregarded peaceful agreement is an attempt to give a dog a bad name in other to hang it.
The disagreement between Uzanu Community and Igiode community as it relates to the boundary between the two communities predated the ascension of the throne by Benjamin Ikani.
On this issue,there is a subsisting Court of Appeal decision in which it was clearly stated that none of the two communities is a tenant.
While it is accepted that virtually all communities in Edo North traced their origin and migration to their present location from Benin, the dates and times of migration are matters of conjectures as there are no subsisting records to substantiate when each community migrated to their present location.
River ‘Igbesi’ which was being disputed together with other adjoining rivers was decided by the court as belonging to Uzanu community.
It is not true that Uzanu Community was at any time part of Weppa-wanno Clan.There are 36 Communities that constitute Weppa-Wanno and Uzanu is not part of them. There is no cultural consanguinity between Uzanu and Weppa-Wanno communities even though we inter marry because of geographical proximity.
The language spoken by Uzanu and its other adjoining communities of Ukpeko, Afa, Ogwoyor, Iyelewa is Uneme while the communities that madeup Weppa and Wanno inclusive of Igiode speak the weppa-wanno language.
Communities can exist without necessarily having a Clan Head but there are always Rulers in the Communities.
The Clan Head of Weppa-Wanno of which Igiode Community is a part before it was bifurcated into Weppa and Uwanno kingdoms was Okumagbe while the ruler of Uzanu community was Oliola.
Before Weppa-Wanno was made a clan in the 1940s and a Clan Head appointed in the person of Ogbaki as the first Okumagbe of Weppa-Wanno, does it mean that the various communities in Weppa-Wanno did not exist?
The obvious answer is NO. The communities were there even when there was no Clan Head.
Before the creation of additional local government from Etsako, The Clan Head of South Uneme from which South-East Uneme clan was created was the Oliola of Anegbette. The Oliola of Uzanu was under the Clan of South Uneme.
South Uneme is made up of Anegbette, Udochi, UdochiOke, Imhiava and Uzanu Communities. It was not an issue of location but more of language and cultural consanguinity.
For instance, when Francis Omoh was the Okumagbe of Weppa-Wanno, the Oliola of Uzanu was Joseph Akhisabome Ikemeh. Whenever there are issues that relates to culture etc, that require resolution, such issues are often referred to the Oliola of Anegbette not the Okumagbe of Weppa-Wanno for adjudication.
We understand additional ruling houses have been created out of Weppa and Wanno kingdoms perhaps to make the issue of who becomes the Okumagbe of Weppa-Wanno more inclusive.
We do not begrudge our neighbour Igiode Community their rightful aspiration to create an Aviukha ruling house through which they can ascend the throne of Okumagbe of Weppa-wanno now Uwanno.
But what we will not however accept is any attempt to railroad us into a ruling house that we do not belong to.
It is absurd, laughable, and preposterous for the writers of Edo North media team to refer to the creation of South-East Uneme Clan through a legitimate Gazette issued by the State Government as taking place through the backdoor even when Governor Obaseki was the one that presented the Staff of Office.
Meanwhile they want to hang-onto another gazette issued in error and subsequently revised by the same State Government as a basis to advance their argument for the inclusion of Uneme-Uzanu in their Aviukha ruling House.
Assuming without conceding that Uneme Uzanu becomes part of Aviukha ruling house, can someone from Uneme Uzanu become the Okumagbe of wanno?
The obvious answer from every legitimate sons and daughters of Wanno will be a resounding no because they understand Uneme Uzanu was never part of Weppa-Wanno and was not among the sons of the founder of Weppa-Wanno.
The inclusion of Uneme Uzanu and its other communities as part of Aviukha Ruling house was a clan destine and surreptitious attempt to turn history on its head, an attempt at land grabbing and hence when their refutable facts were made available to the relevant authorities, the gazette was revised.
The other issues raised in their write-up are not worth responding to as there is no scintilla of evidence to support such ridiculous and arcane assertion.
For the records no one from South East Uneme Clan has ever killed anyone whether from Igiode or anywhere else and no one has ever been arrested nor prosecuted for any of these in the past.
Obaseki, remember the lessons of history and act in a just and equitable manner. If it beyond your ken to resolve the issues at stake, do not create confusion and disaffection among the communities within your care.
Uzanu Community Worldwide