WARRI—The Itsekiri socio-cultural group, Itsekiri Consolidated Movement, ICM, has faulted the Ijaw of Gbaramatu over their threat to resort to self-help if the Delta State Government does not inaugurate an Export Processing Zone, EPZ, Interface Committee for Ijaw, warning that Itsekiri will not concede her heritage no matter the threat.
ICM in its reaction to media reports credited to Gbaramatu Ijaw, calling for two different EPZ Interface Committees to be created for Gbaramatu Ijaw and for Ogulagha, said that Ogulagha was not part of communities hosting the $16 billion Ogidigben EPZ in Warri South-West Local Government Area of the state.
Interface c’ttees
ICM, in a statement by its Chairman, Mr. Oritsegbemi Besidone, said rather than create fresh interface committees for the Ijaw, the Delta State Government should consider the inauguration of another interface committee to take care of other host Itsekiri communities of the EPZ aside the Ugborodo Interface Committee chaired by the Delta State Government representative, Mr. Austin Oborogbeye. The group said that the “crude way of being part of a project that does not have direct bearing on the Ijaw is over.

“Should the state government fall for the blackmail by Gbaramatu people, it should as well as set up an office for such committees in Government House.” The Gbaramatu Ijaw, led by Chief Godspower Gbenekama in the latest publication, had claimed that the nominees for their proposed Interface Committees had since been sent to Delta State Government and Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation, NNPC.

Article Source: Vanguard

WARRI—THE Warri Ijaw Justice Forum, WIJF, Delta State, has said that the Ijaws were not against rotation of political offices among ethnic groups in the three Warri local government areas of the state.

The forum, comprising Ijaws of Warri North, Warri South and Warri South-West Local Government Areas, in response to the Itsekiri Consolidated Movement’s, ICM, assertion that it was the turn of the Itsekiris to produce the next Chairman of Warri South-West council in the coming October council elections in the state, said that what Ijaws in the area demanded was justice and equity in power sharing in the council.

The group’s Chairman, Mr. Friday Deinghan, said: “If Itsekiris insist it is their turn to produce the Chairman of Warri South-West council, because an Ijaw man is Peoples Democratic Party, PDP Chairman in the area in the same vein, it should be the turn of the Ijaws in Warri North council and Ijaws/Urhobos in Warri South council to produce the Chairmen of these councils.”

Article Source: Vanguard

Prominent Itsekiri leaders have advised Deltans at home and abroad not to focus on gender, but to look at the individual personalities, the person’s qualities and what he or she can offer the people as a governor.

They also described the chairman, Board of Directors of Nigeria Social Insurance Trust Fund, NSITF, Dr. Ngozi Olejeme, as an honest, simple and accomplished administrator.

“Dr. Olejeme has the knowledge and the skills to succeed in the state. So, we are mobilising our people, friends and in- laws across the state. We are quite confident that she will become governor in 2015,” the leaders said in a statement in Warri.

The statement by the Chairman of Itsekiri Movement for Good Governance, IMFGG, Mr. Francis Diden, also commended Olejeme for her contribution to the development of human resources in the state.

Article Source: Vanguard

THE National Conference was, yesterday, thrown into confusion as moves to reach a compromise on recommendations ended in deadlock sparking off chaos at the plenary session.

The rowdy situation forced the house to adjourn abruptly till Monday to prevent the exchanges from degenerating to fisticuffs

To stem the tide, Chairman of the conference, Justice Idris Kutigi, his deputy, Professor Bolaji Akinyemi and other leaders will meet with elders of the confab also known as ‘50 wise men’, chairmen of the 20 standing committees and their deputies at 11 am today. Disagreement started immediately after the inauguration by President Goodluck Jonathan on modalities of voting. The ’50 wise men’ intervened and the problem was resolved.


The contentious revenue sharing formula and derivation principle split delegates along regional lines as they failed to reach agreement on what percentage should go to each region.

For the third day, yesterday, delegates failed to conclude voting on the recommendations of the Devolution of Power Committee led by Obong Victor Attah and former Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Coomasie, following sharp disagreements between Northern and Southern delegates.

As part of moves to end the logjam surrounding the Devolution of Power Committee report, especially on resource control and derivation, the delegates on Monday put in place a group of Elder statesmen and leaders called the National Conference Consensus group with three selected from each of the three geo-political zones of the country.

Following protests from other delegates, who alleged exclusion, the body was on Tuesday enlarged to accommodate representations from the Civil Society Organisations, CSOs, Organised Labour, Women groups, professional bodies and people living with disability among others and the number of members rose to 37.


The Elders Committee through its spokesman and delegate on the platform of Elder Statesmen Category, Professor Ibrahim Gambari, on Wednesday presented the report of the committee which raised derivation from 13 per cent to 18 per cent.

It also resolved that there shall be a National Intervention Fund which shall be five per cent of the annual revenue accruing to the Federal Government for the stabilization, rehabilitation and reconstruction of areas affected by terrorism and insurgency, in the first instance in the North-East, North -Central, North -West and any other part of the country.

The Elder statesmen also came up with five per cent allocation for exploration and development of all mineral resources as against the present 4.5 per cent and that 50 per cent of the 18 per cent derivation must go directly to the communities from which the mineral resources are extracted.

The report was endorsed by 33 out of the 37 members of the elders’ committee. Those who did not sign were Alhaji Ibrahim Coomasie, Alhaji Bashir Dalhatu and Hon. Mohammed Kumalia and Senator Iyorchia Ayu who was said to have traveled.

Following protest by delegates Wednesday, the matter was adjourned till yesterday. However, delegates failed to reach a compromise yesterday.


Bickering over 5% intervention fund

There was a sharp disagreement over the five per cent intervention fund for the stabilization, rehabilitation and reconstruction of areas affected by terrorism and insurgency, in the first instance in the North-East, North-Central, North-West and any other part of the country.

The controversial report

The Proposed amendments to the report of the Committee on Devolution of Power by the Elder Statesmen Committee known as the National Conference Consensus group read “Amend recommendation (a) on page 39 of the report of the committee by the substituting with the following:-

1(a) Provided that the principle of derivation shall be constantly reflected in any approved formula as being not less than eighteen percent (18%) of the revenue accruing to the Federation Account directly from any natural resources.

“(b) That not less than 50% of the total derivation fund accruable to a mineral bearing state shall be due and payable to the host communities within the state where the resources are derived in accordance with the production quota contributed by such communities.

“There shall be established a Solid Mineral Development Fund which is currently 3% of the Federal Government Account referred to by the committee on page 40 of its report, it shall be increased to 5% and will be applied to Solid Minerals Development in the states.

“There shall be a National Intervention Fund, which will be 5% of the annual revenue accruing to the account of the Federal Government for stabilization, rehabilitation and reconstruction of areas affected by terrorism and insurgency, in the first instance in the North East of Nigeria and any other part of the country affected.


Southern delegates protest

Delegates from the South made up South-South, South-East; South-West protested that if there must be a fund of that nature, it must be for the entire country and not for a section of the country and not for the North alone.

How trouble started

To start the business of the day after the adoption of votes and proceedings, Deputy Conference Chairman, Prof. Bolaji Akinyemi who told delegates that Prof. Gambari had on Wednesday presented a verbal report, said that they were now with the written report. He added once the derivation amendment was resolved, other recommendations would follow.

Trouble then started shortly after Akinyemi’s comment. A member of the Elder Statesmen Committee and a delegate representing Jigawa State, Alhaji Bashir Dalhatu said he never signed the document against the backdrop that he was talking to Chief Raymond Dokpesi to find a way of harmonising the one he had with the one that Dokpesi presented.

He pleaded for more time to reconcile with Dokpesi, adding, “there is another document prepared by Dokpesi because the one we have is not the same; we need to see him and say at the end of the day harmonise.”

Apparently sighting Dokpesi in the hall, Akinyemi said that the document Dokpesi presented had been challenged and said that after consultation with the chairman that Dokpesi, Dalhatu and other members of the Elder statesmen group were given one hour to go and come up with an agreeable compromise for the house to reconvene at 11.30am.


Elder statesmen committee is Illegal — Osuoka

When they reconvened at about 12 noon, a delegate on the platform of CSOs, Dr. Isaac Osuoka raised a point of Order citing Order 9, Rule 13 which reads, “the principal officers of the Conference shall propose the number of Committees that shall be necessary for the effective discharge of the mandate of the Conference”.

Osuoka, who described the Elder Statesmen Committee as illegal and not recognised in the Procedure Rules, stressed that they were not aware that the leadership appointed any Committee, just as he called on other delegates to ignore the Committee and any recommendation from the members adding, “it is an illegal Committee.”

Long wait for compromise

However, when the conference leadership noticed delay in the intervention of the group, Prof. Akinyemi said: “We have tried our best to be accommodating but we can no longer wait again, we shall now go to the committee report.”

We reached consensus —Falae

At this point, Chief Olu Falae, who said he had expected Prof. Gambari to present the resolutions of the consensus group, disclosed that his group had reached a consensus, adding that they agreed that the “Principle of derivation shall be constantly reflected in any approved formula as being not less than eighteen percent (18%) of the revenue accruing to the federation account directly from any natural resources.

“That not less than 50% of total derivation fund accruable to a mineral bearing state shall be due and payable to the host communities within the state where the resources are derived in accordance with the production quota contributed by such communities.”

Other agreements according to him, were that there shall be established a Solid Mineral Development Fund which, he said is currently 3 percent of federal government account, but it will be increased to 5 percent and will be applied to Solid Minerals Development in the states, adding, “there shall be a National Intervention Fund, which will be 5 percent of the annual revenue accruing to the account of the federal government for the stabilisation, rehabilitation and reconstruction of areas affected by terrorism and insurgency, in the first instance in the North-east of Nigeria and any other part of the country.”

Eruption of chaos

At this point, a delegate representing Yobe State, Engr. Buba Galadima started shouting, saying, ‘No document!’ ‘We must vote!!’ No wuruwuru!’

Replying Galadima, an angry Akinyemi said that his utterances did not show respect for the chairman and asked him to be mindful of what he was saying.

He stated that they had tried to be accommodating on this issue and was left with no alternative than to go back to the committee’s original recommendation, adding, “We have to proceed with the original committee recommendation.”

Another delegate representing Borno State, Dr. Haruna Yerima also shouted saying that there was not going to be any voice vote, adding that delegates will use the ballot boxes to vote on every item.

At this point, a delegate representing the North-Central, Senator Musa Adede told the leadership and delegates that they were deviating from where they started, even as he stressed that the leadership has been given the confidence and that no one could intimidate Kutigi.

Report does not have our support — Coomasie

In his comment, Ibrahim Coomasie, said: “I am one of the delegates from the North and a member of the Arewa Consultative Forum involved in the discussion on derivation and I want to say that we had discussions, but ended in a stalemate, there was no conclusion and so any report submitted to you here regarding the meeting does not have our support.”

Some people never wanted the conference to work— Dokpesi

Speaking with Journalists after the adjournment, Chief Raymond Dokpesi, who noted that all their recommendations were agreed upon on principle, alleged that there were people who were determined to disrupt and ensure that the conference does not come to a proper end. He said that the bone of contention was whether they should include the Northwest and North central in the area affected by the insurgency adding: “It is totally untrue that what we submitted is not what we agreed on.

Everything has been agreed and on the issue of the five per cent intervention fund, what we agreed was that for the stabilization, rehabilitation and reconstruction of areas affected by insurgency and terrorism should be created and should be used first in the North-East.

But some northern delegates refused to sign the agreement. So the issue is that they want the North-West and North-Central to be added to it. But we said that the area where you have the greatest amount of crisis right now is the North East.

“All the Southern leaders, North central leaders, made sacrifices but there are people who never wanted this conference to succeed and these people were the people that were shouting today.”

Article Source: Vanguard

 

With the theme “Itsekiri Nation: Health, Education, and Communication Today”, the 17thAnnual National Convention will hold at the Hyatt Regency Hotel, 400 South East South Avenue, Miami, FL 33131-2197, from Friday, August 29, 2014 to Monday, September 1, 2014.

ACCOMMODATION

Ugbajo Itsekiri USA Inc. has blocked rooms at discount convention rates of $89:00 + Tax for single/double occupancy. Please reserve your accommodation by either calling the hotel’s Central Reservations at 1- 888-421-1442 or the front desk at 305-358-1234. When making your reservation by telephone, you will be required to provide the group name – UGBAJO ITSEKIRI USA, INC. For online reservations, please use the hotel’s web link by copying the following into your web browser https://resweb.passkey.com/Resweb.do?mode=welcome_gi_new&groupID=21049119. Please endeavor to reserve your room no later than August 14, 2014 otherwise you will be charge the market prevailing rate subject to availability of rooms.

GROUND TRANSPORTATION TO HOTEL

There are two airports of entry into Miami, FL metropolitan area. They are Miami International Airport and Fort Lauderdale International Airport. Fort Lauderdale International Airport is about 45 minutes’ drive to downtown Miami, FL. As you make your travel plans, it is advised to fly into Miami International Airport. On arrival at Miami International Airport, it is recommended to use the Metro rail service from the airport to Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Miami. The train ride from the airport is in two phases. The first ride for $2.50 fare is to take the Orange Line heading to Dadeland South and exit at Government Center. At Government Center, proceed downstairs to the inner loop and take the People Mover, a complimentary train service and exit at Knight Center. At the Knight Center, take the escalator down one level to the lobby of the Miami Towers. Follow the exit sign to the lobby of Hyatt Regency Miami. It is to be noted that both the Orange Line and People Mover train operates from 5.00 am to 12.00 pm midnight. Alternative modes of transportations are available from the airport. They include Blue Shuttle, Taxis/Cabs, and Car Rentals.

MEALS:

Cost of meals per adult at the convention is $100:00. Children’s meals are priced at $55.00. Meals will be served at the Friday evening reception, breakfast, lunch and dinner on Saturday.

Unaffiliated Itsekiris

Itsekiris who resides in the United States but are unaffiliated with, or not currently a fee paying member of a regional association that make up Ugbajo Itsekiri USA, Inc., are subject to $300:00 participation fee. 

Ugbajo Itsekiri USA Inc. is holding its 16th National Convention at the Westin Atlanta Airport Hotel, 4736 Best Road, Atlanta, GA 30337-5605 from Friday, August 30, 2013 to Sunday, September 1, 2013.

ACCOMMODATION
Accommodations are available at a discount rate of $125.00 plus taxes for single/double occupancy and may be reserved by calling the hotel’s Central Reservation at 1-888-627-7211. When making your reservation by telephone, you will be required to provide the group name – UGBAJO ITSEKIRI USA, INC. For online reservations, please use the hotel’s STARGROUP OPTION through the following link:
https://www.starwoodmeeting.com/StarGroupsWeb/res?id=1303045676&key=C7227

It is imperative that you endeavor to reserve your room no later than August 17, 2013 otherwise you will be charged the prevailing market rate.

GROUND TRANSPORTATION TO HOTEL
As you make your travel plans, you are advised to fly into Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport. Upon arrival, take a shuttle from the International Terminal to the Domestic Terminal. From the Domestic Terminal, transportation to the Hotel is free via Sheraton Gateway Westin shuttle bus service. The shuttle bus departs every twenty minutes from Zone 1 on the Purple Isle in the Ground Transportation Center, located outside between the Domestic North and South Terminals 

WARRI–IMMEDIATE past Secretary of the Ijaw, Isoko and Itsekiri Leaders Forum, Mr. Edward Ekpoko has been elected Chairman of the group.

Also elected was Mr Vincent Omorie as Secretary.

Others elected include Chief Bare Etolor as 1st Vice Chairman; Mr Dennis Etaluku, 2nd Vice Chairman; Mr Jonathan Ari, Treasurer and Amorighoye Mene, Assistant Secretary.

Ekpoko shortly after the inauguration of the new executive, said his leadership was “committed to building on the focus of our predecessors in ensuring that Delta South makes progress politically and economically.

“In the times ahead, we will continue to reach out to every group in the other senatorial zones in the state, strengthen bridges of unity because we believe we are one state as no one group can do it alone in leading the state politically and economically.”

Article Source: Vanguard

WARRI—CONFUSION over alleged irregularities in the distribution of Itsekiri benefits in the Federal Government’s Amnesty programme for Niger Delta continued, yesterday, with the Itsekiri National Youth Council, INYC, led by Mr. Esimaje Awani, calling for stoppage of further payment of Itsekiri beneficiaries’ monthly stipends through the David Tonwe’s faction of INYC.

Awani, in a statement in Warri, Delta State, said: “We have written to the Presidential Adviser on Amnesty, Mr. Kingsley Kuku, to stop all payments to this group of persons. They do not have the authority to operate in that capacity.
“The name, Itsekiri Native Youth Council being used to collect the Itsekiri amnesty payments is unknown to Itsekiri youths. No one knows what they are doing. We are talking about 500 slots of N65,000 monthly to skills acquiring trainees as well as $700 and $900 to overseas graduates and postgraduates scholarship beneficiaries respectively. It cannot be business as usual.”

Esimaje stressed that Itsekiri youths do not feel the impact of the amnesty programme on their lives, urging the Amnesty Office to stop the Itsekiri payments to the supervising Tonwe group pending the resolution of the said irregularities and allegations of mismanagement against the group before the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC.

Article Source: Vanguard