By SEYE OJO
Frontline Itsekiri leader, Chief Rita Lori Ogbebor, has rejected the Christmas gifts comprising a cow, rice, hamper and other items sent to her house in Warri by the Delta State Government on December 24. The Igba of Warri (Irowojo) disclosed that it was imperative for her to turn down the gift items to show Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan that she was not happy with the way he had been running the administration of the state.
In a letter dated December 28, 2012, addressed to Governor Uduaghan and personally signed by the Itsekiri leader, Rita Lori Ogbebor stated that she could not accept the Christmas gifts from the governor while many communities in the state had not enjoyed dividends of democracy. According to her: “I saw the cow, rice, hamper and other Christmas gifts deposited in my house on December 24, 2012, from the Delta State Government. But I am sorry, I have to decline the gifts for the following reasons.
“By now, you already know my stand on the way you run the administration of Delta State. I feel unhappy and depressed to see the state and Itsekiri land, particularly, declining from the time you have been in government. “Severally, I have spoken to you as a mother and son, stressing that the Itsekiri riverine areas were declining educationally and economically. The way our land is today shows no planning or foresight. There is no creation of jobs, neither is there adequate security of lives and property.
“For many years, there has been fighting and bloodletting in Escravos. In fact, things have got worse since you became governor. Yet, you have not used your position to bring peace to this very important Itsekiri town. Indeed, what we have are cases of Itsekiri sons killing one another. And you are also an Itsekiri. “Also, it is sad to know that when people are saying we have a governor as a son, a place like Ugborodo, which people know as the terminal for Nigerian oil, can boast of nothing but mud and water.
There is no infrastructure, no houses, no roads, schools or hospitals.” Ogbebor also took a swipe at the governor for allegedly taking over Okere land and beginning construction on it without any consultation or due process. The Okere people, she said, had appealed to the governor to leave the place for them because they had no other land and they needed the land to build a cultural centre. “You caused the matter to be brought to my house in Lagos, where you discussed with Okere people and promised to leave the land for them. We all thanked you and even feasted.
You left my house, but did exactly the opposite of what you had promised. Today, the Okere people have gone to court against your government. Where then lies the trust between you and the people who voted you into power? “I was astonished to see you depositing a cow and other gifts in my compound in Warri, when your word to Itsekiri people has not been your bond. I, therefore, reject with all that is in me your gifts,” Ogbebor said.