In a bold but commendable move, The Igba of Warri (Irowojo), Chief Rita Lori Ogbebor, has turned down the Christmas gift of a Cow, rice, hamper and other items sent to her Warri house by governor of Delta state, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan on December 24th.
The eminent Itsekiri leader disclosed that it was pertinent for her to turn down the gift items as a mark of protest with the way Uduaghan had been running the state.
Rita Lori Ogbebor who stated her rejection of the gifts in a letter dated December 28, 2012, addressed to Governor Uduaghan and personally signed by her, 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 the governor to the cleaners for allegedly forcefully taking over Okere land and beginning construction on it. 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” she said. Continuing, “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 concluded.