-Says The Move Is Selfish
-Urges Chief Ukueku To Respect The Head Of The Community, Come For Reconciliation
By Daniel Dafe
A leader in Iwevbo Community of Orohowon Local Government Area in Edo State and a chief in Eku Traditional Council, Chief Stephen Atavwigho, has called on Chief Joseph Ukueku to give peace a chance, adding that “those that want the change of name from Iwevbo Community to Ovre Eku are oppressors.”
Speaking to journalists in Eku recently, Atavwigho said that Chief Joseph Ukueku who parades himself as the President General of the Community must respect the oldest man in the community, Chief Papa Uvo Eyimofe and also embrace peace and come for a reconciliation so they can all work together.
He continued: “I am from Eku but my forefathers are the founding Fathers of the Iwevbo Community. For many years, we have derived our livelihood from Iwevbo Community.
“The tussle now is caused by Chief Joseph Ukueku. We have been living harmoniously until PRESCO and the oil company came. The struggle is one of supremacy to rule over everybody.
“Ukueku says he is the President-General. His late brother Chief Anthony Ukueku was the PG then but because he resides abroad, he decided to act in his absence. He is not a President General and we also refuse to accept the name change from Iwevbo to Ovre Eku. The land was founded by our fathers but it is in another state.”
According to Chief Atavwigho, he initially thought that the Eku Traditional Council’s involvement in the matter was to settle the rift, but now shocked that they sent them a document to sign to indicate that they are in support of the change of name.
“If we sign that document, it is like signing our death warrant. And if Edo State Government finds out, they can decide to ask us to move out of the land and this can lead to a civil war and we don’t want that,” he said.
When asked what their position is from the first meeting with the Eku Traditional Council, he said that the “decisions the community leaders made were autocratic.”
“They did not allow us speak our minds, but we opposed the idea of the change of name,” he opined.
Continuing, he said that the way forward was for Ukueku to come for settlement with the oldest man in the community and discuss.
“Taking the matter to the Eku Traditional Council will not do us any good, instead people that are not from Iwevbo will come and interfere and try to seek how they can benefit from the matter.
“We are not saying that we are not ready to work with Ukueku team. But, I can boldly say that the move to change the name to Ovre Eku is selfish.
“The MoU he signed in the past did not favour anyone but himself and we do not want to be fooled the second time,” he averred.
Atavwigho also said that Ukueku is an old man and that may be the reason he (Ukueku) cannot remember the numerous documents he (Ukueku) signed during Newcross Petroleum operation and letters signed by him (Ukueku) to Enogie, stressing that the letters are still intact.
When contacted, Chief Ukueku denied signing any MoU in the past.
His words: “From the days of our forefathers, our community is known as Ovre Eku. It is the Binis that are calling us Iwevbo.
“The Enogie of Orogho is using those who are calling us Iwevbo to fight our community for him to annex our community for himself and the Binis.”
He also said that he was the PG of the larger Eku Community for six years and has been the PG of the said community for many years.
Speaking further, he said: “The issue is not leadership issue, but that the Enogie is extending his rulership to an Urhobo Community. Ask them who gave our land to PRESCO; who did Newcross pay money to? Those talking about me are trying to cover up for selling Ovre Eku to the Enogie and Binis.”
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