Sadly, in spite of all these great achievements by sons and daughters of Ogbia, the area called Ogbia still remains a “semi-jungle” with lots of “underdevelopment legacies” littered around. Ogbia politicians particularly in the current dispensation have been inefficient in the performance of their respective duties. Of course, being inefficient means “failing to make the best use of the available time and resources” (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 2015). Ogbia politicians in the current dispensation such as ex-President Goodluck E. Jonathan, ex-Senator Clever Ikisikpo, King Amalate Turner, George Turnah, Dr. Eruani, Hon. Mitema Obodo et al have been inefficient in virtually all areas of socio-economic life as they failed (and still failing) to make best use of the available time/opportunities and resources in bringing tangible development to the Ogbia people, and promoting sincere harmony and peace amongst Bayelsans in
The name – “Ogbia” is not new especially amongst those from Bayelsa and Rivers States. However, in order to inform those that may not know her rich history quite well, a brief history of Ogbia will be narrated below from relevant sources:
Ogbia is an ethnic group, as well as a Local Government Area (LGA) in Bayelsa State, although there are some Ogbia inhabitants in Rivers State and few emigrants in faraway Cameroun. Ogbia – “Ogbeyan,” means friend (Marcus O. Ikisikpo, 1980). According to the late Ogbia historian – Milton Odia Okpara (2009), Ogbia occupies a land mass roughly five thousand (5,000.00) square kilometers at the central part of the Niger Delta, having amorphous boundaries with its neighbours such as Engene people at the North; Epie/Atissa at the Northwest; the core Ijaw (Izon) at the West; Odual Agboin at the East and Nembe-speaking people at the South. The 2006 Population Census put the population of Ogbia LGA at 179,606 and in 2011 estimated it to be around 207,630 (National Population Commission, 2013).
Like the trend in the southern region of Nigeria, the Ogbia people are also predominantly Christians with quite a large number of African Traditional Religion worshippers, very few Muslims and a recent rise of few “free-thinkers” or humanists. Apart from being an oil-rich area, her economic activities include fishing, farming, canoe-making, lumbering, hunting, sand-digging etc, although nowadays some of these economic activities are dying-out due to the pollution of the environment by transnational oil corporations and vandals, combined with the negative effects of rural-urban migration amongst others. She has a rich culture as well. Some Ogbia communities in Bayelsa State are Oloibiri, Emakalakala, Akipelai, Opume, Agholo (now Kolo Town), Imiringi, Emeyal, Elebele, Otuasega, Otuabo (Abobiri), Otuedu, Anyama, Epebu/Emadike, Onuegbum, Otuogidi, Otuokpoti, Otuogori, Otuoke, Idema, Okoroba, Okoroma, etc. Some of the aforementioned Communities (e.g. Idema, Okoroma, Okoroba etc), are very close to the Nembe area, hence the people inter-marry and speak both languages (i.e. Ogbia & Nembe) and many often mistake them for Nembe communities, but they are not. The true origin of the Ogbia people is still a matter of debate amongst historians and sociologists, but there is a popular reference to ancient Benin Kingdom (Edo State) by many historians, although that will be a subject for another day.
That the Ogbia people from time immemorial have been blessed with natural resources and great individuals especially in the political, educational, health, sports, and security sector cannot be overemphasized. Crude-oil was first discovered by Shell BP. in commercial quantity in the whole of West Africa at Itokopri near Oloibiri – an Ogbia village, on January 15, 1956. The late Izon revolutionary hero and intellectual – Major Isaac Jasper Adaka Boro, attested in his only posthumous autobiography – “The 12-Day Revolution” (1968, published 1982) that he was born on September 10, 1938, in the same “oil-rich” town of Oloibiri where his father was the Headmaster of a school. It is also on record that the first King Amakiri of Buguma in Kalabari, Rivers State, was an Ogbia man. The Late Rev. George I. Amangala also confirmed this in his book – “Short History of Ijaw: With Appendix” (1945), that “Amakuro” (his real Ogbia name) was a pure Ogbia man – a warrior from Inyade lineage in Kolo Town, who migrated to Kalabari and helped them defeat the Ibani and Agbanazige in a war. He was eventually made a citizen and crowned King, where his children still rule to this day. His name was slightly changed from AMAkuro to AMAkiri by the Kalabari just like they tried to change Kolo to Opukolo in ancient times. In 1943, Amakiri’s “juju” called Oduru was carried from Kolo Town to Buguma by a native priest (Milton Odia Okpara, 2009).
Ogbia has also produced the first youngest national lawmaker in the late 1950s cum first civilian Governor of Rivers State (1979-83) – Late Dr. Melford O. Okilo, who hailed from Emakalakala. The first Deputy Governor cum Governor of Bayelsa State (1999-2007), and first Vice President cum President from the South-South geopolitical zone of Nigeria – Dr. Goodluck E. Jonathan (2007-2015), happens to be an Ogbia man from Otuoke. From 2009, he was serving out time as a “low-key” deputy from the South of the country to a low-key president from the North (BBC, 2015). What a marvelous achievement by a single man within a short period! Furthermore, in the security sector, the popular brave Police woman and singer nicknamed “Madam” or “Mama Rose,” is from Ogbia as well. And the famous American-based general surgeon in Oneill, Nebraska – Dr. Anthony E. Akainda, happens to be an Ogbia man from Imiringi. Dr. Akainda has been living in the USA since 1989 after graduating with distinction from the UNN, Enugu, and performing “organ-transplantation” and other technical surgeries since the early 1990s. He is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons (ACS) and has won several awards, and is still one of the best doctors in Nebraska, USA, to this day. He is affiliated with Avera St. Anthony’s Hospital and Rock County Hospital (Doximity, 2016). The great achievements of Ogbia people at home and in diaspora goes on and on. We should not even forget the likes of Late Chief Ranami Abah of Otuasega.
Sadly, in spite of all these great achievements by sons and daughters of Ogbia, the area called Ogbia still remains a “semi-jungle” with lots of “underdevelopment legacies” littered around. Ogbia politicians particularly in the current dispensation have been inefficient in the performance of their respective duties. Of course, being inefficient means “failing to make the best use of the available time and resources” (Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary, 2015). Ogbia politicians in the current dispensation such as ex-President Goodluck E. Jonathan, ex-Senator Clever Ikisikpo, King Amalate Turner, George Turnah, Dr. Eruani, Hon. Mitema Obodo et al have been inefficient in virtually all areas of socio-economic life as they failed (and still failing) to make best use of the available time/opportunities and resources in bringing tangible development to the Ogbia people, and promoting sincere harmony and peace amongst Bayelsans in general; although hungry sycophants as usual would always try to distort this reality (which we are about to prove in this report). Some of the key areas were Ogbia politicians in the current dispensation have failed are as follows:
Good Road Network: The deplorable state of road network in Ogbia LGA for over two decades is one of biggest signs of inefficient performance by Ogbia politicians. Over 95% of Ogbia communities lack good roads and bridges to this day, and most of these communities still have great sons and daughters in the political sector. The best they do is patch up the road whenever they (crude-politicians) are expecting visitors from outside to attend the funeral service of their loved ones or during a political campaign. Hon. Mitema Obodo (a current State lawmaker) could not construct the smallest bridge to his village – Otuabo (Abobiri), throughout his tenure as Ogbia LGA Chairman. The Elebele-Emeyal road, Ogbia-Nembe road etc, are few examples amongst many, of the underdevelopment legacies in Ogbia. The best these Ogbia politicians do is to receive and/or award contracts, divert the funds into their private pockets and leave the road projects abandoned for years with silly excuses.
Former Senator – Ikisikpo, could not construct even a street road to his own house in Kolo Town throughout his 16 years in public office as a state/federal lawmaker (1999-2015), rather the Kakatar Company managed to construct the only street road leading to his house we see today during the construction of a bridge across the river to Pastor Justice Aggo’s church in 2014, which was supposedly funded by Goodluck E. Jonathan as a campaign strategy ahead of the 2015 Presidential Elections. There is nothing tangibly good to write home about him; Ikisikpo disappointed his senatorial district!
Another notorious politician/public servant amongst them is George Turnah – a former Special Assistant on Youths and Sports to the Managing Director of the Niger Delta Commission (NDDC) and an indigene of Kolo Town, who have used the NDDC to divert billions of funds meant for the development of Ogbia and other areas into his private pocket, building gigantic mansions amidst bad roads and poverty, while sustaining his ill-gotten wealth by dishing out “chicken-feeds” to hungry sycophants and hosting irrelevant (political) sport competitions to boost his ego, etc. This shameful act by Ogbia politicians led a 90-year-old woman in Okoroba village, Madam Omiekumo Numo, on June 18, 2014, to lead an angry protest against the abandonment of the Opume-Okoroba Road project by the Federal Government headed by ex-President Goodluck E. Jonathan. The 10 kilometre road project, which is to link the coastal town of Okoroba to mainland Ogbia Local Government Area, was awarded in 2011 to Mangrovtech (owned by Goodluck E. Jonathan), now known as Kakatar’ce by Niger Delta Development Commission, NDDC (Samuel Oyadongha, 2014). In Kolo Town and elsewhere, George Turnah and his corrupt cronies suddenly began carrying-out internal road and electrification projects awarded over three years ago during Jonathan’s Administration after learning that new President Muhammadu Buhari in June 2015 had started investigating and arresting many corrupt public holders in the previous Administration. What a shame!
Below are snapshots of the bad Elebele-Emeyal road, one amongst many in Ogbia LGA:
Source: Obhuo Obebinaru F. (2016)
Steady Power Supply: Perhaps, this is one of the areas that troubles Ogbia people the most. Many Ogbia communities used to be the areas that enjoyed relative steady power supply during the late 1980s to even 2009. For two decades the gas turbine in Imiringi used to power the whole State capital – Yenagoa, even up to 2010. But, today things are not the same as power supply has become history in Ogbia communities including Imiringi, Elebele, and Otuasega that are oil-producing communities. Ogbia LGA has been suffering power outage for over four years. It would surprise many to also know that Otuoke – the hometown of ex-president Goodluck E. Jonathan and host-community to a federal university, has been in power outage for years. What a shame! This has led many that could afford it to buy generators and bear the burden of buying fuel daily at a very high cost in this petro-economy. George Turnah used part of the public funds he corruptly amassed for years to connect a “private line” from the PHCN to his house in Kolo Town, while the rest Community remain in darkness and the NDDC projects he handled are still uncompleted.
The death toll of victims of generator in Ogbia is also becoming a thing of worry. At least, three persons so far have died from generator fumes in Ogbia LGA (The Sun Newspaper, 2016), and there are other cases like this that have not been brought up by the politically-controlled media. Funny enough, whenever there is a (PDP) political campaign, funeral or birthday/marriage celebration of a politician in Ogbia LGA, these political demagogues would ask the PHCN to supply light and after their useless and selfish campaigns/celebrations – it is back to square one (i.e. total darkness). Hmmm. They know what they are doing.
Water Supply: Ogbia lacks good potable water supply for decades. The people still bath, defecate and drink from the polluted river water. In Kolo Town, some persons fetch water from an unused “suck-away pit” (sewage) in bathing, washing and even cooking. Former senator – Clever M. Ikisikpo, could not provide a single functional borehole water as part of constituency projects in this same Community he hails from in spite of being in government for over 14 years. To add to this, George Turnah et al spent over “N200 million” in December 2014 in hosting a political-campaign under the guise of “GEJ Ogbia Inter-Community Football Tournament” for a single day but could not use even N1 million or use the NDDC in constructing a little borehole for his people. This corrupt and irrational political demagogue even went ahead to boast on his official George Turnah Foundation (GTF) website that one of his greatest achievements is hosting the football tournament (George Turnah Foundation, 2015). Is that an achievement – reckless wastage of resources amidst poverty and infrastructural underdevelopment in one’s hometown? What a joke.
People in Otuoke also suffer same fate: an ex-corps member – Emmanuel Agede, confirmed this in his comments: “You will not believe it that here in Otuoke, we use water from an unused suck-away pit dug near our lodge, for washing clothes and bathing” (Premium Times, 2015).
On September 8, 2016 a long abandoned federal water project initiated by Goodluck Jonathan in 2012 was commissioned (due to the fear of President Buhari’s anti-corruption crusade), to supply Otuoke, Kolo, and Emeyal villages, but it was another sham as its supply has not been regular since the very day the people sent to commission/inspect it left.
These Ogbia politicians in the current dispensation have no shame. Like the theist would ask, “Could this be a spiritual problem? Is Ogbia cursed with political leaders in the current dispensation? …” We say, No! It is not a spiritual problem neither is Ogbia cursed; they are just wicked, greedy and stupid. Below are snapshots:
A girl fetching water from an unused suck-away pit in Kolo Town (Source: Obhuo Obebinaru F., 2014)
A dirty river in Emakalaka where they bath, defecate and drink from (Source: Obhuo Obebinaru F., 2015)
Political-economic Crises: Lastly, but not the least, is the issue of political-economic crises in Ogbia LGA. Ogbia politicians in the current dispensation have not been able to handle the political-economic crises rocking the area for the past 16 years, rather, they have continued to exacerbate issues probably because they benefit from them. The rate of unemployed youths in Ogbia (particularly graduates) is alarming, and this has led to high-level of poverty, criminality, prostitution, and a “culture” of sycophancy/bandwagon-effect amongst the downtrodden in order to gain cheap favour from their fellow oppressors – Ogbia politicians. The people are suffering terribly; a visit and thorough investigation there will reveal more. Ogbia politicians are one of the most corrupt in the country and this is not an overstatement: most of the aforementioned problems can be attributed to political corruption by Ogbia politicians in the current dispensation. The increasing rate of crime especially inter-gang rivalries, rape, murders, kidnappings, blackmail etc, are things they have been managing to live with in recent years. The once respected Ogbia Brotherhood established by Rev. George Amangala on October 4, 1940 for the unity of Ogbia people, have been politicized, factionalized and disrespected by greedy and irrational Ogbia politicians like King AJ Turner, Goodluck Jonathan etc, in the current dispensation. The National Union of Ogbia Students (NUOS) since 2011 has been having internal-wranglings due to the interference of greedy and evil Ogbia politicians like George Turnah et al who want to use the student body as a “youth-wing” of their (PDP) political party.
Ogbia LGA used to be the most peaceful area in Bayelsa State and a lot of strangers can attest to that fact; but today lots of its inhabitants live in fear due to a growing trend of insecurity. On Monday, October 14, 2013, Mrs. Douglas Ayam – elder sister to Late Oronto Douglas, an ex-Special Adviser on Research and Strategy during Goodluck E. Jonathan’s Administration, was kidnapped in Ogbia Town by unknown gunmen (Premium Times, 2013). In the early hours of April 22, 2015, unknown gunmen invaded Otuasega and abducted the Council Chairman, Mr. Enaye Abah (Samuel Oyadongha, 2015). His driver was fatally shot, and he (Abah) was released a week later. An uncle and nephew (Mr. Samuel Oki) of ex-President Goodluck E. Jonathan were kidnapped on February 17, 2016; the nephew was later killed and his body found floating along a creek in Otuoke on February 19, 2016 (Vanguard Newspaper, 2016). And on Saturday, April 23, 2016, about 25 armed bandits invaded the home of King AJ Turner in Opume (Lindsay Barret, 2016). The list goes on and on.
On the other hand, strategic positions at the Federal University Otuoke since its inception in 2012 is largely filled with “outsiders” (mainly Yoruba and Igbo), and rarely gives employment and admission to Ogbia indigenes. Many amongst the few Ogbia indigenes working in the University got the opportunity through the recommendation of a prominent Ogbia politician that happened to be their parents or sibling; by “buying” an employment slot amounting to at least N350,000 from some corrupt Administrative staff, or by mere luck. This led to an angry protest by Ogbia youths on September 4, 2014, where the immediate former VC – Prof. Mobolaji Aluko, was called a thief and tribalized man (News Express, 2014). This happened under Jonathan’s administration and still happens to this day.
Presently, many civil servants from Ogbia like their counterparts in the other seven Local Govt. Areas, are being owed salaries amounting to a year; retirees have not been paid for over seven (7) months at the time of this report and many of them have not received their retirement benefits (i.e. graduity). The State Governor – Seriake Dickson, and Local Government Council Chairma refused to pay workers their full salaries since the Governor decided to pay half-salaries from June 2016. The Governor had earlier sent thugs to beat up retirees black-and-blue on February 29, 2016, when they protested in front of the Government House, Yenagoa (Olusegun Julius, 2016).
It is important to note that the incumbent Governor was “installed” by Goodluck E. Jonathan, King A.J. Turner et al seeing that the masses are voiceless and powerless fools. In fact, Goodluck E. Jonathan gladly claimed during his re-election campaign rally in Yenagoa on Friday, February 6, 2015 at the Samson Siasia Stadium, Yenagoa: “…. If you don’t like the leadership that WE ‘put in place,’ then you don’t like me. I and the Governor are working together… You must work with the Governor – for you to benefit anything from the Federal, you must work with him…” (Ademola Iginla, 2015; Fortune Alfred, 2015).
The statements above clearly reveals that Dickson was installed (i.e. PUT in place) by them, is working on their behalf, and whoever hates/criticizes Dickson (even when he/she is on their right like workers and retirees who have the right to their salaries and pension arrears), is indirectly hating/criticizing him (Goodluck E. Jonathan et al) too. Is this really the so-called “Father of democracy” in Nigeria and a world peace ambassador? The International Community and other sycophantic NGOs should be ashamed to label him as such! They simply do not know him well outside the “gentle/benevolent” lifestyle he hypocritically presents to the public. Since Ogbia politicians like Goodluck E. Jonathan, King AJ Turnah et al have been inefficient in performance, they also installed inefficient leaders like themselves to suffer not just Ogbia people but Bayelsans at large. Enough of always trying to sound politically-correct in order not to hurt some group of individuals that already have “guilty-conscience;” the truth is that, Ogbia politicians in the current dispensation have performed inefficiently – they have FAILED!
The Way Forward
There is no social problem that does not have a solution or at least, cannot be managed if it has gone worst. Likewise, the problem of inefficient performance by Ogbia politicians in the current dispensation can be resolved by the following ways:
Ogbia people must try and shun all forms of corruption especially bribery during election periods. What justifies many Ogbia politicians to perform inefficiently in the current dispensation is the fact that many Ogbia electorates demanded/collected money and other material things from them during campaign, thus they do not owe the people a dime since they “sold” their rights for N500 and cups of rice, etc. They must vote the political candidates of their choice without demanding for “cups of rice” or other monetary benefits from them. This will enable the Ogbia people to boldly question their leaders, demand accountability from them and even do a “recall” of an inefficient elected politician seeing that they do not owe any politician a dime.
The various anti-corruption agencies in Nigeria such as the EFCC, ICPC etc, must continue to investigate corrupt Ogbia politicians/public civil servants especially those that work(ed) in the NDDC, carried out government contracts, etc. This can be made more easier with the help of Ogbia indigenes who should report cases of project abandonments, fraud and other economic/financial crimes to the aforementioned anti-corruption bodies and if possible, take them to the houses of these evil and corrupt Ogbia politicians.
Qualitative education must be promoted in Ogbia no matter what it takes. The people need to send their children to good schools to acquire relevant knowledge especially “critical thinking” on political-economic and religious issues. This would enable Ogbia people to be enlightened enough in knowing the various mechanisms of exploitation and “ruling-class ideology” employed by these evil Ogbia politicians and counter them intellectually and radically like learned people do.
Inefficient and evil Ogbia politicians in the current dispensation must turn a new leaf or face the painful consequences of their wrong actions today. Already, some Ogbia politicians/corrupt contractors are reaping it badly and more may happen if others don’t take a lesson from all these. They must start being efficient, truthful and humane to the people they represent. It is their responsibility!
Finally but not the least, Ogbia must UNITE. Remember the philosophies and efforts of Rev. G.I. Amangala, Dr. Melford Okilo, Chief Ranami Abah, Chief Milton Odia etc, that sought to promote unity and peace amongst the Ogbia people. “Each for all, all for each,” remember?
A word, they say, is enough for the wise. Ogbia politicians should not see this detailed article as an insult or propaganda from their perceived (political) enemies in tarnishing their image. They must turn a new leaf, it is never too late! Best wishes, keep fit and remain blessed.
Comrade Ebiserikumo Jason GBASSA (“The Great Messenger”) – +2347068640408
Obhuo Obebinaru Favour (“The Luciferuz”) – +2347037580757
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