Idumuje-Ugboko traditional stool.
By Fred Akpewe
About a month ago, DELTA FRESH VISION, an NGO committed to the rule of law, social justice and good governance picked holes in the media charade of some DIASPORA Idumuje-Ugboko citizens who labeled Prince Ned Nwoko as a land grabber for legitimately acquiring a 90-hectares of land to build a university and a golf course at Idumuje-Ugboko.
In the Sunrise Daily Channel Television programme of August 8, 2020, three Idumuje-Ugboko citizens who reside in Lagos and do not even know the land where the university is sited reeled out lies that Prince Ned Nwoko has been terrorizing Idumuje-Ugboko citizens and seizing their lands for the purpose of establishing a university and golf course in the village.
The testimonies of these hirelings: Engr. Igwe Enueoyibo, Chuks Nwoko and Uche Aligbe may have prompted an activist and social critic, Deji Adeyanju to do a Facebook live programme calling for more “information” on the alleged land grabbing story. This was in spite of the appearance of three distinguished chieftains of Idumuje-Ugboko – Chief Christopher Ogwu (Iyase or Prime Minister), Prince Walter Eziashi (Past President-General), Nelson Iloh (the son of the slain Kennedy Iloh) and a relation of Cyprian Kumiolu (the murdered motorcyclist) a week later on the same Channels Sunrise Daily to correct the lies and misconceptions concerning the acquisition of the 90 hectares of land by Prince Ned Nwoko. One notable feature of the approval of land for Prince Ned Nwoko was a clause in the MOU which stipulated a 40 per cent shareholding by Idumuje -Ugboko village for the purpose of benefiting the children of Idumuje-Ugboko, born or yet unborn.
In our past publication, DELTA FRESH VISION argued that a university and golf course will serve to open a vista of opportunities in commerce, social integration, urbanization and improvement in the network of roads in the community and ultimately put the Idumuje Ugboko village in the world map. The village and not Prince Ned Nwoko would be the prime beneficiaries. Yet, some few Idumuje Ugboko citizens including the self-imposed monarch, Prince Chukwunonso Nwoko have continued to be a clog in the wheel of progress of the community by opposing the vision of Ned Nwoko to build a world class university and golf course in the village.
It is in view of the above, that we must appreciate the recent appeal to Prince Ned Nwoko by the Agbon community in Ethiope East LG to establish a University of Science and Technology in Ethiope East LG. The appeal was contained in a statement by Agbon Socio-Economic Development Institution (ASDI) which described Prince Ned Nwoko as a detribalized Nigerian and asked him to “extend his investment in educational development to Agbon kingdom”. The statement was jointly signed by the President and Secretary of ASDI, Dr. Fred Latimore Oghenesivbe and David Adjaro Esq. respectively.
The point to make of the request by Agbon kingdom is that some anti- development indigenes of Idumuje-Ugboko are rejecting what another kingdom is requesting for. This time, it is coming from an entirely different Senatorial district, Agbon kingdom being an Urhobo speaking area of Delta Central. The ASDI has even assured Prince Ned Nwoko of a vast land for the university as well as “maximum support and cooperation of the people to bring the project to fruition”.
The above development corroborates our earlier stance that Prince Ned Nwoko does not need to “grab lands” to establish a university in Idumuje-Ugboko. There are several communities in Delta State that would gladly give Ned Nwoko land free of charge to build a university in their community as the Agbon community has promised to do. We believe that Prince Ned’s attempt to build a university in his village is altruistic and is a manifestation of the deep love he has for his community. This recent development is also a confirmation of the age long biblical saying that “a prophet has no honour in his own home”. The Idumuje- Ugboko anti-development charlatans must now hide their heads in shame for not seeing value in an initiative that another community is passionately yearning for.
• FRED AKPEWE is Coordinator of Delta Fresh Vision.