some Urhobo title holders
Their houses are covered with dark fog. Recently, the Nigerian Army sold some plots of land to Shoprite at a whooping sum of N1 billion! But the Uvwie people who gave those plots of land to the Federal Government to build the Warri Barracks did not benefit from the money while the Nigerian Army is reaping the benefits at the detriment of the Uvwie people who truly own the land. If the Uvwie people had refused to release the land to the Nigerian Army then they would have been the ones to have sold the land to Shoprite and that would have benefited them the most. How many Urhobo people are recruited into the Nigerian Army yearly?I challenge Ikolo to institute a court case against the Nigerian Army to demonstrate his patriotism to the Urhobo people he has chosen to tarnish their image without justification. The Federal Government took the land from the people of Owvian-Aladja where Delta Steel Company is built without compensations! The Ovwian-Aladja people went to the court of law to seek redress but it took the judiciary about 30 years before the case was adjudicated and at that time most of the aboriginals who owned land had died! Presently, Delta Steel Company has become comatose; what then are the benefits to the land owners?
Ikolo did not stop there as he went further, “The Urhobos although being the majority in Delta State are the poorest because of the antecedents, which precedes them in all outings”. For Ikolo to classify the Urhobos as the poorest people in Delta State is a clear demonstration that he indeed is bereft of information about the affluents in the state. How did he arrive at the conclusion that the Urhobos are the poorest people in Delta State? Did he conduct any research to arrive at that conclusion? What empirical test or evidence can he display butress his claim? Ikolo should as a matter of urgency, tell the Urhobo people how he came to that conclusion because it is a claim without substantiation.
Additionally, Ikolo said, “They have good lands and rivers attractive to investors but its leaders and people are not friendly to investors”. It is unbelievable for Ikolo to say that the Urhobos are not friendly to investors! This is nothing but generalisation which is not accepted in logic. How can Ikolo conclude that “the leaders and people are not friendly to investors?” From his middle name, “Akpokere” which means (life is a stream in Urhobo Language) may be an Urhobo man but can he boast to have reached every nooks and crannies of Urhoboland to say both the leaders and people are not friendly to investors? Maybe Ikolo should conduct an investigation on how investors are treated in other lands and compare it with what is obtainable in Urhoboland so he can know the difference. Not done yet, Ikolo added, “A “law” in Otokutu Community of Ughelli South Local Government Area implies a non-indigene who acquires a piece of land in the community must use local contractors to build the project (both supply of labour) or pay a cut-off fee of N500,000”. How much does a piece of land cost in Otokutu that a buyer who wants to develop his land will be asked to pay such amount of money? Is Ikolo saying that the people of Otokutu do not want their community to develop that is why they take such measures against non-indigenes? Undoubtedly, these things cannot be true as non-indigenes help to accelerate community development because indigenes alone cannot develop all their lands.
Moreover, Ikolo said, “The local labour contractors must have at least 20 ghost workers”. If a local contractor is forced to have 20 ghost workers in his pay list as postulated by Ikolo, how many labourers does a contractor engage to build a three bedroom bungalow? How big is that building project that a community will compel the local contractor to have 20 ghost workers before he engages the real labourers that will do the job?
From a careful analysis of the content of the said article, Ikolo only engaged in superfluous write up. If for the purpose of profit making MTN decided to relocate its office from Uvwie to Asaba, is that enough to denigrate the entire Urhobo nation as people who are unfriendly to investors? Can Ikolo confirm to the Urhobos that MTN does not have any of its offices and masts in any parts of Urhoboland? If the Urhobo people are unfriendly to MTN as claimed by Ikolo, why does the organization still have its offices and masts in other parts of Urhoboland? Dunlop Nig. Limited, Michelle Nig. Limited and many other companies had left the country for neighbouring countries due mainly to poor electricity supply. Did these companies leave Nigeria because the Urhobos were unfriendly to them too? None of these companies was in Urhoboland. Companies can relocate from one environment to another for reasons as profitability, low rent, acquisition of land and permanent property etc.
While it is necessary to criticise, it is disadvantageous to embark on a frivolous criticism as that will engender distrust and hatred among the generality of the people. With this type of article written by Ikolo, how does he expect investors to invest in Urhoboland especially those who have not visited the land? There is no problem with people who have visited or are living in Urhoboland as I have no doubt that such people will commend the Urhobos for their friendliness. It is essential to conduct research, verify facts and figures before hurrying to the press as any published article has either grave or positive impact on the masses. So, the position taken by Ikolo on the Urhobos is incorrect as the Urhobos are sociable, affable, good-natured and kindhearted. They accommodate strangers and investors from all parts of the world. This is why strangers do not relocate from Urhoboland because everybody likes a peaceful environment to dwell in and also do business. Urhoboland is home to everybody.