– The Igbanke National Progressive Alliance, the apex socio-cultural organisation of Igbanke town in Oriomwhon Local Government Area of Edo State has urged the National Assembly to include Igbanke in the proposed Anioma State.
“The Igbanke National Progressive Alliance has, after due consultations with the generality of Igbanke indigenes at home and in Diaspora as well as other stakeholders, upheld the age-long choice and agitation for Igbanke to be included in the proposed Anioma State that will be carved out of Delta State. This can be actualized if the people are simply included in closer Ika Local Government umbrella where we rightly belong. The present situation in which our people have been unduly separated from the rest of their Ika kith and kin was born out of the wish to satisfy the desire and selfish interest of those who sought to increase the kingdom they survey. The dumping of our town, Igbanke in Edo State is an age-long oversight that has brought nothing but neglect, untold attendant socio-political and economic hardship and the feeling that we are outcasts or outsiders, having been treated as such. Now is the time to correct this anomaly that we have been subjected to over the past two decades,” the group stated in an email statement Wednesday.
“We welcome with rapturous joy the determined resolution and efforts of the current National Assembly of Nigeria to create more states in the country……. and believe that the National Assembly and others who believe in the creation of more states in the country as a way of bringing development closer to the people, are on the right track as the course of action will correct the imbalance in which some ethnic groups have existed only in names, being dominated by others in the nation. The exercise should also offer the existing geo-political zones of the country equality and fairness with the accompanying developmental values for the nation,” it added.
The group in the statement signed by Eric Uwagbai, Executive Member; Godday Oyibo, Executive Member; Gloria Eluebo Adagbon, Convener, Igbanke National Progressive Alliance and General Secretary, Umu Anioma Worldwide, gave the following reasons why Igbanke should be aligned with the proposed Anioma State:
“(i) Igbanke is an autonomous community with villages, each with sovereign traditional ruler called Eze’ that are not answerable to any monarch in authority whether in Edo or elsewhere.
(ii) Igbanke people are of Ika stock thickly concentrated in the North West of Delta State, linguistically sharing a border in the west with the Edo speakers, Ishan speakers in the North, in the East with the Aniocha language speakers and in the south with the Ukwuani speakers. Historically, Igbanke is believed to have been founded by Agbor, Mbiri and Ishan migrant farmers
(iii) Igbanke is closer to Agbor, Mbiri, Owa and Abavo than it is to Benin City.
(iv) Igbanke has a long history of ancestral relationship with Agbor than Benin City which we have continued to maintain till date.
(v) In recent times, our people have had to rely on facilities put in place in neighbouring Agbor community by the Delta State Government such as hospitals, banks, petrol stations, state ministries and government parastatals so that the Delta State Government is now the surrogate cater-taker for Igbanke and Ekpon communities. The situation has always been that if our people have a choice to make in running to Benin or Agbor, they will surely prefer to, and gladly too, Agbor for linguistic reasons.
(vi) Igbanke has never been a tenant or vassal community of Benin or any other community in history not even in this century.
Our view is still that states should be created along the lines of ethnic nationalities with each group kept together as intact as possible. It is unfortunate that a major group is still claiming to own a minority group in these present times but collectively, the message from our people is that ENOUGH IS ENOUGH. We cannot all be slaves to another distant ethnic group in an independent nation like Nigeria where unlimited equality is guaranteed as enshrined in the constitution. We warn that anything short of our placement in the proposed Anioma State where we rightly belong will be resisted by the good people of Igbanke no matter the threat of invocation of curses on anyone or activities of sell-out minority of Igbanke chiefs with infinite chieftaincy titles from foreign lands. A boundary adjustment that would move us to Ika in Delta State, where we rightly belong, is the only other alternative we are prepared to accept.
In response to the rumours making the mills in Edo State, let us put on record that while still part of Edo State, the people of Igbanke will not accept anything short of her own Local Government Area with its Headquarters at Igbanke. We have the population, we have the resources and we have the economic centre to run our Local Government Area effectively. We will resist any attempt by anyone giving us a Greek gift of an Igbanke Local government area with headquarters at Oronigbe. Igbanke is part and parcel of Nigeria; we are Nigerians and we are no longer prepared to tolerate any nonsense from anyone, whether from the state government, any traditional ruler, or the ‘sell-out’ elites and selfish Igbanke politicians.
We call on the National Assembly to expedite action on the commencement of the constitutional amendment process that will support the creation of more states and boundary adjustments in the country, which will, in turn, assure us of a speedy exit from Edo State. Anything short of this will continue to make certain, our unnatural confinement in the hands of our oppressors. The earlier we are constitutionally relocated to the Anioma area, the better for our people.
Our people have been an integral part of the Anioma nation and are actively participating, in official capacities, in Anioma organisations and Associations; this will send the signal of seriousness on our part to pessimists and all the doubting Thomas about our intentions to fight for our right. We have the full backing of Anioma people.” (Naij.com)