At 94, Okpe people have no secessionist intentions – PG

 

The President General of Okpe Union, Prof. O. Igho Natufe, has said the Okpe people of Delta state have no secessionist intentions as the people have a lot to contribute to the survival, growth and development of Nigeria.

Speaking Saturday in Lagos, on the 94th anniversary of the founding of the Okpe Union at the headquarters of the Okpe Union, Prof Natufe said Okpe is one of the more than 400 indigenous ethnic nationalities that constitute the Federal Republic of Nigeria and, like other indigenous ethnic nationalities, has a voice in determining the future of Nigeria. 

He said: “Our being here today is thanks to the vision of Founding President of the Okpe Union, Pa Thomas Ometie Ake (of Blessed Memory) and his colleagues who had the foresight in establishing Okpe Union, which today makes Okpe Union the oldest registered ethnic organization in Nigeria. Pa Ake hailed from Mereje Town in present Okpe Local Government Area in Okpe Nation, Delta State. The seed he and his colleagues planted here in Lagos 94 years ago has mushroomed into multiple branches across Nigeria and in the Diaspora.

“Okpe is the most populous monolithic ethnic nationality in Delta State. There are two Local Government Areas (LGAs) in Okpe Nation, namely: Okpe LGA and Sapele LGA. Its central location makes us refer to the Okpe Nation as the Bridge of Delta State. The Okpe have excellent relationships with all ethnic nationalities in Delta State, as we are recognized as a peaceful, friendly, and accommodating Nation. We are neither loud nor overbearing to other ethnic nationalities in Delta State. 

“We firmly believe that all indigenous ethnic nationalities, irrespective of their population size and territorial vastness, are equal partners in ensuring the survival, growth and development of Nigeria. We also firmly believe that the oppression or subjugation of one indigenous ethnic nationality is an assault on the sovereignty of all indigenous ethnic nationalities. 

“The fragility of the Nigerian state is aggravated by the insecurity in the country. We call on the federal government to take immediate actions to evacuate Fulani herdsmen, bandits and terrorists from the territories of the indigenous ethnic nationalities across Nigeria. While we advocate for the unity of Nigeria, we strongly believe that the unity can only be strengthened if it is anchored on the principles of justice, fairness and equity, serving the interests of the indigenous ethnic nationalities in the country.

“We are facing an existential crisis in Nigeria. A resolution of this crisis requires inputs from all indigenous ethnic nationalities at a round table conference, if the National Assembly proves incapable of producing a renewed federalism of the 1963 variant. If not properly handled, the current crisis can lead to unwanted confrontations between ethnic nationalities with severe consequences for Nigeria. It is on record that the Hausas have given the Fulanis an ultimatum to vacate their territories.

“We, Okpe, have no secessionist intentions. But, we recognize that the Nigerian edifice is cracked and hemorrhaging. We are committed to working with other ethnic nationalities in restructuring the Nigerian edifice to guarantee the safety of all indigenous ethnic nationalities, on the basis of justice, fairness and equity, where our rights are recognized and protected under a renewed federal constitution.”