Rising from a recent peace conference organised to return unity, peace, social harmony and development in Okpella clan of Edo State, the people of Okpella have spoken in unison to reposition the community, not just as a leading light among other communities in Edo State, but to also take its place in the polity of the state and the nation.
The conference, with the theme: ‘Repositioning Okpella for Growth And Development,’ witnessed the attendance of prominent sons and daughters of the community resident in various parts of the country.
The objectives of the conference were to entrench peace and harmony in Okpella clan, forge unity among the people, find solutions to challenges of insecurity in the land, reposition the community to take political advantage of its numerical strength and adopt a blue print for the development of the clan.
In his welcome address at the conference, the chairman, Conference Organising Committee, Dr Gerald Adewole, lamented that Okpella people have suffered marginalisation and neglect for a long time because the citizens have not been able to positively harness and productively channel their numerical strength and natural resources for development.
He called on all indigenes of Okpella to work together for the development of the clan.
Presenting the keynote address at the conference, Professor Abraham Imogie, decried the dearth of infrastructure in Okpella.
He lamented that the mineral deposits with which the clan is endowed, are at the whims and caprices of foreigners and non-indigenes of Okpella, who exploit the community and give only menial jobs of security, cleaning, and clerical duties to the indigenes.
Stressing the need for a platform for resolving community disputes as a means of forging unity and peace necessary for the growth and development of Okpella clan, Dr Ayuba Giwa, in his paper on Alternative Disputes Resolution, stressed the need for all sons and daughters of Okpella to return to the traditional cultural values of Okpella community.
Presenting a paper on ‘The Rising Trend Of Insecurity In Okpella,’ Mr Paul Ofemile averred that the current state of insecurity, is as a result of the idleness of the youth, the get rich quick syndrome, the screening of perpetrators of crime by political god-fathers, among others.
He stressed that for there to be adequate security in Okpella, all abandoned murder cases in the courts of law should be re-opened and parents and siblings of escapee murderers should be banished from the clan, until the culprits are brought to book.
He recommended the reinvigoration and strengthening of Okpella vigilante group, with central command and effective policing as a way of effectively dealing with the security situation in the community.
Barr Anamelo Dekeri (Danco) in his paper, ‘Leveraging Okpella’s Numerical Strength to Advantage’, pointed out that Okpella has not been able to harness its numerical strength to political advantage because most Okpella Politicians are selfish, egoistic and lack community spirit.
He noted that for Okpella to reposition itself politically, the people must consciously build broad based unity, foster love and understanding, as these are the conditions for peace, progress and sustainable development.
Honourable Godwin Eshieshi, who corroborated the views of Barrister Anamelo, said that Okpella was central in Etsako and Edo politics in the past.
He recommended that for Okpella to restore its lost glory, the people must come together and fight a common front.
At the end of the conference, a communiqué was adopted, which formed a blueprint on critical actions to be taken in order for Okpella to regain its lost socio-political glory and reposition itself for sustainable economic development.