Edo Community Rejects Imposition of Non Indigene, Fidelis Okowele As Leader

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The Edo state governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki and the Commissioner of Police in the state have been called upon to avert what may lead to breakdown of law amd order in the state with the appointment of a non-indigene, Fidelis Okowele as the Onojie, a traditional leader of Illushi/Ozigono community of Esan South East Local Government Area of the state.

According to a protest letter dated April 2, 2024, written to the governor, the police, Secretary to the State Government and the Commissioner for Chieftancy Affairs in the state and signed by the president of Illushi Progressive Association of Nigetia, IPAN, Barrister Victor Giwa, called for the withdrawal of the appointment of Okowele.

The association said Okowele has no ancestral link or connection to the people of Illushi/Ozigono.

In the letter made available to newsmen, the association said Okowele is not an indigene of their community and should not be inaugurated as the Onojie of the community.

Parts of the letter also signed by the council of elders amd other community leaders read, “Sir, our attention has been drawn to the news making round that your office has recognised one FIDELIS OKOWELE as the Onojie of ILLUSHI Ozigono community, of Esan South East Local government area. Of Edo State.
This news making the round in some official quarters is coming as a major concern to our people and it has heightened tension between the Illushi and Onogholo people of Esan south east local government.

“FIRSTLY, the said OKOWELE FIDELIS is not in indigene of Illushi/Ozigono community and has no ancestral link or connection to the people of Illushi/Ozigono.

“Secondly, Illushi/Ozigono belongs to the Uloshi people whose ancestral home is Uloshi Community in Uroh/Uloshi community. And our dialect is Uloshi and it is distinct from Esan dialect, which is prevalent in the Esan south east area.
Thirdly, as corollary to the reasons above, our dead are buried in our community and all burial rites are performed in the same Illushi community.

“Additionally, our people observe our cultural rites like Ogu, Eka, etc in the community.

“In the contrary, the said FIDELIS OKOWELE is Not an indigene of the Illushi Community, rather he is an indigene of Onogholo Community which neighbours and shares boundary with our Illushi community.

“Therefore, any such recognition and appointment of a non-indigene of Illushi/Ozigono Community and specifically FIDELIS OKOWELE is totally unacceptable, unimaginable and is rejected by us.

“For the purpose of Clarity, We the ILLUSHI/OZIGONO indigenes and people HEREBY REJECT any form of recognition and appointment of FIDELIS OKOWELE AS ONOJIE, KING, OR CHIEF of ILLUSHI /OZIGONO Community or in any name in whatever manner it is described.

“We further state that any attempt to recognised or appoint, install or decorate FIDELIS OKOWELE in any manner described above will be RESISTED WITH THE FULL FORCE OF OUR COLLECTIVE WILL. We therefore request that all action or FURTHER ACTION in relation to the Head /Chieftaincy ILlushi matter be suspended immediately to AVOID BREAKING DOWN OF LAW AND ORDER
It further important that all action be suspended to avoid acrimony between the two communities – ONOGHOLO and ILLUSHI COMMUNITY and the fragile peace in the communities.”

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