Urhobo Historical Society

WARRI
LAND, OVERLORDS & LAND RIGHTS
(OMETAN Vs DORE NUMA)
FACT, FICTION & IMPERIALISM

By D. A. Obiomah

 Originally published in Warri by GKS Printers. Published in URHOBO WAADO by permission of Mr. D. A. Obiomah.
© D. A. Obiomah 1987, 2002

ITSEKIRI COMMUNAL LANDS TRUST

The BeninRiver resurgence saw in 1959 the emergence of the WARRI DIVISION (ITSEKIRI COMMUNAL LANDS) TRUST. Even before their 99 year terms had expired the Western Region Government returned most of the area covered by the 1906, 1908, and 1911 leases to the Trust. BeninRiver showed clearly its strong presence. Three years later there was the Commission of Enquiry into the Itsekiri Communal Lands Trust with Hon. Mr. Justice S.P. Thomas as Chairman. At page eleven of the White Paper, Western Nigeria Official Document No. 2 of 1963, Government commented:

"ALLOCATION OF PLOTS

40.The owners of plots in the Government Reservation area are stated to be as follows:

(1) Mr. A.O. Rewane

(2) Mr. O. NO. Rewane

(3) Chief Begho

(4) Chief Brown Tenumah

(5) Chief Mayuku

(6) Chief B.C. Otuedo

(7) Mr. O. Efueye

(8) Chief Afejuku

(9) Chief Gabriel Ekwejunor-Etchie.

"It was boserved that Messrs. O.N. Rewane and A.O. Rewane had not paid the necessary fees, although they had proceded to erect buildings on their respective plots. Although they and the other allottees have not paid the prescribed fees, these plots were never advertised. It is our considered opinion that only the Trustees and their agents received allocations in these areas, it is inescapable to conclude that polical affiliations and their personal interest were the riding factors in the allocation of the plots to them.

The above list may well be substituted for the Itsekiri Leaders of Though or else the Leaders of the Leaders of Thought. What have asked the question, who was Chief Dore Numa? We may also add this detail from interview of Madam F. Rewane of Numa Maternity, Warri:

"Florence is the daughter of Chief Rewane Jemide, maternally the grandson of Numa" (Happy Home Magazine, January 1977, Page 33).

The instrument which established the Itsekiri Communal Lands Trust was Western Region Legal Notice No. 96 of 1959. The words in bracket which were explanatory and intended to limit the power of the Trust to only lands that intended to limit the power of the Trust to only lands that were communal and Itsekiri, were ignored by the Trust. It was claimed that all lands in Warri Division (now Warri Local Government Area) were Itsekiri lands and the Trust acted accordingly. It practically invaded Agbarha lands where it granted leases indiscriminately without the consent of the Agbarha people and without returning 2/3 or 100% of the revenue to the Agbarha who were in possession. Following the reversion of a large proportion of the 1906, 1908 and 1911 leases to the Trust, it was able to collect rents hitherto collected by Government. Thus both from these rents and the proceeds of new leases it unleashed savage persecution upon the Agbarha people, who had to fight back if they had the will, from their own pockets. In this way many individuals lost their lands. Others were drawn into litigation lasting several years. Also, individuals, including Itsekiris, who had taken leases from the Agbarha people prior to the inception of the Trust were required to take out fresh leases from the Trust. Only a handful who could resist while the majority complied to save themselves from harrassment. Even Messrs John Holt Transport Limited were in 1959 to execute a Deed of lease despite that entered into between Ogbe and john Holt & Co (of Liverpool) Ltd. In1911, for the same land. Hand in hand with this incursion was the conscious effort to ensure that appointments, contracts, employment of whatever nature, titles, social and political recognition in Warri Local Government Area were exclusive to Itsekiris. Whenever a non-Itsekiri fetured he must not be allowed leadership position such as Chairman. The position was so bad that in an Agbarha petition to the Head of the Federal Military Government, dated 15th une, 1972 the following list was compiled:

Appointments made in the Mid-Western State after Governor Ogbemudia promised Agbassa in 1969 that they would in future be considered for appointment.

(1)Appointment of Chairman and member of the Local Govt Service Board Gazett No. 24 Vol. 6 of 29th May, 1969.

(2)Appointment of Juvenile Court Panel - 'Warri Juvenile Court Panel' Gazette No. 21 of 1969.

(3)Appointment of Public Service Commissioner - Gazette No. 34 of 1969.

(4)Appointment of Chairman of Statutory Corporations - Gazette No. 39 of 1969.

(5)Appointment of member of the Midwest Reconstruction and Rehabilitation Committee, Gazette No. 39 of 1969.

(6)Appointment of the Chairman and members of the Mid-Western Nigeria Pilgrim Welfare Council - Gazette No. 47 of 1969.

(7)Appointment of Acting Chairman of the Midwest Sorts Council - Gazette No. 47 of 1969.

(8)Appointment of the Chairman and member of the Statutory Corporation Service Commission - Gazette No. 8 of 1970.

(9)Appointment of members of the Midwest Sorts Council - Gazette No. 8 of 1970.

(10)Appointment of Chairman and members of the Midwest State of Nigeria Water Board - Gazette No. 8 of 1970.

(11)Appointment of Chairman and members of the Teachers Council of Mid-West State of Nigeria - Gazette No. 11 of 1970.

(12)Appointment of member of the Midwest Sports Council - Gazette No. 26 of 1970.

(13)Appointment of Chairman and Members of the Midwest Catering Board - Gazette No. 20 of 1970.

(14)Appointment of Juvenile Court Panel "Warri Juvenile Court Panel' - Gazette No. 32 of 1970.

(15)Appointment of Prison Visitors "Warri Prison" - Gazellte No. 35 of 1970.

(16)Appointment of Chairman and members of Tribunals "Warri Rent Tribunal" - Gazette No. 38 of 1970.

(17)Appointment of member of Midwestern State of Pilgrims Welfare Council - Gazette No. 42 of 1970.

(18)Appointment of Members and Chairman of the State Tax Board - Gazette No. 42 of 1970.

(19)Appointment of Chairman and Members of the Ethiope Publishing Corporation - Gazette No. 43 of 1970.

(20)And such other appointments into the Bendel Insurance Company, and New Nigeria Bank, Hospital Management Board and Committees, etc.

(21)Appointment of Chairman and Members ofthe Public Service Commission -

Gazette No. 4 of 1971.

""6 of 1971.

""8 of 1971.

(22)Appointment of Members of Licensing Tribunal for Districts within Delta Provice - Gazette No. 9 of 1971.

(23)Appointment of the Chairman of the Statutory Corporations. Service Commission - Gazette No. 10 of 1971.

(24)Appointment of Chairman and Members of the State Tax Board - Gazette No. 13 of 1971.

(25)Appointment of members of the Public Accounts Committee - Gazette No. 21 of 1971.

(26)Appointment of Chairman and Members of Schools Boards - Gazette No. 24 of 1971.

(27)Appointment of Acting Chairman of the Midwest Catering Board - Gazette No. 32 of 1971.

(28)Appointment of a member of the Statutory Corporations Service Commission - Gazette No. 32 of 1971.

(29)Appointment of Chairman of the Midwest Catering Board - Gazette No. 36 of 1971.

The situation has become much worse now, (Appendix iii-vi) Partly because of this and other agitations of the Warri Urhobos began to be nominated to membership of the Warri Urban District Council in the early 70s. but the Itesekiri onslaught went on from strength to strength reaching a semiclimax under the U.P.N. regime 1979-19983, the core of the Action Group team of 1951 being fully in control during the abortive SecondRepublic. The actual climax was reached in 1986 when Sole Administrators of Local Government Councils were replaced by nominated members headed by a civil servant as Chairman. On this occasion Urhobo representation was finally annihilated with three members for Itsekiri and one for the Ijaws. Even as this script is being written a team of Ijaws and Agbarha Urhobos have found it necessary to visit an oil company to counter protests by Isekiris that only Itsekiri must be employed by that company to the exclusion of all other indigenes of Warri Local Government Area.

The fury of the Trust and resistance to it entered into a very fiery stage in the 1970s. Three instances will sufficiently encompass this period. As the courts were unfortunately drawn in during the first BeninRiver reign, so now. Professor Oritsejolomi Thomas, Vice-Chancellor of Ibadan University had become Chairman of the Board of Trustees on 1st December 1967 (MNLN. 6 of 1968).

(a)aboutthis time the Federal Government acquired land at Ugborodo/Ogidigben. This was the place of Olue of whom we have aleady heard much in Olue v Edede ending in the so-called Consent Judgement. The Ogidigben and Ugborodo people denied that the Trust was entitled to a share of the compensation. Ironically one of those who represented Ugborodo and Ogidigben in court was again called Olue. Had the wheel turned full circle? The Trust Instrument had the following proviso to the powers of the Trust to prevent an assault on Family lands and indeed to limit the operation of the Trust to the lands fortuitously obtained from the unfortunate Agbarha people by the leases of 1906, 1908 and 1911.

"The said rights (that is to demise land accept surrenders of leases) shall not include any rights exercisable by any persons in respect of family land on behalf of the family."

The late Mr. Godwin Boyo an Itsekiri, represented the Ugborodo and Ogidigeben Itsekiri people. A charge of contempt of court was made against Mr. Boyo, at the time the President of the Nigerian Bar Association. This was what happened:

1ALL N.L.R.343

5APPEAL FROM THE HIGH COURT (MID-WEST) SUIT No. S.C. 53/1970.

Chief Williams, (with him, Odje and Boyo (Mrs) for the Appellant.

Gbemudu, (Acting D.P.P. Mid-West) for the Respondent

10ADEMOLA, C.J.N. (delivering the judgement of the Court) -

This appeal arose out of a case of contempt of court taken summarily suo moto by Atake J. of the High Court of the Mid-WesternState. The contemptnor Mr. Boyo is a legal practitioner residing in Benin City and was concerned in a case before the learned judge.

15It would appear that a considerable amount of money was involved in the case an on the 17th March 1969 in Appeal No. SC.21/69 the Supreme Court directed that a sum of £27,416:13s:4d be paid out to Mr. Boyo;s clients (the Ugborodo people) and that the balance of £13,708:6s:8d do remain in the High Court, Warri pending the determination of another appeal in the Supreme Court.

This order of the Supreme Court was served on the High Court Regitrar Warri, who paid out the sum of £27,416:13s:4d as directed. On 22nd October 1969, in another suit pending before Atake J. he ordered that the sum of £13,708:6s:8d be paid out to the adversary of Ugborodo people, Mr. Boyo's clients.According to Mr. Boyo, he sought an interview with Atake J. and pointed out to him that his order would appear to be in breach of the Supreme Court Order; he stated that nevertheless Atake J. said that his order must be carried out despite the order made by the Supreme Court. Whereupon, Mr. Boyo on 3rd January, 1970 wrote a letter tot he learned judge, a copy of which was sent to the Accountant-General (who in the last resort would pay out the money; he also sent copies to the following - The Chief Justice, Mid-Western State, the Attorney-General of the State, and the Chief Registrar, High Court. The letter reads:

BOYO & BOYO

BARRISTERS & SOLICITORSSapele Road,

NOTARY PUBLICP.O. Box 277,

Benin City,

G. M. BOYO, LL.B. (Lond.)Nigeria,

Barrister of the MiddleTemple3rd January, 1970.

C. A. BOYO

Barrister of the InnerTemple

Telephone : 193

Our Ref : CV.135

The Hon. The Judge,

High Court III,

Thro' The Registrar,

High Court of Justice,

Warri,

Your Lordship,

SUIT NO. W/46/69

ITSEKIRI COMMUNAL LAND TRUSTEES

Versus

DICK OLUEH & ORS.

I recall my interview with Your Lordship in respect of the above suit in Your Lordship's Chambers on 30th December, 1969. It was at that stage that I intervened in the matter and informed Your Lordship that I had in fact come to see Your Lordship about certain aspects of the said suit and judgement/order.

Your Lordship however persisted upon instructing the Registrar, Mr. T.K.N. Peregba to proceed without delay to ensure that the voucher left for the Government Treasury and that the Itsekiri Communal Land Trustees were paid after which your Lordship inved me to Your Lordship's Chambers on my application to see Your Lordship in connection with the order made by Your Lordship in the said suit authorising £13,708:6:8d to be paid out to the Itsekiri Communal Land Trustees.

In your Lordship's Chambers, I informed Your Lordship that when I first heard of the judgement and order dated 22nd December, 1969 on27th December, 1969, I immediately suggested to Your Lordship Your Lordship's attention to the order dated 17th March 1969 made by the Supreme Court in Suit No. W.327/68 by which the sum of £13,708:6s:8d which Your Lordship had ordered to be paid to the Itsekiri Communal Land Trustees was kept in court.

Your Lordship then regreeted that unfortunately, Your Lordship's Registrar did not call Your Lordship's attention to the said order of the Supreme Court and that the said order was also not in the case file in Suit No. W/46/69. I agreed with Your Lordship that it was unfortunate those facts were not brought to Your Lordship's notice.

I then reminded Your Lordship that not much harm had been done as the payment voucher which Your Lordship was ordering Your Lordship's Registrar to forward to the Treasury for the withdrawal of the £13,708:6s:8d when we met in the Registry that morning had not in fact left the matter and suggested that if any thing had been done wrongly it was so done because of cousel in the case.

I reminded Your Lordship further that the sum involved was compensation money retained in Your Lordship's court by an order of the Supreme Court pending the determination of appeal to that Court which had not been heard but againYour Lordship refused to intervene in the matter to stop the money from being paid out because Your Lordship though the order dated 22nd Decmber, 1969 contained enough safe-guards to ensure that the money went to the people of Ugborodo and Itsekiri Communal Land Trustees.

I did my best to imress upon Your Lordship that it appears that grave miscarriage of justice had been comitted in the proceedings subsequent to the order made by Your Lorship in Suit W/46/69 on 24th October, 1969 substituting Mr. Egbe's clients (viz: Babin Ereku, Olleh Akpienyi, Anierturoronwa Okotie-Uro and Tsuku Ejuetami_ for Chief Dick Olueh and Chief Ojogbo Eribokuo as representatives of the Ugborodo and Ogidigben people but Your Lordship did not appear to be impressed by my contentions.

After arriving in my chambers and reassessing my responsibility in this matter to Your Lordship, the Supreme Court and the Ugborodo and Ogidigben people (who, I represent in this matter), I have decided to make this further appeal to Your Lorship to recondier the proriety of the order made by Your Lordship in Suit W/46/69 on 22nd December, 1969 authorising the sum of £13,708:6s:8d to be paid to the Itsekiri Communal Land Trustees when their appeal to the Supreme Court in Suit W/27/68 involving the determination of their rights to receipt of any part of this compensation money (among other issues) has not been heard. Your Lordship should also consider the propriety of paying out this money to the Itsekiri Communal Lnad Trustees before their appeal and the appeal of my clients in Suit W/27/68 wee heard and without an order from the Supreme Court.

I am to add further that the plaintiffs in W/46/69 (.e. the Itsekiri Communal Land Trustees) did not seek an order for the payment out to them of £13,708:6s:8d or any other sum of money but a determination of the following question viz -

"The person or persons entitled to the compensation money and the manner and proportion in which they should share the said money paid in respect of the lands situate at Ogidigben at the mouth of River Escravos iWarri Division acquired by the Federal Government and covered by certificate of title dated 20th July, 1955 and registered as No. 8 at page 8 in Volume 30 in the Benin City Land Registry."

It is also pertinent inthis regard to mention that oth the originating summons dated 15th May, 1969 (filed after the order of the Supreme Court in W/27/68) filed by the plaintiffs in Suit W/46/69 and the statement of claim filed by the plaintiffs in the said suit gave some notice of the nature of the proceedings and the order of the Supreme Court dated 17th April, 1969 in Suit W/27/68.

I remain,

Your Lordship,

(Sgd) Mogbeyi Boyo:

SOLICITOR TO UGBORODO
AND OGIDIGBEN PEOPLE."

"AFTER THE RECIPT OF THIS LETTER, AND INDEED ON 22ND January, 1970, the learned judge (Atake J.) directed the Registrar to pay out the sum of £13,708:6s:8d to the adversary of Ugborodo people, that is, the Itsekiri Communal Land Trustees.On the same day a letter was written by the Registrar, on the instructions of the learn judge, to Mr. Boyo, demanding an apology within 14 days for the letter written to the judge, otherwise he would be deal with for comtempt of court.On a refusal by the plaintiff to tender the arested at Benin City by a warrant issued under the hand of the learned judge at Warri. The executio of this warrant and a second warrant of arrest at Benin City and the subsequent detention of Mr. Boyo without bail are all the subject matter of another appeal before us on which we are also delivering judgement. It is therefore unnecessary to deal with that aspect of the case here. On Mr. Boyo eventually appearing before the court, the learned judge (Atake J.) explained but he would make available to counsel and the contemptnor a copy of the charge in the record book.

It reads -

CONTEMPT OF COURT

PARTICULARS

Attempt to contermand or render nugatory the order of this Court dated the 22nd December, 1969 to the effect that the sum of £13,708:6s:8d be paid out to the Itsekiri Communal Land Trustees and the Ugborodo and Ogidigben community by writing a letter CV.135 of the 3rd January, 1970 published to the Accontant-General Benin City and by other acts with the intention of stopping the said Accountant-General from paying the said money to the Registrar of this Court well knwing of the said order and that pursuant to the said order of this Court a voucher had been prepared for the presentation to the said Accountant-General for pament to the Registrar of this Court of the said amount of £13,708:6s:8d to enable the said Registrar to pay the said money to the Itsekiri Communal Land Trustees and Ugborodo community as ordered by this Court/

(Sgd.) F.O.M. Atale:

JUDGE."

On the charge as presented to the court, counsel for Mr. Boyo took an objection to the case being heard by the learned judge (Atake J.). He submitted that the court and the judge are so much concerned in thematter and the learned judge might as yet be a witness in the case.In the argument which ensued between counsel for Mr. Boyo and the court (Atake J.) it was held by the judge that the proper court to try Mr. Boyo was his court. On his insistence to try Mr. Boyo an adjournment was asked for to prepare a defence. This was granted. Bail was also allowed.Meanwhile, an appeal against the order that the court is the proper court to hear the matter was filed in this Court.

At the hearing before us, the learned ActingD.P.P.Mid-WesternState first took an objection to the Court hearing the appeal on the ground that it has no jurisdiction ince it is a criminal matter and that no one has been convicted or acquitted. This objection was later withdrawn and hearing of the appeal continued.

Having thoroughly analysed the whole case their Lordships declared: -

ALL N.L.R.

In the matter before us, we fail to see how Atake J. would have avoided placing himself in the most invidious position of being an oaccuser, a witness, and also a judge if he was permitted to hear the matter of the contempt.

If even we were to hold that it is a matter within the competence of Atake J. to hear, we well compelled to say that we would have found it difficult to allow him to proceed to judge the contempt charge since the result of such a trial was a foregone conclusion juddging from his own utterances and conduct of the case so far, from the record before us.

We have astained from referring in this judgement to the unhappy personal relationship between Atake J. and Mr. Boyo which we regret to say that the learned judge has not only brought out vividly in the proceedings in court, but has allowed this to interfere with his judgement.

In the event this appeal succes, the order made by Atake J. in his ruling dated 13th February, 1978 that his court was the proper court to try the case of contempt of court in this matter is hereby set aside.

Appeal allowed: Order of trial judge that his court was proper court to try the case for contempt set aside.

b)In November 1973 Justice F.O.M. Atake insisted on trying a land matter involving declaration of title and did try it, agansit the wishes of the Agbarha plaintiffs of Ogunu who alleged interest and a real likelihood of bias on the part of the trial Judge, and therefore did not participate in the trial. On appeal the Supreme Court in Suit No. SC74/1974 held that Justice Atake had no legal interest to stop him hearing the case. But it also held that it has been shown conclusively that there was a real likelihood of bias on the part of the learned trial Judge".Accordingly, the judgement and all consequential dedrations including declaration of title and forfeiture in favour of the Itsekiris were set aside, nad the case ordered to be tried de novo by another Judge. The Supreme Court's verdict came however not before it had noted:

"After the appellants were given one day to brief another counsel (their appellants refusing to participate) on Thursday November 22, Firday November 23, and Saturday November 24, 1973. Judgement was written in Court immediately after the conclusion of the trial and delivered before the Court rose for the day.We have it on the authority of Chief Awolowo that the judgement ran into fifteen pages and contained 4,586 words. Mr. O.N. Rewane also for the 3 rd respondent, furnished the information that the trial court rose at 4 p.m. on that Sturday after writing the judgement on the Bench and that this took him about three to four hours."

Lamentably, fourteen years after, this case is in 1987 still on at the Warri High Court, and compensation paid to court remains there. As with Boyo so were the Agbarha defendant's charged with contempt of court. In their case the Judge found them guilty of contempt of court and punished them severely. The third respondent referred to above was the Itsekiri Communal Lands Trust.

(c)it was the irony of events that Chief A. Prest one of the prominent Iteskiri in the Action Group under whose aeges the Itsekiri Communal Lands Trust was created fell victim of its fury.

On9th July, 1971, V.E. Ovi-Whiskey J. found in favour of Chief Arthur Prest against the Itsekiri Communal Lands Trust, Suit No. W/15/1970. He declared:

"For the avoidance of doubt, especially as there are numerous cases pending in the Warri High Court on this overlordship issue, I hereby make it watsoever in law to exercise the Olu of Warri rights of overlordship over lands owned by private individuals and families in Warri Division.

From all that I have already said, I hereby declare that in accordance with Itsekiri customary law the piece or parcel of land situate at Warri, the exact area of which is shown in the survey plan attached to the deed of lease granted by Chief Ogbe (wronglfully spelt Oagbe herin) of Warri to Messrs. John Holt of Liverpool Limited, which said lease is registered as No. 9/1911 and engrossed on pages 143 to 148 Register of Native Lands Volume 1 of the Lnad Registry at Warri, now kept in the Land Registry in the Office at Benin-City, is the family land of the Ogbe family of Ugbuwangue Warri.

"I hereby adjudge that the deed of lease granted by the defendants to Messrs. Holts Transport Limited, in Warri dated 8th November, 1961, which has now been taken over by the Nigerian Ports Authority from the Holts Transport Limited as lessees, and which said lease is registered as No. 36 at page 6 in Volume 398 of the Lands Registry, Benin-City is Null and Void and of no effect whatsoever. I hereby order it to be cancelled and it is hereby cancelled.

"I hereby make an order of perpetual injuction to restrain the defendants from continuing to collect rents of any type whatsoever accruing from the land in dispute."

Chief Prest asked for 1000 guineas costs, to which:

MR. REWANE REPLIES: He says that costs are at the discrtion of the court. He offers 100 guineas costs."

The judgement was upheld on appeal in Sec. 185/1972.

In an address delivered by Professor Thomas Chairman, Board of Trustees to the members of the Representative Committee of the Itsekiri Communal Lands Trust on 12th February 1974 at the Warri Divisional Council Hall, Warri he said, under the sub-heading Rights of the Trust under the Law:

"I have to report that some communities have been co-operating by conceeding the rights due to the Itsekiri Communal Lands Trustees. But some individuals whose stock in trade is to stir yp troubles have not stopped their prannks or mischeive-making. Some of them, it seems, have taken the vow to destroy the Trust, the object of their hate. Amongst them could be found legal tactician working reletnlessly to confuse issues. May I ask this question. Has the Trust not demonstrated its usefulness and good intention well enough? I am appealing to those apostles of confusion to seach their consciences. They should stop distrubing the peace of the peopl. It will certainly pay them better if they think more of the tribe than their little worlds. I wish they could use half of their energy in joing hands with us in our efforts to build a united Itsekiri nation. The Trustees would like Itsekiri nation and not the individual Trustees."

"It should be remebered that individual Trustees are Itsekiris and invariable are members of the communities or families of the Itsekiri people. What beats the Trustees hollow is the amount of assistance and encouragement these new crop of "freedom fighters" have been receiving from our traiditona opponents-..

"The duty of overseeing the land and defending it is an onerous one. It costs money. It consumes valuable time and energy. The Trustees have given serious consideration to this particular duty and will overhaul the machinery of organizing effective defence." (WARRIDIVISIONLAND TRUST REVIEW).

It is patently clear that the Trust was unpopular to the extent that "traditional opponents" now found common cause with Itsekiris as "freedom fighters: against the effort by vested interests to reduce urhobos and Itsekiris to serfdom.

If the Chief Arthur Prest had fallen out of favour with his one time friends, either prudence bome out of awe of his challenge to, or, fear of victimisation by the dealy Trust kept Itsekiris from his funeral whereby he was left largely in the hands of his Urhobo grandmother's relations of Effurun, at his Itsekiri home of Ugbuwangue.

Arthur Prest had shrunken and reduced the Trust to a snail in a small shell - the area covered by the leases, although, even this was only a brief respite. In dealing this dealy blow to the Trust Chief Prest bore out Honourable A. Egbe in 1936 that the Itsekiris themselves realised that the grandiose claims attached toOluship could not be sustained. Yet Chief Prest just beat Godwin Boyo to it. Boyo freed Ogidigbe/Ugbrodo lands from the clutches of the Trust thus vindicating Olue, 1921, whose ghost was thereby laid to rest in peace. Between Prest and Boyo, all Itsekiri land was freed from a Despot, the Trust origniated by imperial Britain.

The epitaph of turbulent overlorship may now be written with a sigh:

Born: 1921.

Father: Bristish.

Mother: Benin-River.

Name: Bastardson Berlin Act.

Conduct: Unredeemed prodigal.

Case History: Suffered stroke diagnosed Prestosis Boyonis, 1971. Foamed in the mouth, but spued venom to the end. Dead and buried by Military Decree, 1978.


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