Eworitsemogha Mabiaku's Rejoinder:
ITSEKIRI EXPECT "CUSTOMARY TENANTS" TO RECOGNIZE
ITSEKIRI RIGHTS OF OWNERSHIP
Dear Dr Peter Ekeh,
Recently E. K Clark stated that the IJAWS in Lagos were born in Lagos and so were indigenous to Lagos. Most arguments I hear these days tend to have this kind of statement as the underlying basis for the positions taken by "customary" tenants.
These arguments tend to bring to fore the RIGHTS OF RESIDENCY. Unfortunately, this right, is both unconstitutional and alien to the culture of our people in Nigeria. First you must understand our people's attachment to their land, to be able to understand why it is easy to claim Residency anywhere in America, whereas such would be resisted by any indigenous group, anywhere in Nigeria. Until such a time as we are able to divorce our people from their attachment to their land, I am afraid that we shall continue to have problems in areas where longtime customary tenants want to assert rights of ownership.
This aside, let me state here that there are very many
Itsekiri enclaves within Urhobo homelands. In all these enclaves, you will
find that the Itsekiris have learnt to respect Oral History and to accept
the fact that they are customary tenants , whereas the Urhobos continue
to aggressively pursue Ownership rights, even where History states otherwise.
The Egborges, Ukolis , Obiomahs, etc. should learn like the Itsekiris to
respect the rights of their customary landlords. Then and only then shall
we begin to have the semblance of peace in our land.
E. O. Mabiaku