Urhobo Historical Society
The Warri Rebirth Initiative
A Keynote Address/Pep Talk at a Meeting on Sunday, 27th June 2010 at BB Hotels, Deco Road, Warri
By Senator (Dr.) Fred A. Brume
I. Felicitations/Introductory Remarks
most delighted and thankful to God for you and me
to be alive today, and to be here with you face to face in the centre
of Warri in a hotel called BB Hotels along
Just as we had many other prominent families of Clarks/Bekederemos and Porbenis in those days of Ijaw Community of Warri, so did we have numerous illustrious families from various ethnic backgrounds living in Warriand contributing to its welfare: Okumagba, Odibo, Rewane, Dediare, Esiso, Bakpa, Oputu, Obahor, Ometan, Rerri, Sido, Emiko, Otuedor, Kagho-Omomadia, Mabiaku, Ukoli, Ako, Mowaren, Akpore, Mudiaga-Odje, Aghoghovbia, Djebah, Akpofure, Ovie-Whiskey, Idigbe, Mowoe, Owolo, Esisi, Oteri, Esiri, Pinnick, Edukugho, Pessu, Ukueku, Bivbere, Amoda, Origho, etc. etc. Once again, I want to thank the organizers of this event, the Warri Rebirth Initiative, particularly its Interim Chairman, Mr Kes Agbosa of the Delta Steel Company, and his colleagues, who have not rested on their oars since the idea of Warri’s rebirth was born.
II. Why Was Warri Such a Great Community?
Warri of our youth was a multi-ethnic, multi-cultural and multi-religious metropolis that enjoyed an enviable peace which allowed love to flow freely amongst its residents. If you agree that God is love, then you would find Warri to be a little paradise on earth.
The town was complete with all the normal attributes of an urban centre. It had a seaport which gave access to international trade, and sea-borne travelers, thus enabling it to serve as a home for the then foreign-owned big trading companies of the colonial times - such as UAC, John Holt, G.B. Ollivant, Bhojsons, Kewalrams, Kingsway, DKG; the local branches of the then major banks such as Barclays DCO, International Bank for West Africa (IBWA), African Continental Bank (ACB) etc.
had its complement of appropriate government parastatal
offices such as NPA, Customs, Port Health Services, etc.
There was therefore an important government
presence in Warri urban city which served
headquarters of the Provincial Administration of the
was always the
possibility to travel out by sea to any part of coastal
The Armed Forces were not present in Warri in the days of our youth (i.e. the 1950s and most of the 1960s). No Army, no
Navy, no Air Force. Only the Nigeria Police maintained a Divisional Office in Warri. There was however the Okere High Prison, the thought of which was an adequate deterrence to crime. Do people still fear Okere High Prison or has it decayed?
Warri was a great centre of commerce where peace and a progressive culture for all Nigerians of all age groups prevailed. The streets were safe. There was opportunity to partake in diverse activities, even to join the European Dance Club where different categories of Nigerians could come to learn Waltz, Quick Step, Tango and in later times, the Twist! Most people absorbed and embraced the local culture so Warri became a metropolis where several tribes co-existed and peacefully planted, while not forgetting their ethnic origins. The Ibos, the Yorubas and the Hausas felt at home and lived peacefully with the local ethnic groups:Urhobo, the Ijaw, Itsekiri, Isoko and Kwale [Ukuani].
Warri had an enviable share
of primary schools mostly missionary schools, and some post-primary
such as the United College of Commerce and
in Warri was healthy
and peaceful. During the day time we
students played games together from different primary schools, until we
secondary schools. We played either at
the Warri Stadium or at the grounds of the
was peacefully vibrant. In my times in
the 50s there were two main Students Unions in Warri,
became very active during the holidays. There
the Delta Students Union (DSU)
which was populated largely by students from
Warri was indeed a great
city and Warri Stadium was one of the 3
stadia in the country by the early 50s.
In the area of football, the Warri
Eleven was often in the finals or semi-finals of national football
tournaments. The present Warri Wolves being backed by Amaju
Pinnick have work to do.
I remember from my earlier days such great
players of Warri First Eleven as Okwudili,
Onowhakpor and Anisha,
others. Also, in the field of athletic
competition amongst all secondary schools, the Warri
Stadium hosted competitions and men like A.K. Amu were star runners. It was quite often that some of us students
was not in our dictionary and I
remember walking on my feet safely from one end of Warri
to the other even at . Indeed, I once walked at from the Wayfarer’s Club at Warri GRA to
What Do We Now Need for the Warri Rebirth Initiative to Succeed in Bringing Us beyond and above the Past Glory of Warri?
1. A reputable University level institution.
2. The realization of the international airport at Osubi which was initially planned and surveyed in 1971/72 and included in the Federal Budget for execution since 1972/73.
3. A new international standard
Sports Stadium that can take
4. Promoting and Expanding usage of the Seaports at Warri and at Ovwian-Aladja (by DSC).
5. Completion and operation of the railways line and service, for goods and for passengers, from the Greater Warri/Aladja/Udu areas to Ajaokuta and Itakpe.
6. Realization of the Warri Industrial/Business Park and its Satellite Ovwian-Aladja Industrial Park, opposite the Delta Steel Company, as planned 20 years ago.
7. Modern Dual-Carriage way road transport infrastructure within the Greater Warri metropolis and linkages to the North, East and West.
8. Procurement of an Export Processing Zone for the Ovwian-Aladja Satellite Industrial Park served by the DSC Seaports at Ovwian-Aladja.
9. Full development and operation of heavy industries in the Greater Warri Area covering:
i. the integrated steel production plant at Ovwian-Aladja,
ii. refineries and petro-chemicals, including the Carbon Black Plant at Ekpan,
Plant and Methanol Plants at the
10. Realization of a State Capital status near enough to the Greater Warri Area. (Warri being a former “Provincial Headquarters).
11. The establishment of an Independent
Power Plant around the
12. Other new international tourism facilities such as an international hotel.
became a great city because it was a peaceful environment to live in,
visitors from abroad and from within
Thanks and God’s blessings to all who have been able to attend today’s meeting of Warri Rebirth Initiative.
Senator (Dr) Fred A. Brume