PERSONALITY OF THE WEEK : GLORIA ADAGBON: IGBANKE IS PART AND PARCEL OF IKA LAND

PERSONALITY OF THE WEEK

Many Ika and Anioma people are still surprised why the Ika speaking people of Igbanke are in the present Edo State, even when they do not speak or understand Edo or Esan language.

However, illustrious and concerned Igbanke indigenes like Mrs. Gloria Adagbon have begin to champion the call for the placement of Igbanke people to where they truly belong which is Ika or Anioma. In this exclusive online interview with Mrs. Gloria Adagbon from her United Kingdom residence, she spoke of the marginalization of Igbanke people twenty-one years after Edo State was created, and the need for all Igbanke people to support the effort to join their kith & kin Ika nation or the proposed Anioma nation

Many Ika and Anioma people are still surprised why the Ika speaking people of Igbanke are in the present Edo State, even when they do not speak or understand Edo or Esan language.

However, illustrious and concerned Igbanke indigenes like Mrs. Gloria Adagbon have begin to champion the call for the placement of Igbanke people to where they truly belong which is Ika or Anioma. In this exclusive online interview with Mrs. Gloria Adagbon from her United Kingdom residence, she spoke of the marginalization of Igbanke people twenty-one years after Edo State was created, and the need for all Igbanke people to support the effort to join their kith & kin Ika nation or the proposed Anioma nation

Excerpts:

May we meet you madam?

Yes, it is my pleasure speaking with you, I am Mrs. Gloria Adagbon

Can you tell us about your educational background

Well, I had a good and well rounded education. I had both my primary and secondary education at Igbanke. I studied Mass Communication at Auchi Polytechnic, Auchi, Edo State and subsequently completed my Higher National Diploma in Mass Communication (HND) at Ogun State Polytechnic, Abeokuta, Ogun State. After my studies, I did my National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) before going into the legal profession. I did my LLB (Law) Honours at the University of East London. I attended Law School at the prestigious College of Law, London, United Kingdom.

May we know a little about your parents.?

My father is Mr. Julius Ehiwuogun Orihu and my mother, Mrs. Patience Ebue Orihu are both from Igbanke. My father is a tradesman and also a farmer while my mother is a successful business woman. My father is well respected amongst his peers. My father is a vibrant and industrious man with a good talent for arts and crafts. As a child, I remember my father very well that weaves and produces instrument for sieving garri locally called �Nyo� for sale. My mother is equally a very sociable person and a well-respected member of the community. She thrives in her business and work very hard to ensure her trade compete favourably in the market environment. I am very proud of my parents and the type of up-bringing I had as a child. My parents worked tremendously hard to give me a solid foundation in life and instilled a sense of hardwork in my early years. I remember my mum telling me that education is the best gift they could give their children and this remains true to this present day.

When did you travel abroad?

I travelled oversees in late 1997 after my National Youth Service Corps (NYSC), which I undertook at the Pipeline and petroleum Products Marketing Company (PPMC), a subsidiary of the Nigeria National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) at Victoria Island, Lagos. I had wanted to secure employment at NNPC but when that did not materialize. I decided to leave the shores of Nigeria. My decision to travel oversees as a young Nigerian was without a careful consideration as most Nigerians now lack the opportunities to achieve their full protential. One would argue that leaving Nigerian would not have been the best decision to take. However, as young Nigeria and fresher from school, my decision to travel was taken on the spot and the rest is history.

How has it been since you left Nigeria and how do you compare the politics in the UK and in Nigeria?

Living oversees has taught me a lot in life, such as justice and fairness, equality of issues, democratic ideals and governance, and nation building. It is all about hardwork, merit and nothing else. If you want something, plan and work towards it. The type of leadership and politics in the United Kingdom is very different from our Nigerian context. In the UK, it is all about the people and how best to serve the people and improve on their living conditions. This is one aspect, I wish our leaders to emulate. Also, my stay in the UK have taught me to take pragmatic approach to issues that face us as a people and what practicable steps we can take to make things work in our community. I am very passionate about economic growth and development for our nation and in particular Anioma communities. I believe in the power of the �COLLECTIVE WILL� of the people to create positive CHANGE:

This is reinforced in my belief that everyone can offer their skills, experience and abilities to stimulate growth and development. Furthermore, my experience in the UK has strengthened my resolve as a strong advocate of justice, fairness and equality of opportunities. I believe that everyone should be given the opportunity to pursue their aspirations and excel in life irrespective of status or background. I would very much like to see an increase in Ika women involvement in politics and nation building

Igbanke people speak Ika language and history has it that they are from Ika Land but surprisingly they found themselves in Edo State after the split of Bendel State into Edo and Delta States. What is your take on this?

My take is that Igbanke is part and parcel of Ika nation. The location of Igbanke in Edo State is a strange one as Igbanke is undoubtedly of Ika stock and therefore should have been part of Delta State. In terms of geographical location and proximity, we are closer to Agbor, Mbiri, Owa and Abavo than to Abudu and Benin-City. We also have a long history of ancestral relationship with Agbor, which we have continued to maintain to date. The closeness to Agbor is such that we are heavily reliant on facilities at Agbor, provided by Delta State Government, such as hospitals, banks, state ministries, commerce and government parastatals to the extent that Delta State government is to some extent indirectly catering for Igbanke people. So, you see, we are in Delta even though officially, we are carved out to Edo State. It is also my view, that Igbanke have suffered deprivation and underdevelopment under Edo State. Apart from the recent road constructions and renovation of some schools by the present governor of Edo State, Comr. Adams Oshiomhole there is nothing to show for twenty-one years of existence since Edo State was created. I would like to thank Governor Oshiomhole for remembering Igbanke people. People would argue that now that the current administration is a good one, Igbanke should stay put. My response is that we appreciate Comrade Oshiomhole and what he has been able to do for Igbanke. But after Governor Oshiomhole, what would happen? We have been there before under our own Ogbemudia’s government in the defunct. Bendel State. What happened to Igbanke after Ogbemudia? The truth of the matter is that our people must be wise to see beyond the present. If after twenty-one years, we are not politically relevant or have any influence, if while in Edo State, we rely heavily on our brothers and sisters in Ika land, Agbor to be precise for virtually everything, if after twenty-one years we can count in a split of seconds, how any Igbanke people have occupied elected or selected positions in Edo State, then its about time we what somewhere we will be recognized.

This undue marginalization borders on the fact that Igbanke is a minority in Edo State and they belong to the Ika nation. So, at every level of state of life, our people are treated with undue neglect and discriminated against. It is not a secret that politics in Nigeria are played along ethnic lines. So, an Ika community strangely placed in the stronghold of the Binis, the result is obvious and the language barrier, a nightmare for our people. The marginalization has also made it impossible for Igbanke people to aspire to top positions in the State, whether in the ministries, House of Assembly or Government House. They are sidelined and denied the opportunity of fair and open competition. To date, we have very few people (about two or so who have held the post of a commissioner or special adviser. Igbanke have not produced any deputy governor or governor in the State. Does it mean that Igbanke people lack the interest, enthusiasm, skills and capability to carry out such roles? The fact remains that our minority status and undue marginalization will never allow Igbanke man or woman to occupy such coveted position in Edo State Government House. I firmly support the vision of the creation of Anioma State where Igbanke can join Anioma State and witness growth and development.

You are the founder, Igbanke National Progressive Association (INPA). Is it a platform for Igbanke to be part of Ika or Anioma ?

The formation of the INPA was necessitated by the undue marginalization of the Igbanke community in Edo State over the years and the infrastructural decay and lack of development. It is only of recent that Igbanke has felt government presence since twenty-one years of existence in Edo State and we thank, Comr. Adams Oshiomhole for that. It is therefore the objective of INPA to urge governments of the day to accord Igbanke community the legitimate recognition that will lead to the putting in place of infrastructures and other social amenities that will make life meaningful for the people. Igbanke is part and parcel of Ika land. Igbanke people are Ika people and so, the issue is not joining Ika but asking that our Ika identity be recognized and respected. We were wrongly located in Edo State. It is our intention and hope that boundary adjustment be made to remedy this anomaly and if when Anioma State is created, this age long mistake should be corrected so that Igbanke can return to her kith and kin. Undoubtedly our intention is to legitimately campaign and pull together the abundant human resources available to us to position Igbanke for economic growth and development.

Outside the INPA, is there any other means for Igbanke people to achieve their aims of joining Ika or Anioma?

INPA is leading the campaign for Igbanke to join Anioma. Igbanke is of Ika stock so, we are not joining Ika but instead we are asking for the recognition of our Ika ethnic identity. Outside the INPA, you have Igbanke community associations and Igbanke indigenes who have keyed into this Igbanke, Ika Anioma agenda. We are making good progress within the Igbanke and Anioma communities.

We are creating awareness and we enjoy a huge level of support. The whole of Anioma nation are solidly behind us. So, INPA is not alone in that regard.

What is your role in Ndi Anioma and what are their aims?

I am part of the leadership of Ndi Anioma of Nigeria, a group that provides Anioma people a platform to articulate their views specifically for the advancement of the Anioma Agenda and political road-map as well as holding the Anioma political class accountable to the people.

Is your husband also from Igbanke

Yes, my husband is from Igbanke. He is a trusted friend and partner. He is a very confidant and opinionated man who believes passionately in the advancement of his people. I am lucky to have him as a husband.

Your message to all Igbanke people?

Igbanke people should support our vision of becoming part of Ika or Anioma nation. We cannot remain in a place where we are not valued. We are from Ika land which is in Delta State and not Edo State.

Our next personality of the week is Mr. Alford Nwokolo, a retired Police officer. He speaks about himself and careers among other vital issues. Ensure you buy a copy.

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