Igbanke

 

 

By Isaac Olamika

Benin
— A trip to Igbanke from Ring Road, the commercial nerve centre of Benin City,
the Edo State capital, will take at least one hour. For a first time visitor,
the signpost to the town which lies in Orhionmwon Local Government Area on the
Benin – Asaba Express Road is the Light House Polytechnic; a tertiary
institution owned the New Covenant Church.

Just opposite the
institution’s gate is the road that leads to the town.

Historically, Igbanke
is made up of six autonomous communities namely: Omolua, Ottah, Idumuodin, Ake,
Oligia and Igbontor. Each of the six communities has an Enogie – king. The
indigenes of the town trace their history to Benin kingdom where they disclosed
they migrated from many decades ago. The language spoken in Igbanke sounds
similar to the one spoken by their neighbours, the people of Agbor and some of
the surrounding towns in the northern part of Delta State.

According to Monday
Bowe Ikwuobase, the secretary of Omolua community, who acted as Daily
Independent’s tour guide during this correspondent’s visit to the town, the
town, for political exigency, is divided into two wards – East and West. He
disclosed that the people of the town do not owe allegiance to just one
political party, He stated that during the last general elections the
electorates in one of the wards voted massively for the Peoples Democratic
Party (PDP) while those in the other ward gave the All Progressives Congress
(APC) majority of their votes.

The construction of
the major link road that enters the town from the Benin -Asaba Road is done by
the Professor Oserheimen Osunbor and Comrade Adams Oshiomhole’s administration.
Professor Osunbor’s administration did the road half way while Comrade
Oshiomhole did the remaining half.

In the area of health
facilities, Igbanke has a health centre and a general hospital. Investigations
by Daily Independent revealed that the general hospital was built by the
General Samuel Ogbemudia administration in the old Bendel State and commenced
operations on December 4th, 1974. The hospital, which is managed by the Edo
State Health Management Board, is bedevilled by a horde of problems which among
many others includes shortage of manpower, outdated facilities, dirty
environment, lack of power supply from the national grid and shortage of
consumables.

The contract for the
renovation of the now dilapidated hospital was awarded by the state government
in 2012. But it was said to have been abandoned midway by the contractor.

Said Ikwuobase, who
makes his living through playing comedy: "We are not happy with the
‘unknown’ contractor that the state government gave the contract to renovate
the General Hospital. Nothing has been heard about the contract which has been abandoned
since then.

He disclosed that
major health issues which the General Hospital cannot handle is often moved to
neighbouring Ewohinmi and Agbor General Hospitals "When Governor
Oshiomhole came to the town last year we intimated him about the problems
bedevilling the hospital but we have heard nothing from him thereafter."

Igbanke boasts of 21
primary and three secondary schools. A condition considered by the people as a
plus for their children’s educational development.

Ikwuobase told Daily
Independent that indigenes of Igbanke living in the diaspora last year donated
books and writing materials to school pupils in the community as a way of
encouraging educational advancement of the town. He listed some of the big
names who hail from the town as Chief Henry Omorodion, a Lagos based business
mogul and a former President of the state Customary Court of Appeal, Justice
Olubo.

In the culture realm,
His Royal Highness, Isaac Uwaifo (JP), the Enogie of Omolua, who is also the
chairman of Enigie, chiefs and elders forum of Igbanke, recalled that the
palace where he presently resides is the second, the first palace having been
razed down by British invaders many centuries ago when they banished Oba
Ovonramwen N’Ogbaisi.

Uwaifo, a retired
Deputy Superintendent of Police of police, who is also the Vice-Chairman of the
Orhionmwon Council of Chiefs, said that the issue of criminality viz
kidnapping, armed robbery and other capital offences can never be traced to the
community.

He maintains stressed
that he maintains discipline in the community such that he gives corporal
punishment to minor offenders.

Source: AllAfrican.com

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