The newly crowned King Tamuno-Omisiki Ogube the Amanyanabo of Krike Town looks quite calm when you meet him for the very first time. He is also intelligent and he has an array of academic attainment which is coupled with his rich Military training as he capped it with the rank of Air Commodore equivalent to a One Star General. He is a hardworking man whose vision to transform the economic fortunes of his people led to his establishing KINGOLIZA EVENT PLACE located at Port Harcourt .
He spoke City People magazine Port Harcourt BUREAU CHIEF EMEKA AMAEFULA as he talked for the first time about his plan on how best to serve his people after being in the Nigerian Air Force for 32 years. EXCERPTS
How do you handle Youth involvement in cultism in your kingdom?
I thank you for that beautiful question as at when you came in you saw some youths at the basement that left my office they are Krike Town youth who visited me. In one of their statements they said that they have been put into primitive slavery as some of them have been in exile for 10-years and some 8-years and some are yet to return. So, it is an enormous problem in my community. So, my being an Amanyanabo of Krike Town I will ensure that I maintain peace. I will practice and manage peace building opportunities for my youths.
They came in and they gave me some of their requests as they want to be Drivers, mechanic some want employment opportunities for themselves that I should speak to some companies to employ them. If there is poverty in the land you will expect cultism. So, I try to ensure that we eradicate cultism in my kingdom and I have spoken to them as I have told them to maintain peace and that we are going to do whatever that we can including liaising with the state government to provide some of these amenities for us.
All that they are looking for is not out of the blues. Some of them want to be drivers to motorized boats as some want to have money for buying Fishing Nets for fishing. Some of them want to engage in commercial motor cyclist in order to generate small revenue for the upkeep of their families. These are some of the thing that we can do as some want some of them said that we should establish Craft centers for them to learn some craft and some trade.
And some said that we should establish some Computer School because in modern times when they go for admissions like in Joint Admission Matriculation board examinations they tell them to go through the computer and they are not computer literate. So, these are some of the issues that I want to tackle and they are very enormous. I will liaise with some senior sons and daughters.
And some said that we should establish some Computer School because in modern times when they go for admissions like in Joint Admission Matriculation board examinations they tell them to go through the computer and they are not computer literate.
So, these are some of the issues that I want to tackle and they are very enormous. I will liaise with some senior sons and daughters of Krike Town to assist and let us establish some of these Craft Centers for their youth development. And by the time we establish such things you will see that the crime rate will reduce. And I know by the time I see His Excellency the governor of Rivers state he will assist us.
We had problem before because of lack of leadership as we have nobody to. So, we must show that leadership as chiefs and elders of the community some of them have come here for solidarity visit. In fact yesterday the chiefs and elders from FIBERESIMA WAR CANOE HOUSE come in to tell me that they are grateful and they thanked me that they ready to work with me for the unity of Okrika. They even brought out so many problems and by the grace of God all those challenges before us we must bring out some strategies to overcome of these problems within the period that I am going to be king.
The youths who have been in exile for 10 years how do you take care of their wives’ welfare as the family is the first unit of the society?
When I was Chief and Head of OGUBE WAR CANOE HOUSE and KINGOLI WAR CANOE HOUSE I established OGUBE FOUNDATION in that foundation we made some fund available for the War Canoe House, so that men, women should borrow some funds without interest to engage into their petty trade and some to pay school Fees and some to open businesses and to some extent it has reduced poverty rate in OGUBE War Canoe House.
And they are paying and they are making some returns. I intend to establish a Foundation For Krike Town where these youths that you saw could go there and borrow as small as N30,000 or N50,000 I am telling you some of our women they are not looking talking about some millions of naira but N30,000 to go into Garri selling business and to go into Fishing business and to buy goods and put in a place and sell. They are making profit and nobody is lazy. With a little push they are very industrious so, I will replicate that Foundation in OGUBE War Canoe House into Krike Town.
In fact I want to appoint a SPECIAL ADVISER on Youth Development and Empowerment. So, that he will take care of all these Youths also I will appoint a Special Adviser on Women AFFAIRS the person will take care of Women so by the time the women are having some stipend to run their affairs and the youths are fully engaged I am sure cultism will reduce.
The state government has Amnesty for youths, is there no way you can make these youths to be part of that state Amnesty program?
Some of them are part of the state Amnesty but the programme did not cover all of them that is where the problem is. So some of them the programme did not cover that is why we are having some of these problems. The Government cannot cover everybody you know the situation of the country and we are in a recession and we are gradually coming out of the recession as the government gave us about 18-months that we should start seeing results and I am sure by the end of 2018 to 2019 we must start seeing positive results and God’s willing we have seen the economy improve and we have started seeing the Stock Market it is becoming bullish and that is signs that the economy is recovering and we must give kudos to the our President and Commander of The Arm Forces President Muhammadu Buhari and we wish him speedy recovery from his ill-health as Acting President visited London and gave us good news that our President is recovering and we pray that he comes back to steer the ship of state. And by the time the economy is booming poverty will come down and cultism will come down.
Do you have any plan to boost tourism in your kingdom?
Yes,Krike Town is bounded by Seas, Rivers and aquatic environment and I am telling you that they are constructing a bridge and by the time they finish that bridge we are praying to government to expedite action on that bridge crosses to Okrika it will take about less than 10-minutes to cross from Port Harcourt to Okrika. So, we pray that all those issues will be taken care of. And in addition to that we are going to develop the rich cultural heritage of Krike town we know that since rivers state started CARNIRIV Fiesta the People of Okrika have been taking First position be it Odum masquerade Display that is the Boua conscript or is that not?
Ogwein masquerade, Pioru masquerade Piriangala masquerade boat regatta in all these things we have been taking First position so, we have to revive this our cultural heritage we are gifted in fact the crown that I am wearing is being produced at Krike Town and my Staff of office is produced from Krike Town so, we have so, many gifts so that is why I intend to establish Craft Centers to develop this latent potentials in the youths. I am telling you that my reign is going to be Glorious in Jesus Name…Amen.
How do you apply the use of modern watercraft to ferrying your subjects and how do you make the waterways safe for your people?
When I was a chief I bought well over 300 life jackets to all the boat River transportation for safety reasons because I saw that many of them were drowning because of the tidal waves effect so I did that. So, that I why I impress it upon the Federal Government and state government to come to our aid by completing the bridges that they are constructing like they are constructing one bridge from Borokiri to Okrika that is they have sand-filled from Okrika to Igbiri Town and From Oba and from Oba it needs a small bridge to OKURU Town. So, by
So, by time the state government or Niger Delta Development Commission-NDDC completes that it will reduce this safety concerns from our waterways transportation. I will also ensure that our marine transportation operators are fully trained as training is essential I will make them to form an association and open up a small mini training center to train them at no cost because some of them when you put monetary value they will not come.
I Will reach out to prominent sons and daughters of Krike Town we have so many prominent sons and daughters from Krike town like the former First Lady of this country (Dame Patience Jonathan) is from Krike Town, one of the former Governors of Rivers State Chief Rufus Ada George is from Krike Town, the former Administrator of Yobe state Group Captain Kalio(retired) is from Krike Town, so we have professors and we will reach out to them so that they will contribute at least something for the training of our Youths and we certify them as professionals as we issue them with some certificates to show their competence and encourage them.
How do you take care of brilliant youth who are interested in further education but have no-one to pay their school fees?
That is why the Foundation that I will set will take care of all those ones we will establish some scholarship scheme for those ones because I have about 65 War Canoe Houses. War Canoe is not just a house in riverine community a War Canoe House could be as big as one big town like George-Ama. So I just have 65 of them. So when we meet we will make sure that we bring up scholarship for them we have done it before we just need to replicate it like from what we have in Ogube War Canoe House.
How do we understand what War Canoe House means in Okrika sociological setting?
In a War Canoe House like in those olden days because of our neighbours we were divided in War Canoe Houses to fight wars. These are units but now we no longer fight wars perhaps as time goes on we may change that name War Canoe to ‘PEACE CANOE’ like in the military we had National War College now we have National Defense College. So, we are no more fighting wars as we are now defending so, perhaps we will introduce such things to our local system.
So, in the War Canoe House we have the youths, we have the elders we have the women and we have the OKOTIBE ALABO that is Head of a family unit, Okotibe-Ala that is the Assistant Chiefs, because in the War Canoe House we have Warikubu that is units in a War canoe House and in the Warikubu we have families. So, the chiefs are the heads of War Canoe House and from the chiefs we have the Warikubus. And it is further broken down to Furo that is the family units. So, that if you tell me your name I will tell you your family or your War Canoe House as we have 65 of them. It is a very large community. The Krike Town is the Headquarter of Okrika kingdom. It is the largest Town in Okrika kingdom.
Your Majesty, what will be your contribution in cushioning the effects of the present hard economic situation of your subjects in your kingdom?
I have a Foundation before this time and I am going to dedicate greater part of what we have for the indigents, the men, the widows and some indigent youths will be touched so that they can borrow some funds. As king I will make sure that there is peace in my kingdom and that there is advancement in education, there is progress in my kingdom. I will inculcate core values of our norms and values in my kingdom. Our traditions will be redeemed. I will make sure that I set up Peace and Reconciliation Committee to immediately go to some areas where we have some disputes. I will ensure that our youths get things done better. I will ensure that we live in peace and harmony within ourselves and our neighbouring communities. I will make sure that there is proper co-ordination amongst my chiefs and other chiefs to bring peace and progress. I have served the Nigerian nation for over 31 years and I have come back to my community to do service to my community.
What will be your advice to the political class in your domain?
As a king I am apolitical. As a king everyone is your subject So, I am non-partisan so I will encourage them to ensuring that there is peace in my kingdom. All political parties should campaign and weigh their words at first and I will ensure that in my domain all these illegal oil bunkering will be eliminated.
Cultism will not be part of my kingdom I will advise my wards to ensure that all these cultism the young men and women will be motivated to do whatever they want to do if there is no peace there is no development and if there is no peace there is no progress. In Nigeria we need peace. We need inter-governmental relationship we need the country to move forward the times are volatile. So, our job is to reduce tension from core areas all the areas that will gravitate to tension I will ensure that I bring my advice that I will bring my expertise by the grace of Almighty God I will use His wisdom to steer my kingdom on the right part. Thank you.
All these things you have said you need money to realize them, so how do you go about getting the money for this purpose?
The economy is hard as it is only in Nigeria we have Venezula, and we have other oil producing countries they too are passing through the same problems. But the government is doing a lot to ensure that there is economic advancement especially for the last two weeks the Stock Market has gone up that implies that there is Direct Foreign Investment-DFI coming in. And to the local level the Government of the day they have tried their best and they are diversifying our economy so that the youths will be involved as king and chiefs in my kingdom ours is to talk to our people and solicit for support and bring development to our people. We talk to them to abhor cultism and by the grace of God the economy is improving as at last quarter it has improved it imply that the economy has improved.
Certain tradition allows female circumcision so, how is it in your domain and what will you do for it to stop?
Well, in my kingdom female circumcision is not prevalent. We follow norms and values and we follow traditions. In my kingdom there is no female circumcision however if there is any or some that are brought to my notice they will be formerly advised to discontinue such acts because it is not in our culture to continue going into female circumcision.
Giving your experience in Nigeria Military of which you served 32-years, Okrika community has been known in the past to have had some security issues, how will you use your position as Amanyanabo of Krike Town to bringing everlasting Peace?
Yes, since my retirement in 2015 I have been in my kingdom and there has not be any known criminal tendencies in my kingdom, it was in the past because the government is doing a lot in sensitizing the community telling them that all those social vices that are not in consonant should be thrown away. And the youths right now they are listening to the government with the traditional rulers ensuring that there is peace and harmony amongst the citizenry.