Vanguard (Lagos)

12 August 2004

Nigeria: Okpe Group Petitions I-G On Tussle for Orodje Stool

Orerokpe, Sapele — A group, Okpe Progressive Movement (OPM) has alerted the Inspector-General of Police, Mr Tafa Balogun on the threat to peace in the kingdom over the tussle for the vacant stool of the Orodje of Okpe Kingdom.

The last occupant of the stool, His Royal Majesty Orhoro I passed on in December last year.

The OPM in the petition signed by Igho Akeregha, National President and Ben Erere Komi, National Secretary, entitled "threat to peace and conduct likely to cause a breakdown of law and order in Okpe Kingdom, Delta state over the tussle for the vacant stool of Orodje of Okpe Kingdom said, "we formally draw your attention to the grand conspiracy by some influential Okpe personalities to throw the entire kingdom into unwarranted bloodletting using the vacant stool of Orodje of Okpe as vehicle to achieve their ominous objective.

"Following the demise of HRM Orhoro, I, Orodje of Okpe Kingdom in December, the Orhue ruling house was mandated by the Udogun-Okpe, (Okpe supreme council) to produce a successor in accordance with the declaration made in the then Bendel state government gazette No. 51, vol. 16 of September, 1979.

"On 6th July 2004, eight candidates from the Orhue ruling house contested for the vacant stool of the monarch at Orerokpe.

"Forty people voted during the election, but the curious twist in the process is that both the chairman and secretary of the selection committee also participated in the voting exercise, thus discrediting the process. However, at the end of voting, two of the major contestants, Air Vice Marshal Frank Ajobena (rtd) and Maj. General Felix Mujakperuo (rtd) had equal votes of sixteen apiece.

"Faced with this situa tion, Chief J.O. Biokoro, the chairman of the selection committee again cast the deciding vote which gave victory to Maj. General Mujakperuo (rtd) which set the stage for the current crisis.

"AVM Ajobena (rtd) complained to the Udogun Okpe about the inconsistency and lack of transparency in the exercise. He has since gone to court to contend the declaration of Maj. Gen. Mujakperuo (rtd) as Orodje-elect in Suit No HOR/23/2004 pending at the high court of justice, Orerokpe, Delta state.

"The OPM is however worried that while AVM Ajobena (rtd) is seeking legal redress, Maj. Gen. Mujakperuo (rtd) and his camp are taking steps towards installing him as Orodje. This development has drawn the ire of the Okpe youths who petitioned His Excellency, Governor James Ibori of Delta state.

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