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  • HISTORY OF AGU (OPU AGU) CHIEFTAINCY HOUSE OF (EKEMBURU) OBONOMA IN AKUKU-TORU LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA – RIVERS STATE; WRITTEN BY HIGH CHIEF PHILLIP BROWN AGU (OPU AGU VIII)
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HISTORY OF AGU (OPU AGU) CHIEFTAINCY HOUSE OF (EKEMBURU) OBONOMA IN AKUKU-TORU LOCAL GOVERNMENT AREA – RIVERS STATE; WRITTEN BY HIGH CHIEF PHILLIP BROWN AGU (OPU AGU VIII)

The history of my progenitor – Agu otherwise known as Opu-Agu I (The Great Tiger) of Ekemburu now Obonoma would not be well placed without a bite of a brief history of the Town Obonoma.

Historically, the fore-bearers of Obonoma are descents of the Benin Kingdom in the present Edo State of Nigeria. They had lived in part of Delta Edo of the ancient Benin Kingdom without hindrance until about 1440AD during the reign of Oba Ewuare (Awuare) the Great who was the 12th Oba of Benin Kingdom. His .reign. like the flood -tide heralded .in some good things as well as bad ones, at least to the fore-most ancestors of Obonoma.

It was Oba Ewuare who changed Benin Kingdom otherwise called “IBINU LAND” to “EDO LAND” it was also recorded that he fought and captured not less than 201 Towns and Villages and expanded the Benin Kingdom into West-Ekiti, Ikare and to the North Kukuruku. He did not stop there but also moved to Eka (Ika) and Ibo Land, West of the Niger.

This extraordinary warfare prowess probably inundated the Oba and he in concert with his lieutenants started to mete out inhuman treatment such as forced labour, conscription to war and unbearable payment of royalties amongst others.

History has it that, it was within that period of his reign that our fore-most fathers who were of the Delta Edo stock migrated with their kith and kin to the present ENGENNI (Ijos) Ethnic group in Ahoada West Local Government Area of Rivers State. We occupied an expanse of Land in Akinama that is near to Ikodi for decades before the leadership of three (3) federating family units out of the lots namely OBONOGINA, AGU and OYIKE, decided to re-migrate through the Engenni Creeks via the Orashi Rivers by Tree-Trunks or Raft to an Island on the bank of the Sombreiro River originally called AKAIKU-TORU, a name coined by the EKEMBURU (OBONOMA) people which is a kin to the Marine Deity that controls that side of the Sombreiro River, but now corruptly and popularly called (AKUKU-TORU). Incidentally, sacrifices to the deity as well as masquerade display of Akaiku are still carried out by a section of people in Obonorna till date. This migration took place between late 16th Century AD – early 17th Century AD.

It was this successful migration that changed the name EKEMBURU to OBONOMA Community due to the fact that the Eldest among the founders was Obonogina (first among equals) and to accord him the honour and respect he deserved, the other Co-founders agreed to name the then newly found community after his name, OBONOGINA-AMA shortened as OBONOMA.

The Obonoma Community thereafter with passage of time, left their first settlement in the earlier mentioned Island, which is now occupied by the Nyemoni (Abonnema) people and moved inward to another expanse of land beyond the OGOIN PIRI, cleared same and established their present settlement thereon.

GBULAGBULO, the Leader of another major federating family unit joined his three other founding fathers (Obonogina, Agu and Oyike) in later years which made OBONOMA to be constituted by four (4) Major Polos (Compounds). These Paramount Chiefs are referred to as EMINE DOKI ALAPU (which literally means Holder or Bearer of High or Paramount Title Stool) in Obonoma.

 

BIRTH, REIGN AND DEATH OF OPU AGU I

The Patriarch and one of the co-founders of EKEMBURU (OBONOMA), OPU-ALABO AGU (i.e) HIGH CHIEF AGU (OPU AGU

  1. I) was believed to have been born about 16th Century AD in Engenni Land after his fore-fathers migration from Ancient Benin Kingdom.

Traditional history described AGU as stoutish, tall and adorned with hairs all over his body. He lived up to his name as he was said to be brave and an articulate leader of his times from the old settlement (Engenni) to the present Obonoma.

Time was when in the history of Obonoma the peoples suffered several severe ambushed attacks and killings perpetrated by some neighboring communities such as Bille and Soku. Agu displayed distinguished bravery and valor by leading his team of men of war to the entire incursion prone areas, dealt with the attackers and further launched a counter attack; eventually, the said two communities entered into traditional treaties (Obokufiya or Pulo-oru-fi) with the Obonoma people, which is still in force till date.

 

HIS BROTHERS, ADOPTED CHILDREN AND CHILDREN

Opu Agu 1 had three (3) other brothers of same parents that accompanied him when he migrated to Obonoma they were; ORU-NYANA -A (IYORU-IYANA-A), OGBOKU and OSIRI.

OKONIBO and OSO-OYIBO were OPU AGU 1 adopted children.

OVIA, PEIKA, OGAGALA and BAKORU were the sons of OPU AGU1.

 

HIS DEATH

He like other mortals died at an appreciable old age; however oral history did not precise when his demise took place.

 

AGU DYNASTY AFTER OPU AGU 1

The Chieftaincy House in Obonoma has produced seven different people at different time frames to occupy the stool after the death of the founder.

They are:

CHIEF IYORU-IYANA-A AGU – OPU AGU II

CHIEF OGBOKU AGU – OPU AGU III

CHIEF OSIRIAGU – OPU AGU IV

CHIEF DAGOGO AGU – OPU AGU V 1930 – 1972

CHIEF JAMES AGU – OPU AGU VI – 1973 – 1984

CHIEF WALSON AGU – OPU AGU VII – 1995 – 1999

HIGH CHIEF PHILLIP BROWN AGU – OPU AGU VIII – 20th August 2005 -Present

 

CREATION AND RECOGNITION OF SUB-CHIEFTAINCY IN OPU AGU GROUP OF HOUSES

Obonoma Community existed, administered and managed its affairs with the four (4) Major or Paramount Stools viz:

OBONOGINA, AGU, OYIKE and GBULAGBULO until 1980 and 1982, when sub-Compound (Polo) Chiefs were recognized with the advent of KALABARI MINAPU KOBIRI (KMK) whose ideals include amongst others, that the numerical strength of the Chieftaincy institution in Kalabari Kingdom should be boosted, to give her rightful place in comity of Kingdoms within and outside the State.

 

In so far, there are four (4) sub-Chieftaincy Houses in AGU polo. These are:

(a) OVIA

(b) PEIKA

(c) OSO-OYIBO

(d) OKONIBO

The Recognition and acceptance IGBIKI-ALAPU (personal Chiefs) in to the Traditional Chiefs Council in Obonoma started just early 2000. However, OPU AGU Group of Houses is yet to have one.

 

HIGH CHIEF PHILLIP BROWN AGU – OPU AGU VIII

He was born at Obonorna on the 29th of August 1967 to Elder Ikoru Brown Obu of AGU Polo and Madam Mieaniwari Perri Ebenezer of Gbulagbulo Polo all in Obonoma, in Akuku-Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State in Nigeria.

OPU AGU VIII, is both of OPU-EKINE and OBU sub-set of OBUDIKIYA Family that have the right of Ascendancy to the revered STOOL. He ascended to the stool on the 20th of August, 2005. He attended Primary, Secondary and Higher Institution at different times between 1974 and 2002 and attained requisite higher Qualifications, chief amongst them in Public Relations and Journalism. He has a distinguished and enviable Community service profile since early 90’s till date.

He also served as Elected Councillor of Akuku-Toru Ward (14) but Ward (10) as at that time from 1987-1988. Appointed to serve in different capacities both at the Local and State Government levels between 1999-2002. An astute and vibrant Traditional Ruler, Businessman, Philanthropist and presently National Auditor of the IJAW NATIONAL CONGRESS (INC) Worldwide. Knowledge is power; as such, he is presently studying Law, in order to serve and indeed render selfless service to God and Humanity.

He is married with six (6) children.

 

 

 

 

 

OLD. TERRORISM, NEW TERRORISM AND PARADIGM SHIFT

Walter Laguer (1999) suggests that “there has been a radical transformation. if not a revolution, in the character of terrorism”. He

argues that old terrorism is terrorism that strikes only selected targets. New terrorism, on the other hand, is terrorism that is indiscriminate. It causes as many casualties as possible. Another major feature of new terrorism is the increasing readiness to use extreme indiscriminate violence. Laguer (1999) argues that “the new terrorism is different in character aiming not at clearly defined political demands, but at the destruction of society and the elimination of large sections of the population. Why are the “new” terrorists groups more deadly than older terrorist organizations?

We can safely answer that new terrorism is a product of a new paradigm shift that sees mass destruction as a weapon for fear and intimidation. A paradigm is a pattern, world iew. or model that is logically established to represent a concept. A paradigm is a way of interpreting the world that has been accepted by a group of people. When a paradigm changes. the whole group experiences a paradigm shift, which serves to redesign strategies adopted for goal attaimnent.

Many experts on terrorism argue that the paradigm shift from old to new terrorism occurred at some point in the 1 990s with the bombings of the World Trade Centre in New York in 1993 and the 1995 Sarin gas attack in Tokyo. Japan. While majority of old terrorism was secular in its focus and dri e. new terrorism is driven mainly by religious fanaticism and extremist ideology. New terrorism rejects all other ways of life and advocates a categorical and iriflexible woridview consistent with religious fanaticism. The correlation between religious fanaticism and the sharp increase of extremist terrorist organizations has been demonstrated by research studies.

Gur and Cole (2000) examined sixty-four (64) international terrorist organizations that existed in 1 980 they found that only two of them were religious organizations (i.e only 3% in total). By 1995, the number of religious terrorist organizations rose sharply to twenty- five out of fifty-eight (43% in total). This represents an increase of 40% in about 15 years. in particular, they found that most of the ‘new” extremist groups are associated with radical Islam (Gur and Cole, 2000)

 

FOUR WAVES OF GLOBAL TERRORISM

The comparison between old and new terrorism can also be explained through the evolution of terrorism in four waves; the fourth wave climaxed into new terrorism. The first wave was in the late 9h and early 20th centuries.

Thsecond wave was the colonial wave, confined within geoiphical boundaries from 1921 until the eve of national independence..

The third wave was the contemporary wave; it introduced international terrorism, crossing national boundaries.

The September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks gave rise to the fourth wave of terrorism worldwide. This wave is symbolized by religious justification for mass killing, use of gory and dastardly tactics and methods, dependence on modern technologies for propaganda and recruitment. In this fourth wave of giobalized terrorism, the use of any weapon, including weapons of mass destruction (WIVID) is justifiable.

In this fourth wave, any person or group of people is a legitimate target. No distinctions among targets is taken intoaccount — Moslems, Christians, Africans, Europeans, Asian, &i person, anywhere is a legitimate target. This heralds the reality of our age — the war of all against all. This fourth wave suggest the reign of the “Culture of Terror”. (Crelinsten, 1988; Andrew, 2003). In a book based on interviews with terrorists (titled the Terrorist Next Door), Erick Stakelbeck (2011) reported that the dominant motive for terrorist attacks in the fourth wave is “ideology”; that the culture of terrorism is seen as “a way of life”, Where does that leave the world? Where does that leave you and me? Where does that leave Nigeria? What is the experience of terrorism in Nigeria? What can be done? What is the way forward?

 

THE STATE AN]) THE CULTURE OF TERRORISM INNIGERIA

It is indeed very curious that intellectual discussions and public debate on the spectre of terrorism in Nigeria is completely indifferent to the character of the state in Africa. This indifference seems to have beclouded a more critical analysis of the problem and hence compromised the strategies and approaches to achieve a more meaningful solution to terrorism in Nigeria. Historically the terrorist organizations and militants groups in Nigeria were started by elements, who had direct or indirect ties with people in government.

So at one point or the other, those who managed the powers of the state and structures of governance romanced with elements, who metamorphosed into militant or terrorist groups. The point of romance was the proclivity to use force, violence and thuggery to acquire political power in Nigeria. Politics is the struggle to capture the powers of the state to make authoritative allocation of values and resources, make binding decisions and policies, maintain law and order, protect lives and property, and sanction offenders of the law. The very existence of a state is based on its monopoly of power. Consequently, the character of the state and how it exercises its monopoly of power determines almost every other thing in the society.

 

CHARACTER OF THE NIGERIAN STATE

To begin with, what is the state? According to Ake (1981; 126) “what distinguishes the state from other social institutions is that, apart from being the ultimate coercive power, it makes exclusive claim to the legitimate use of coercive force”. Hence we can say that the state is a territory in which a single authority exercises sovereign powers, both de jure and de facto over the citizens and all matters.

Where this power and authority is challenged or shared with other organizations or groups, then one or two things had occurred: either you have state failure (to a certain degree) or state compromise and complicity.

There is no consensus on the meaning of the state. However, there is substantial agreement on the definition of the state as “the organized aggregate of relatively permanent institutions of governance”. The main components of the state are decision making structures (executives and parliaments), decision enforcing institutions (bureaucracies, security agencies) and decision mediating agencies (courts, tribunals, commissions). Accordingly, the character of the state in a particular society is determined by the specific pattern of organization of these institutions at particular points in time (Chazan, 1988; Alapiki, 2010; 128).

Classical sociological theories of the weberian tradition and political theories of the liberal tradition view the state as a public force, which uses its monopoly of coercive force to police the society and maintain law and order. It is assumed, by this perspective, that those who manage the state institutions and agencies would always act in the public interest. Miliband (1969:49) aptly captures the preceding view thus: “The state stands for a number of particular institutions which together constitute its reality and which interact as parts of what may be called the state system”

The point is quickly made that in this state system, it is the government —which is not to be confused with the party in power — that represents the state. And this does not mean that the State is always effectively controlled by the government. Other constituent elements in the state system include the bureaucracy, the coercive apparatuses (i.e. police, armed forces, prisons. etc). the judiciary and the lower levt of government in the society (Ekekwe, 1986:10). The role of the State in the maintenance of law and order is recognized by all the major schools of thought (liberal theorists and Marxist scholars inclusive). Disagreement only exists over how and in whose interest or favour, the state imposes order. Liberal scholars for example posit that the state is neutral that it merely plays the role of the umpire who balances things between competing elites and plural groups, and guides society impartially. Marxist scholars on the other hand argue that the state is an instrument of the ruling class because it maintains order iii favour of the dominant classes. That majorly the State functions to preserve the status quo Permips it may be useful to point out that much of the foregoing debate on the State is focused on the State in the advanced capitalist societies. It has been argued that the State in Africa and peripheral capitalist societies assumes and performs functions especially in the economy, different from those in the advanced capitalist societies.   ###

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