Jonathan, Diri, Spiff others Hail Bayelsa Founding Father, Aganaba 


Governor calls for creation of two more states for Ijaws

Onyedi Igwe, Port Harcourt 

Former President Goodluck Jonathan, Bayelsa State Governor, Senator Douye Diri and a former Military Administrator of old Rivers State and King of Brass Kingdom, Diette Spiff and other leaders have extolled the virtues of  one of the founding fathers of the state, the late King Geoffery Filinti Aganaba.

Aganaba was a very influential, visionary King of the Kolokuma Clan.

The Bayelsa Governor used the opportunity of the occasion to  call for the creation of two additional homogeneous Ijaw states.

Diri stressed that the Ijaw ethnic nationality, the fourth largest in the country, deserved more than a state.

The lesders spoke at the 25th remembrance  anniversary of the late king Aganaba in Yenagoa at the weekend.

The former President was represented by a former Deputy Governor of Bayelsa, Rear Admiral John Jonah (retd), while King Spiff, the Chairman of Bayelsa State Council of Traditional rulers was represented by King Bubaraye Dakolo, Agada IV, Ibenanaowei of Ekpetiama Kingdom.

Jonathan who said that the late King Aganaba lived a exemplary life urged the people to be more unified.

He said: “Succeeding generations will come and judge us with standards far higher than what we have now”.

“What Aganaba has done, you learn these things so that the children will know that these things are possible. Most of our children didn’t grow from home. They stayed in Lagos, they stayed in Abuja; so they don’t actually know. 

“But it is by studying what people of this calibre of his time did; the self sacrifices they have made to get us to this point that we can actually know that yes, we have a duty to this state. 

“All of us have a duty to this state to ensure that this state gets to a point that succeeding generations will come and judge us with standards far higher than what we have now. Things are changing, it is a computer age; they will scrutinize us. But if they do that, can you stand out? He, Aganaba, has actually passed that test.”

Speaking also, Diri said that the leaders at the time requested for three states during the struggle for State creation before the late military leader, Gen. Sani Abacha, created Bayelsa.

Diri who also recalled the efforts of the late Aganaba to the creation of Bayelsa noted that the agitation for more Ijaw states still continues.

Diri said that the late King Aganaba, a man of peace, sacrificed all for the freedom of his people.

He said:  “The creation of Bayelsa State is not the end of it; it is indeed the beginning of it. We still have other two states that we proposed that have not been created and we must make that clear to the Nigerian government that the Ijaws are still craving for the creation of two additional homogenous Ijaw states.

“We are indisputably the fourth largest ethnic nationality in Nigeria but yet we have been balkanised into six states and in each of these states, the Ijaws have become minorities.

 “I am sure that the new executive of the Ijaw National Congress (INC) will continue to take that as one of their battles that they will continue to fight and as your government, we will stand behind you to give you that support.

“For some of us, in the history of our existence, we have never seen where a man dead for 25 years and the family gathered together and say we have to honour our father, our uncle; our brother. 

“This man has touched lives, his legacy is speaking for him today. Not only was he the king of Kolokuma clan but this man was in the forefront of the liberation of the Ijaw people. 

“He was that patriotic that his house in the old GRA became the centre of the meetings for the creation of states for the Ijaw people; not only Bayelsa as at that time. We proposed about three Ijaw homogenous states. We as the younger ones would also go there to become messengers; his own house and that of late Amaitari Zuofa. 

“One of his greatest desire as I said was to see the birth of  prosperous Ijaw states that will be able to stand shoulder to shoulder with the rest of states in Nigeria and as  at that time, he fought relentlessly, he left every other thing and became one of those who spoke and who stood for the creation of Bayelsa State. 

“Today, most of us; governors, past and including myself, permanent secretaries, heads of service, speakers of the Bayelsa State House of Assembly, members of the state House of Assembly, commissioners are all enjoying the sweats of people like Geoffery Filinti Aganaba. We cannot but honour and recognise our heroes past”.

Diri said that his administration is committed to according the deserved recognition and honour to Ijaw heroes who made serious sacrifices for the people,

He said that it was in consonance with his administration’s policy to recognize the heroes, past and present, that he named the Bayelsa media house after the great Ernest Ikoli. 

He said: “And this policy will continue. We are consulting, we are compiling names of our heroes including Filinti Aganaba and we will continue to name and recognise our heroes past. Not only in the past, we will also recognise our heroes living. 

“We cannot continue in disunity and acrimony, we cannot prosper when brothers are rising against brothers, we cannot prosper where petty jealousy are heightened to the point of wars. Our fathers fought wars to defend us and their territories.

“Today by God’s grace we have a territory of ours called Bayelsa State and we must all come together, put our hands together and work together to develop this state.”

The Chairman Rivers State Traditional Rulers Council, HRM King (Dr) Dandeson Douglas Jaja JP,  Amayanabo of Opobo who also spoke at the event commended the policy in Bayelsa where leaders with exemplary records are celebrated deservingly.

He said: “Bayelsa State is taking a lead in this because from time to time, they remember that this state did not come by accident that people worked for it and they do the right thing by remembering them. 

“I still know that there are those who fought for this state who are still alive, let us celebrate our heroes when they are alive and not when they die.

“King Geoffery Filinti Aganaba, the name alone tells a story, the name alone signifies a man who was born to liberate his people and he never looked back. In 1895, King Fredrick Koko fought a war with Britain. Apart from yearly celebration in Nembe, I wonder if there is any national or state celebration because that man fought a war and not a riot like the British historians will call it”.

Also, Diete-Spiff emphasized the place of education in societal development.

He said that the late King played such a critical role for which he is being remembered today because he dared the odds to acquire quality education,

He said: “The late Aganaba was born at a time when it was difficult to go to school, when he took 28 days to get to Lagos by canoe and then later when he took three days to get to Lagos by engine boat. In spite of all these odds, he was able to make to primary school, secondary school and the university. 

“He also has children numbered as many as 24 and all of them got to the level of getting university education and they are contributing to the development of this world in diverse fields. 

“I am underscoring these facts because today there are people with two children, three children and non of them could go to school. If he never had the quality of children, I doubt if there would have been any event like this that is so pioneering”.


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