The race for the kingship of Opu-Nembe Kingdom, in the Nembe Local Government Area seems to be closing in on two candidates.
Niger Delta Herald sources hinted that the tough race is between a former Chief of Naval Staff Vice Admiral Victor Ombu (rtd) and the current President of the Medical and Health Workers Union of Nigeria (MHWUN) Comrade Josiah Biobelemoye.
Niger Delta Herald reports that five candidates are fighting for the exalted position which was vacated in 2013 following the death of the last occupant, King Raph Iwowari.
The contestants include Vice-Admiral Victor Ombu (rtd) Chief Bara-tuaipre Edoghotu, Chief Dairus Obiene Dede, Chief Onayate Moday Keremah and Comrade Biobelemoye Josiah.
An impeccable source close to the screening council informed our correspondent that the council had swifted the screening of the candidates due to incomplete filling of the nomination forms by some of the candidates.
One of the sources who do not want his name mentioned because he was not authorised to do so, hinted that among the five contestants only Comrade Josiah has his forms completed but was asked to return in two weeks like the others who had issues with their forms.
Some chiefs according to the source are objecting to the age of the former Navy boss citing inconsistencies, they are saying in his records, he was born August 1947, but in his nomination form he said he was born on the 10th August 1951.
There was no proof of his credentials as it was atlested to by one of his close allys Dr. Ikanaworio Eferebo Igoma.
\We also learnt that the screening councils admonished all candidates to dot their Is and cross their Ts and include all relevant documents and return in two weeks.
The screening too took place on Friday 16th and 17th of April 2020 in Opu-Nembe Bassambiri.
Effort to speak to Comrade Biobelemoye Josiah and Vice Admiral Ombu prove abortive as at the time of filing in this report.
Attempts to reach Chief Dairus Obiene Dede also filed as a security guide at his residence, told our correspondent that he was out of town.
In a related development, the people of Nembe city have protested at the AITEO flow station,an indigenous oil company operating OML29 at the Nembe Creek oil field, shutting down the company’s operation in the process.
The protesting Nembe people want AITEO to implement the terms of agreement it entered with the community several years ago to provide basic social amenities for them.
But according to the Natives of nembe AITEO had failed to honour the agreement and, accusing the oil giant of deliberately breaching the local Content act which allows for the employment of indigenes of host communities. The protesters brandishing placards also called on AITEO to obay the TFMOU agreement.
Meanwhile, Lawyers from Nembe in Bayelsa under the auspices of Nembe SE Lawyers Forum on Tuesday said they are working to end violent agitation as a means of venting grievances in the oil rich Niger Delta region.
Addressing a virtual news conference, Chief Serena Dokubo-Spiff, a traditional ruler in the Nembe speaking Brass area in Bayelsa said that the lawyers were committeed to the enthronement of an era of lawful means of conflict resolution.
Dokubo-Spiff, who is alss a leader of the forum noted that given the rich natural endowments of oil and gas, maritime potentials, the people would reap immense benefits if the resources were harnessed in an atmosphere of peace.
According to him, there are so much opportunities in the economic activities in the area but regretted the dearth of capacity on the part of legal practitioners to leverage on them.
He said that the Nembe SE forum had concluded plans to build the capacity of lawyers to drive the development of the Niger Delta region and reposition the area to attract more investment.
Dokubo-Spiff said that the forum has scheduled a professional development and networking session for May 3 with the theme: Law Practice in contemporary Times to enhance the skills and preparedness of lawyers in the emerging environment.
“The era of violence agitation is over, the narrative used to be armed struggle to attract attention, before dialogue and that approach is counter productive and we are working to change the narrative.
“As lawyers, we are trained to resolve conflicts and we are using our training to ensure that our people have maximum benefit from natural endowments in the Nembe kingdom.
“The multi-purpose event will involve all segments of the Nembe people, operators of oil and gas fields in the area, policy makers, investors and potential investors as well as the leadership of the judicial arm of government at the three tiers,” Dokubo-Spiff said.
Also, Mr Iniruo Wills, Planning Team Lead for the event noted that the Nembe SE Lawyers Forum was working to harness the expertise of professional groups from the area to drive the process of development.
He assured that the forum was working with all segments of the society in Nembe and stakeholders to integrate the people into the value chain of every economic activity in the area.