Yakurr News Online

Newsletter October 15, 2010

In Defense of Okoi Arikpo's Legacy


Yakurr in Diaspora seeks to promote unity among all Yakurr
people who reside in North America, and foster progress for
all people indigenous to Yakurr homeland living at home and
abroad through charity, educational, cultural and humanitarian
Okoi Obono-Obla's petition concerning the omission of Dr Okoi Arikpo's name from the list of individuals honored during Nigeria's 50th anniversary remains an eminently worthy action taken by a Yakurr person seeking redress of systematic injustice calculated against the Yakurr man in particular, and the Yakurr nation in general. That Nigeria cannot eulogize the exploits and achievements of Dr Arikpo is truly a sad commentary.

We need leaders like Obono-Obla who share the burden of Yakurr people. We need leaders with the will and courage to unequivocally challenge injustice against Yakurr people, even in the face of adversity.
Join the campaign!

Obasesam Okoi





The Challenge for Yakurr in Diaspora
I respectfully invite the Yakurr in diaspora to support my effort in this regard by addressing a strong worded petition to President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan urging to him to promptly redress the injustice done to the memory of Dr . Okoi Arikpo nay Yakurr nation. Okoi Arikpo was an ironic figure both to Yakurr and Nigeria. His exploits in the anthropological studies brought Yakurr to world consciousness when he jointly carried out a research on the double system of kinship of the Yakurr people with a British Oxford University trained anthropologist, Dr. Daryell Forde' in early 1930s, which till today remains a classic and enigma in the sphere of scholarship. Okoi Arikpo 's activism compelled the Federal Government to create the old Rivers and South Eastern States. The lecture series of Okoi Arikpo on the Ethnological origin of the various ethnic nationalities that make Nigeria titled ' Who is a Nigerian' in 1967 was breathtaking and ground breaking. Okoi Arikpo was one of the persons whose efforts helped this country to survive the perils of succession challenge . Okoi Arikpo was a true federalist. Yakurr in Diaspora should lend its formidable voice to this crusade because this is a conscious effort to obliterate the Yakurr nation.

Okoi Ofem Obono-Obla,
Attorney and Human Rights Activist
Dear Okoi:
My respect for you keeps piling up and you give me so much hope in a community where most young men of your age are preoccupied with cheap living and mental indolence.Thanks and God will see us through.

Patrick Iwara,
Senatorial Aspirant, Cross River Central Senatorial District.

Many thanks to Chief Okoi-Obono Obla for drawing the attention of the Presidency to the omission of Chief Dr. Okoi Arikpo as a recipient of the gold metal award via his petition. I have read in the papers the names of other recipients of this award and felt also that Chief Arikpo deserved to be on the list. There are recipients in the same list whose achievements cannot equate those of Dr. Okoi Arikpo but yet they made the list. I believe that this petition which is in good faith would serve to address this omission so that in subsequent events like this, would-be recipients like Chief Dr. Okoi Arikpo would not be left out. The government of Cross River State must also be well informed about the achievments of Dr. Arikpo. I am sure that, should Cross River Govt acknowledge his achievements in good faith, Chief Arikpo would have made the list.

Paulinus Ofem
, Scotland, United Kingdom

Neill Offem Dear Okoi,
Thanks for this exhaustive write up. But this is not the first time the Federal Government has downplayed on the contributions of Dr. Okoi Arikpo SAN. You will recall that when in the dying days of President Obasanjo new Streets were created at Utako District of Abuja and named after many Nigerians including then serving Ministers, Dr. Arikpo's name was conspicuously missing. I petitioned the then Minister of the Federal Capital Territory. Till date nothing has been done about it. See the reproduced copy of that petition.

Now, I want to propose that as Yakurr people we should come together with whatever name or so to make a strong worded petition to the Federal Government on the basis of your own. What you have done is ok but can we make it more of a group, a collective and even buy space in national dailies to press our request home and drum the great contributions of Dr. Arikpo to Nigeria. My position to go beyond the individual is so that our people may show concern and sponsor the adverts. They do not need to seat back to say it is Okoi's affair. Or because I am serving in Imoke's government, I should not be seen to be supporting the views of Okoi since he used to criticize Imoke's policies. Obasesam talked about our reps taking it up. Another far cry; Bassey Ewa cannot support any idea from Okoi no matter how brilliant. Bomboy cannot also support it. And we must be careful before our reps who want to remain in office till kingdom come steal the issue and make it an election matter to shine. They are not dependable and Obasesam ought to know this by now.

Neill Offem,
Editor-in-Chief, The X-Ray News, Nigeria

Sebastian Eko Chief Okoi,
I have not been more proud, I have not read a classic like this in a while. This petition, will be for ever a material of reference. Like Our friend Ophem said, its time this write ups enter the pages of Newspapers. I will like us, via YDO to raise funds to publish this petition in one or two national dailies - Thisday and Guardian are recommended.

Sebastine Eko,
Communications Consultant

Great debate regarding a great Nigerian. We have been neglected enough (marginalized at both the state and federal levels). We should channel this energy towards a goal. Ugep and Yakurr deserve a higher institution of learning. Why not an Okoi Arikpo University? This is the time to make demands on candidates for elected office. Without regards to party affiliation and level, we should demand that each candidate commit to the idea of an Okoi Arikpo University in exchange for our support (even though our votes may not be counted). It can be a starting point that his own people revere him.

Okoi Eduson, Doctorate Candidate and Financial Consultant

Dear Yakurr People,

Thanks to Okoi Obono Obla, we have been reminded of the urgent need to get together as a people, so we can collectively protect our interests. That is the essence of the Yakurr Development Organization (YDO). Neill Offem has suggested we add bite to Okoi's petition by taking ownership of it under an organization. Obasesam has made suggestions along the same line. I know YDOs establishment is still cooking in the pot, but after speaking with Okoi Obono Obla, I agreed with him that YDO perhaps in collaboration with the Yakurr in Diaspora could and should take over from him regarding this petition.

What do we think? If we agree to these suggestions, then the way forward is to:

  1. Reword the petition in a language and content that will reflect an organizational response (we need a small committee of 3 persons to do this. Any volunteers or nominations?)
  2. Explore ways to get the petition directly to Mr. President (Mfawa Abam- a Yakurr son- is Director of Protocol to Nigeria's first lady. He may come in handy)
  3. Publish the reworded petition in atleast two national dailies (full page)- we would need to mobilize resources to do this. Full page advertorials in The Guardian, Daily Trust and Punch Newspapers cost N478, 920.00, N475, 200 and N491, 400 respectively exclusive of VAT. Let us know what you think and like Neill said, the earlier, the better.

Thomas Ofem, Development Communicator.