As a concerned indigene of Delta State, my attention has been drawn to the article titled as above, purportedly written by a certain Olorogun Zik Gbemre, now willfully circulated on the social media. The content of the said article as hurriedly “prescribed” by the writer, to say the least, is not only propagandistic in nature but animadversive, divisive, sectional, jadedly contemptuous of a landmark achievement of a people and purposely-timed to delay the take-off of the University. Furthermore, it is coldly expressive of an age-long syndrome and a silent re-enactment of “we own Delta State” covertly haboured by him.
Olorogun Gbemre in struggling to be heard in his self-nursed opinion that Admiralty University of Nigeria, Ibusa, Delta State is not properly located to serve its purpose as a Nigerian Naval University, manifestly misinformed his innocent readers in his falsehearted, inconspicuous yet suspicious drive. And in the cause of demonstrating his point, he made some obscure references to little-known examples, all of which were unrelated to the subject at hand. Thus, nowhere in the entire text did he make a valid point in reference to the subject at hand.
Gbemre ignorantly claimed that “we all know that practically everything about the Nigerian Navy and their operations is connected to the sea/river, hence, one would have expected that the said the Admiralty University of Nigeria, which we believe will be built by/for the Navy, ought to have been located in Warri, Sapele, Koko or Okwagbe in Delta State, where we have rivers linking the sea. Now that the university is located in Ibusa, that means the students would be transported to these places in the State where we have rivers, for their practical”
From the above, it was obvious that Gbemre could not distinguish pure academics from a naval base as he misleadingly held that the current recruitment exercise of teachers of the law, history, English Language etc. would require warships and other naval weapons to execute. Moreover, only an arm-chair scholar or a Delta State indigene not familiar with the geography of the state could ever claim that there are no rivers in Ibusa-Asaba axis. Let it be known that there is the River Niger in Asaba and Ibusa is lying 6 miles from Asaba, which is only 15 minutes’ drive.
Hence, since the operators of the university did not intend to locate the institution of learning on water, but on land because of its nature, the same Admiralty University anywhere in Warri, Sapele or Koko would equally require transportation of students to any available water, no matter how short-distanced it is. Warri and Sapele are not islands but cities with rivers, the same way; Asaba is a city with rivers. The perception of Olorogun Gbemre in acceding to the unsubstantiated is therefore incorrect, improper and worrisome thus the difficulty encountered by him in establishing the essential meaning of what he delved into.
Perhaps, a little more research could have acted in his favour but he boldly made to become neglectful of this because of the seeming instinctive ancestral belief of “we own Delta State”. It is sad that when ignorance is at play; when ignorance rules, education knowledge and experience all become wasted “assets”. Firstly, Gbemre requires some enlightenment to become informed that the said University is not just a “NAVAL UNIVERSITY “, but indeed a conventional institution offering all courses and not for the training of “Navy Officers”.
Even at that, someone should please show him little illumination to understand that the Maritime (Engineering) arm of the institution is located in Sapele. Can anyone who is more enlightened inform Olorogun Gbemre that the navigational chart to Nigeria was birthed in the Anioma region and up till today, the Anchorage of Lander Brothers which completed their expedition to the River Niger is still at Illah and that led to the establishment of the Royal Niger Company in 1880 in our Asaba, later relocated to Lokoja before the Amalgamation that led to the foundation of modern Nigeria. Is it for nothing that Asaba became the first headquarters of modern Nigeria?
How come he doesn’t know that the biggest river in Nigeria is unarguably the River Niger and it is charted by tributaries inland through smaller rivers to places like Ibusa, Asaba, Ogbaru, Okpanam down to Ndokwa areas.
Gbemre, your argument that Anioma is not a maritime territory is viewed from the narrow and clannish prism and it is nerve-racking that this same attitude expressed by you is exactly delaying the take-off of Maritime University in Okerenkoko. How can one explain that now that recruitment exercise in the said Admiralty University, Ibusa is ongoing, you have decided to invite similar ploy to occasion state of confusion among our people? Please use your “shrewd” advice to ensure the take-off of Maritime University, Okerenkoko instead of attempting to bring down Admiralty University, Ibusa.

-Emeka Esogbue is a prolific writer, author, and a Historian

Originally published in Anioma Voice

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