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RE-THINKING EBELLE DEVELOPMENT ROADMAP – PAST AND PRESENT

Rethinking Ebelle Development Roadmap – Past and Present

By

Gabriel Akhabue Iruobe
January, 2022.


Ebelle was a capital city in the colonial era. As a natural center, it transformed into a political centre quickly. Thus, when a headquarter was contemplated for the region, Ebelle was chosen. From there the District Officers (D.O) ruled other towns like Ekpon, Ewossa, Ewohimi, Amahor, Ugun, Ogwa, Ujiogba, Igueben etc. Okalo was then a part of Ebelle. The D.O was also in charge of the Customary Court as matters were often referred to him that Ogiebelle could not adjudicate over.

When the defunct West Esan District was created, Ebelle became a headquarter in the post colonial era. But over time, the headquarter was muzzled from Ebelle and Ubiaja became a headquarter that Ebelle was to be integrated into.
But before this unfortunate situation, the Colonial Masters had a loose development roadmap for Ebelle’s development.
The Secretariat was located at Ebelle’s King Square. There was also a military base there during the Nigerian Civil War mainly to protect government installations and infrastructure, namely the Secretariat itself where Chief John Omigie was Chairman and Barr. C.O. Ihensekhien was Secretary.
There was the Medical Dispensary Centre, the Maternity, Postal Agency, the Treasury, District.Officer’s Lodge and Customary Court in the vicinity of the Ebelle Palace.

Chief Omigie’s Residence was a Guest House and another hotel close o the market square known as Paradise Hotel built and managed by the Ogedegbes. Later Efota Hotel sprung up to take the shine off the usual resort centres. Thus, as government planned Ebelle’s Development Roadmap, individuals also had their stakes on it.

Part of the road map to Ebelle’s development was the Schools planted in strategic places to serve the quarters. Okpujie Primary School was to serve Okpujie and Okalo. Eguare Primary School was to serve Eguare dwellers. Idumowu Primary School was to serve Idumowu and Okuta Primary School was to serve Ologhe and Okuta.

Then was also established, Ebelle Modern Schools, One was at the site of current Ebelle Secondary/Commercial School and the other at Idumowu (current site for Anglican Grammar School). But as a place without any fence, encroachment was only a matter of time. That venue can still seat a full fledged College of Education or a Polytechnic.

There was a plan for a General Hospital around the current site for St. Camilous Hospital Annex and the Catholic Primary School axis, opposite the current Ebelle Catholic Parish, at Ologhe Ebelle.
There was also some parcel of land behind Omon House (aka Appai House) at Okpujie earmarked for other urgent developmental needs of Ebelle, a place now being proposed for a giveaway to an Orphanage, if it hasn’t happened already.

The boundaries of Ebelle has never been much in doubt as it is now. Ebelle used to share boundary with Ujiogba before the benevolence shown to Ogwa people where the Ujiogba axis was ceded to them (Ogwa). In fact, the name Ogwa was given the new immigrants to Ebelle by the Ebelle nobled as “Ogwa” and was a consensual name borrowed from Ebelle’s dialect which means “Enough Occupancy for them”. In the contemplation of Ebelle, the land of Ebelle stretching toward Ujiogba was enough for Ogwa to occupy. Today, that there is no clear demarcation between Ebelle and Ogwa can be understood from that standpoint. It is also difficult to separate the land of Ebelle from that of Okalo since Okalo itself was part of Ebelle from the onset.
Thus, in considering the geographical delineation of Ebelle from other communities, that of Ogwa/Ebelle and Okalo/Ebelle will be difficult to achieve. But that of Ebelle/Ugun, Ebelle/Amahor, Ebelle/Ewossa, Ebelle/Idumodin, Ebelle/Ewohimi, Ebelle/Igueben is much easier to determine. In these days of Global Positioning Satellite, it will be useful to avoid guesses concerning Ebelle boarders. The committee should be eager to go as mapping Ebelle from the GPS locator.

Although Ebelle had a development template created by Ebelle herself in conjunction with Colonial interventions, much of the template have been mutilated and eroded.
There are fears that some of the parcels of land now in the hands of individuals have palace endorsements on them; no body knows. The question now is, is it possible to reclaim such lands? Can we protect the remaining parcels? Are there new lands to be acquired for development purpose. Will individuals be ready to give up any ancestral parcel of land for Ebelle ‘s future development plans? Can Ebelle acquire any expanse of land for tertiary institutions. Are lands available for Mass Housing? Etc.
Another key mark of a modern society is the road network. Thanks to God for the Efforts of Idumowu Community (especially the Uhumuavbis) and our brother Chairman Josie Ogedegbe that just left office as Local Government Chairman, for assisting in creating the link between Ologhe, and by extension Okuta, and Idumowu. Soon, development should move faster in that axis. Okuta, did something similar in the past by creating a link road from Okuta to Eguare. That axis is witnessing tremendous development. In fact, it is fact becoming Ebelle GRA.
It is unfortunate that the road itself had not received government attention nor that of Okuta Community’s attention in recent times.
When Ebelle farm routes in Eguare was being turned into an expressway, it would have been loadable if that road was considered. But we thank God for using the Omigie to provide Ebelle with an enviable road network. Thus, in meeting the Model 15-minutes Village Standard, the Idumowu/Ologhe road must be helped. The Eguare/Okuta road must also received a worthy attention.

Water supply had received a good attention in the past. The now moribund reservoir attests to this. Moreover, there are still a lot of good pipes buried underground Ebelle (infrastructural waste). Boreholes are fast replacing municipal water supply. Part of the Ebelle water supply concerns therefore must include sinking boreholes in Every quarters and finding ways to link then to the old pipes.
For now, due to the Omigie’s intervention, Eguare enjoys PARTIALLY the dividend from the Central Borehole sited at the Old Ebelle Secretariat ground adjacent to the palace. From records, its supply is still very epileptic and full of hiccups.

The power situation in Ebelle is not as bad as we have it in some city centres. At least, Eguare and part of Okpujie enjoys street lightings at night which also has an advantage in terms of community security. But power consumption is still very low. The few businesses there still float on generating sets.

Ebelle has always been a secure environment. The security architecture of the past was also loosely founded and funded.These days, with the elevation of the Ebelle Police Station into a Divisional Police Headquarters and the myriads of support from community members such as that of Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN) the security operatives has been up and doing. But with the current hightened security challenges, of bandits, kidnappers, money ritualists and the like, Ebelle cannot handle security with levity any longer. So far so good, the local vigilantes are rising to the challenge in support of government initiatives. What they need is more support in a manner that other Esans in the Atanakpa model has shown and can brag about.
In talking about Ebelle development roadmap therefore, the issue of Security Development Roadmap must be in the front burner. As it has been echoed in some quarters, “Security is Everything “.
Our people fear to go home in the current dispensation – a lot of beautiful houses without occupants. But we still encourage them to come home disguised, if possible. They must be advised that home is not a place to flaunt wealth. They must be wise to remain simple. But then, we must find a way to so empower our security operatives (I am not here referring to just the police but to our vigilantes as well), so that we can stay connected to them always. And they should be armed and mobile enough to respond promptly to distress calls. Right now, I am not sure Ebelle people have the contact numbers of our Vigilantes.

Ebelle is friendly to people from other communities. They should be ready to accommodate more but intelligently as not to allow too much concentration of the outcast group in our midst since those who brandish AK47 in the day keeping cows can turn terrorists at night. The more strangers we have, the more economically viable Ebelle may became; but we must select our migrants painstakingly.

These indicators of development should be the pursuit of Ebelle as she redrafts her developmental blueprint.
Ebelle Ogha mhen! Iseeee!

Gabriel Akhabue Iruobe
January, 2022.

Ebelle was a capital city in the colonial era. As a natural center, it transformed into a political centre quickly. Thus, when a headquarter was contemplated for the region, Ebelle was chosen. From there the District Officers (D.O) ruled other towns like Ekpon, Ewossa, Ewohimi, Amahor, Ugun, Ogwa, Ujiogba, Igueben etc. Okalo was then a part of Ebelle. The D.O was also in charge of the Customary Court as matters were often referred to him that Ogiebelle could not adjudicate over.

When the defunct West Esan District was created, Ebelle became a headquarter in the post colonial era. But over time, the headquarter was muzzled from Ebelle and Ubiaja became a headquarter that Ebelle was to be integrated into.
But before this unfortunate situation, the Colonial Masters had a loose development roadmap for Ebelle’s development.
The Secretariat was located at Ebelle’s King Square. There was also a military base there during the Nigerian Civil War mainly to protect government installations and infrastructure, namely the Secretariat itself where Chief John Omigie was Chairman and Barr. C.O. Ihensekhien was Secretary.
There was the Medical Dispensary Centre, the Maternity, Postal Agency, the Treasury, District Officer’s Lodge and Customary Court in the vicinity of the Ebelle Palace.

Chief Omigie’s Residence was a Guest House and another hotel close o the market square known as Paradise Hotel built and managed by the Ogedegbes. Later Efota Hotel sprung up to take the shine off the usual resort centres. Thus, as government planned Ebelle’s Development Roadmap, individuals also had their stakes on it.

Part of the road map to Ebelle’s development was the Schools planted in strategic places to serve the quarters. Okpujie Primary School was to serve Okpujie and Okalo. Eguare Primary School was to serve Eguare dwellers. Idumowu Primary School was to serve Idumowu and Okuta Primary School was to serve Ologhe and Okuta.

Then was also established, Ebelle Modern Schools, One was at the site of current Ebelle Secondary/Commercial School and the other at Idumowu (current site for Anglican Grammar School). But as a place without any fence, encroachment was only a matter of time. That venue can still seat a full fledged College of Education or a Polytechnic.

There was a plan for a General Hospital around the current site for St. Camilous Hospital Annex and the Catholic Primary School axis, opposite the current Ebelle Catholic Parish, at Eguare/Ologhe Ebelle axis.
There was also some parcel of land behind Omon House (aka Appai House) at Okpujie earmarked for other urgent developmental needs of Ebelle, a place now being proposed for a giveaway to an Orphanage, if it hasn’t happened already.

The boundaries of Ebelle has never been much in doubt as it is now. Ebelle used to share boundary with Ujiogba before the benevolence shown to Ogwa people where the Ujiogba axis was ceded to them (Ogwa). In fact, the name Ogwa was given the new immigrants to Ebelle by the Ebelle nobled as “Ogwa” and was a consensual name borrowed from Ebelle’s dialect which means “Enough Occupancy for them”. In the contemplation of Ebelle, the land of Ebelle stretching toward Ujiogba was enough for Ogwa to occupy. Today, that there is no clear demarcation between Ebelle and Ogwa can be understood from that standpoint. It is also difficult to separate the land of Ebelle from that of Okalo since Okalo itself was part of Ebelle from the onset.
Thus, in considering the geographical delineation of Ebelle from other communities, that of Ogwa/Ebelle and Okalo/Ebelle will be difficult to achieve. But that of Ebelle/Ugun, Ebelle/Amahor, Ebelle/Ewossa, Ebelle/Idumodin, Ebelle/Ewohimi, Ebelle/Igueben is much easier to determine. In these days of Global Positioning Satellite, it will be useful to avoid guesses concerning Ebelle boarders. The committee should be eager to go as mapping Ebelle from the GPS locator.

Although Ebelle had a development template created by Ebelle herself in conjunction with Colonial interventions, much of the template have been mutilated and eroded.
There are fears that some of the parcels of land now in the hands of individuals have palace endorsements on them; no body knows. The question now is, is it possible to reclaim such lands? Can we protect the remaining parcels? Are there new lands to be acquired for development purpose. Will individuals be ready to give up any ancestral parcel of land for Ebelle ‘s future development plans? Can Ebelle acquire any expanse of land for tertiary institutions. Are lands available for Mass Housing? Etc.
Another key mark of a modern society is the road network. Thanks to God for the Efforts of Idumowu Community (especially the Uhumuavbis) and our brother Chairman Josie Ogedegbe that just left office as Local Government Chairman, for assisting in creating the link between Ologhe, and by extension Okuta, and Idumowu. Soon, development should move faster in that axis. Okuta, did something similar in the past by creating a link road from Okuta to Eguare. That axis is witnessing tremendous development. In fact, it is fact becoming Ebelle GRA.
It is unfortunate that the road itself had not received government attention nor that of Okuta Community’s attention in recent times.
When Ebelle farm routes in Eguare was being turned into an expressway, it would have been loadable if that road was considered. But we thank God for using the Omigie to provide Ebelle with an enviable road network. Thus, in meeting the Model 15-minutes Village Standard, the Idumowu/Ologhe road must be helped. The Eguare/Okuta road must also received a worthy attention.

Water supply had received a good attention in the past. The now moribund reservoir attests to this. Moreover, there are still a lot of good pipes buried underground Ebelle (infrastructural waste). Boreholes are fast replacing municipal water supply. Part of the Ebelle water supply concerns therefore must include sinking boreholes in Every quarters and finding ways to link then to the old pipes.
For now, due to the Omigie’s intervention, Eguare enjoys PARTIALLY the dividend from the Central Borehole sited at the Old Ebelle Secretariat ground adjacent to the palace. From records, its supply is still very epileptic and full of hiccups.

The power situation in Ebelle is not as bad as we have it in some city centres. At least, Eguare and part of Okpujie enjoys street lightings at night which also has an advantage in terms of community security. But power consumption is still very low. The few businesses there still float on generating sets.

Ebelle has always been a secure environment. The security architecture of the past was also loosely founded and funded.These days, with the elevation of the Ebelle Police Station into a Divisional Police Headquarters and the myriads of support from community members such as that of Dr. Alex Izinyon (SAN) the security operatives has been up and doing. But with the current hightened security challenges, of bandits, kidnappers, money ritualists and the like, Ebelle cannot handle security with levity any longer. So far so good, the local vigilantes are rising to the challenge in support of government initiatives. What they need is more support in a manner that other Esans in the Atanakpa model has shown and can brag about.
In talking about Ebelle development roadmap therefore, the issue of Security Development Roadmap must be in the front burner. As it has been echoed in some quarters, “Security is Everything “.
Our people fear to go home in the current dispensation – a lot of beautiful houses without occupants. But we still encourage them to come home disguised, if possible. They must be advised that home is not a place to flaunt wealth. They must be wise to remain simple. But then, we must find a way to so empower our security operatives (I am not here referring to just the police but to our vigilantes as well), so that we can stay connected to them always. And they should be armed and mobile enough to respond promptly to distress calls. Right now, I am not sure Ebelle people have the contact numbers of our Vigilantes.

Ebelle is friendly to people from other communities. They should be ready to accommodate more but intelligently as not to allow too much concentration of the outcast group in our midst since those who brandish AK47 in the day keeping cows can turn terrorists at night. The more strangers we have, the more economically viable Ebelle may became; but we must select our migrants painstakingly.

These indicators of development should be the pursuit of Ebelle as she redrafts her developmental blueprint.
Ebelle Ogha mhen! Iseeee!

About Gabriel Iruobe

I have a background in Sociology from the University of Ibadan. Although, an industrial sociologist, my interest in rural societies have grown over the years. The sociological insight gained in my school days have had me define development in a fashion slightly different from an orthodox orientation. Studying or researching on rural life is quite easy for me since I spent my early life in a rural setting, viewing all the attractions often overlooked by the urban elites. If the rule of sustainable development is to be followed, no aspect of the world's cultural heritage is to be ignore or neglected. This is my obsession.

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