ODAHIEKWU OGUNDE, Yenagoa
His Royal Majesty, King Solomon Ebifatei, Kolu XI, Ibenanawei of Koluama Kingdom, Bayelsa State, has denied allegation that he forged an attestation form concerning the lawful or rightful occupant of the Amananawei (paramount ruler) of Tamazo community traditional chieftaincy stool.
The monarch noted in a statement on Friday that the subject matter of who is the lawful or rightful occupant of the Amananawei of Tamazo community traditional chieftaincy stool is a subject matter of litigation in a civil suit No. OHC/6/2020.
He said the suit is between Mr Diepreye Amadein v. the Governor of Bayelsa State & three others now pending before Hon. Justice Ayemieye of the Oporoma Judicial Division of Bayelsa State.
The king said the refutal was to set the records straight before the general public and the world at large, recalling that precisely, on February 11, 2019, he received an invitation from the Bayelsa State Government to come and identify some newly recognised communities in his clan and as well confirm the communities’ paramount rulers in Southern Ijaw Local Government Area of the state, which he did.
He recalled that the immediate past administration of Governor Seriake Dickson carried out a classification of chieftaincy stools/titles with autonomous communities across the state.
He said during the exercise, he was invited as Clan Head of Koluama Kingdom to come and identify communities in his clan and further confirm the names of the paramount rulers occupying such traditional chieftaincy stools in his domain.
King Ebifatei said: “Being a law abiding citizen, I humbly honoured the state government’s invitation and did the needful. In Koluama Clan, only three communities were recognised amongst the existing communities that make up the Koluama Clan. These newly recognised communities are Olobia, Kalawei-Ama and Tamazo.
“As the custodian of the traditions and customs of Koluama Clan, I was asked to make certain clarifications as to how paramount rulers emerge in Koluama Clan (my domain). Under Koluama native laws and customs, paramount rulers emerge through well organised and contested elections, and not through hereditary.
Paramount rulers emerge based on merit. The position is open to every qualified member of the village or community in question.
“Therefore, all the three newly-recognised communities earlier mentioned, have their democratic systems of electing their leaders being practised under our native laws and customs over the years, which I confirmed before the Bayelsa State Government.
“Based on the above, Olobia community elected HRH Chief H.P Osaisai as paramount ruler, Kalawei-Ama elected HRH Chief Vincent Sapere as paramount ruler while Tamazo community elected HRH Chief Sylvanus Matthew as its paramount ruler.”
He said Amadein had never attended any meeting of the Council of Chiefs because he is not yet a chief of either his family under his compound, let alone being elected as paramount ruler of Tamazo community under discourse.
Ebifatei said he was shocked to see an online media publication made sometime around August 2, 2021, headlined: ‘Police invite Bayelsa monarch, Solomon Ebifatei, over alleged forgery of attestation form.’
King Ebifatei said it was not his desire to take issues with Chief Douyi Naingba, Technical Adviser to Bayelsa State Governor on Chieftaincy Affairs, who incidentally is not from Koluama and the alleged sponsor of his late friend’s son, Amadein, over the chieftaincy matter before a court of law.
He challenged Naingba and Amadein to prove the year Amadein contested Tamazo Community paramount ruler’s election, the names of his co-contestants and the names of the election committee members — the Chairman, Secretary, Treasurer, Public Relations Officer etc.
He equally demanded to know from the duo of Naingba and Amadein the month of the year the said election was conducted, the venue of the election, the election date and when he was sworn into office as the paramount ruler of the community.
King Ebifatei averred: “From the above, it is clear that the motive behind the above mentioned publication by Chief Douyi Naingba is to ridicule, insult, embarrass, humiliate and intimidate the revered monarch of the Koluama people by reason of his privileged position as former SA to Seriake Dickson and current TA to Governor Douye Diri.
“For the records also, what Naingba, a native of Amassoma in Ogboin Clan in SILGA, has done in the circumstances, is to abuse his privileged position to intermeddle and interfere in the internal affairs of Tamazo community in total disregard and disrespect for the applicable laws and customs of the Koluama people on the traditional chieftaincy institution.
“It is in this regard that I appeal to Governor Douye Diri to caution Naingba as his actions may likely cause a breakdown of law and order in the state and could make the public discredit the government’s decisions on issues relating to chieftaincy affairs in the state.”