Stakeholders and chiefs of Belema Community in Akuku- Toru Local Government Area of Rivers State, have unanimously endorsed the current head of the community, Chief Tubonengiye-Ofori E. I. T. Oriye as the Chairman of the Belema Council of Chiefs.
The chiefs, who gave the indication during a meeting in Port Harcourt recently, spoke with candour in favour of Chief Oriye, who they described as humble, intelligent and unassuming.
They recalled with delight the peace and conviviality that pervaded the atmosphere during the meeting, and hinted that it was a clear indication of his general acceptability as the Chairman of the community’s Council of Chiefs.
The chiefs, who spoke one after another, told newsmen that the endorsement of Chief Oriye as the Chairman of Belema Council of Chiefs came on the heels of the purported claim by a member of the council, one Chief Darego S. W. Asah, ascribing the position to himself, as contained in a burial programme of the deceased Chairman of the Belema Council of Chiefs, Chief Reuben Loveday Alaku, dated October 28, 2023.
According to them, the said burial programme was signed by Chief Darego Asah as Chairman representing the Belema Council of Chiefs.
Consequent upon this, the chiefs said the claim by Chief Darego Asah was outrightly false, untrue and misleading, insisting that they were reiterating the point and fact that Chief Oriye is the head and chairman of the council in order to set the record straight.
“We, the chiefs and members of the Belema Council of Chiefs unequivocally state that Chief Tubonengiye-Ofori E.I. T. Oriye is and remains the head and Chairman of the Belema Council of Chiefs and also a member of the Akuku-Toru Local Government Area Council of Traditional Rulers and Chiefs”, they said.
While further disowning Chief Darego Asah as the purported Chairman of the Chiefs’ Council, the chiefs called on companies, corporate organisations, well-meaning individuals and members of the public not to have any dealings with him, adding that any one transacting business with him does so at his or her own risk.
They maintained that what the community needs now more than anything else is peace, and enjoined the people and residents of the community to guard against anything that would throw the community into crisis and turmoil.
The chiefs further reaffirmed their unalloyed support to the administration of Governor Siminalayi Fubara, saying they solidly identify with the administration’s zeal and determination to reposition the State through its consolidation and continuity agenda.