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In Memoriam: HOPE HARRIMAN (1933-2012): Prince of the Niger Delta



By Hon Femi Kehinde

In our society, with very short memory, people are easily forgotten. Men, who had impacted our society, essence, values and mores, in various fields of human endeavours, are usually consigned into the dungeons of history, irreverence and irrelevance. In some remarkable cases, a man’s good deeds and impact in the society, will certainly, outlive him, centuries after his departure.

The Nigerian society would forever be kind to early path finders- Herbert Macauley, Nnamdi Azikiwe, Ernest Ikoli, Dr.Kofo Abayomi, Obafemi Awolowo, Ahmadu Bello, Anthony Enahoro, Samuel Ladoke Akintola, Sapara Williams, amongst several others.

Hope Harriman certainly made history. In the field of Estate management in Nigeria, he was certainly nonpareil, as a path finder. Hope would certainly find a sweet place in the company of Nigeria’s path finders in its history. He was a good ambassador of the Itsekiri stock of the Niger Delta. He had traversed the Nigerian Estate Business field, commerce and industry, philanthropy, unparalleled kind heartedness and benevolence, to the Itsekiri kingdom and Nigeria at large.

Hope was born on the 3rd of January 1933, to an English father-Arthur Leonard Harriman and an Itserkiri mother- Madame Mewe Omadeli from kperegbeyi family of Ugborodo Community. His mother was a descendant of Olu Akengbuwa, through Princess Olunogho Akenbuwa, her paternal great grandmother.

The family had earlier begat Leslie Oritseweyinmi on the 9th of July 1930, and an infant daughter, who did not live to adulthood.

Hope’s father- Arthur Leonard, was born in 1899, in Romford Essex, United Kingdom. He was son of John Leonard Harriman and Alice Isabelle Smith.

From the 15th century, the Niger Delta had been a great theatre of commerce, European influence and Christianity. As early as the 16th century, Prince Oyeomasa, later became Ogiame Atuwatse I, the Olu of Warri, known by his baptismal name- Don Domingos. He was a 17th century graduate from the University of Coimbra, in Portugal, and had maintained trade links with the Portuguese.

Don Domingos also had a strong link with King Philip II of Spain.

Domingos father, the 6th Olu of Warri, was also crowned Olu Atoronbgoye or Olu Sebastian and a Christian Monarch.

The Itsekiris- an ethnic group in Nigeria’s Niger Delta area, are jealously proud of six centuries of exposure to Western culture, Christianity and Western civilisation, which has produced complex genetic mix of the Itsekiris.

As a result of the industrial revolution in Great Britain and all through the 19th century, Palm oil became highly sought after for use, as an industrial lubricant for machineries.

Britain was apparently the World’s first industrialised nation. Palm oil is a tropical plant, which is native to the Niger Delta. By 1870, Palm Oil had replaced slaves as the main exports of the Niger Delta, the area which was then known as the Slave Coast.

Initially, most of the trades in the Oil Palm were uncoordinated, with natives selling to those who gave them the best deals. Jaja of Opobo and Nana of Koko- Koko Mingi VIII, suffered British onslaughts and exiles. The Oba of Benin Kingdom- Oba Ovonramwen Nogbaisi, also suffered similar fate in 1897, and was exiled, by the British to Calabar. He died in exile in 1914.

Itsekiri’s great and noble merchant and also warlord-Nana Olomu, fought off British warships for 14 days. From a rich background and Royalty, as a Warri Prince, he was perhaps the richest merchant of the Itsekiri stock in his life time.

The Royal Niger Company, had taken over the control of commerce in the Niger Delta Region, which had also influenced their dominance and claim of the Niger Delta, in the Berlin Conference of 1884.

In 1899, following the revoking of the Royal Niger Company’s charter by Britain, the Royal Niger Company, sold its holdings to the British Government for £865, 000:00

This was effectively, the price Britain paid to buy the territory which was to become known as Nigeria in 1914.

In these melees of commercial activities, struggles and scrambles, many European companies, established their presence in the Niger Delta. There were the UAC, the John Holt, the Round Tree Company, the Miller Brothers, Patterson and Zochonis (PZ) and so many others. Arthur Leonard- the father of Hope, was transferred from the United Kingdom to Warri, as a staff of the John Holt, to further Britain’s commercial and expansionist interest in the Niger Delta, most especially Warri.

In Warri, he became culturally assimilated to the Warri Culture, tradition and mores, and he married a young Warri Princess, who begat three children for him. He was a member of the Royal Freemason fraternity in Warri, and joined Warri’s local societies and clubs.

After some few years stay in Warri, Leonard was transferred to Ghana. After Leonard’s transfer, Leslie and Hope were thereafter, principally brought up by their maternal grandmother- Omayeli.

Hope, instead of the popular Government School, Warri, that was founded in 1903, attended Roman Catholic Primary School in Warri. The school was certainly below the standard of the Government school, but he made an impressive performance in his Primary school education, which gave him an instant admission, to the popular Government College Ibadan in 1947.

He was in Government College Ibadan, between 1947 and 1952, with school Number 499 and in the Grier House.

His senior brother Leslie, who had become Nigeria’s foremost Diplomat and Permanent Representative to the United Nations, had earlier been admitted to the Government College, Ibadan, he proceeded to the University College Ibadan to study Zoology and obtained a Post Graduate Degree at the Prestigious Oxford University, United Kingdom. In Ibadan, Leslie was a co-founder of the Pyrates confraternity, with the likes of Wole Soyinka and Olumuyiwa Awe.

On his way to Ibadan, in January 1947, his journey from Warri to Ibadan, was a three-day journey, with midnight stopovers in Benin and Osogbo Railway station. His grandmother- Madam Omayeli, gave him 2 Shillings, for the long trip.

The Train from Osogbo, arrived in the morning of the following day, with Hope Harriman, entering the city of Ibadan for the very first time. The Ibadan Train station, was opened in 1901.

From the Arrival Hall, Hope felt so important, that he was going to attend the prestigious Government College Ibadan. He saw a white man and he approached him, and boisterously asked him-“are you waiting here to pick Hope Harriman from Warri!?,a new student of Government College Ibadan!?”, the white man in an undisguised anger, looked at Hope from head to toe, and walked away.

He could still not fathom this insolence, garrulity, self-confidence and audacity. Hope, walked out of the Train Station, with his Iron box luggage on his head, on a four-kilometre trek to Apata Ganga.

On the way, before Government College, he saw Moor plantation and the luscious buildings and environment, and told himself, that it was probably the best sight in the whole World! Moor plantation was established by the colonial government in 1899, and became an experimental Agricultural station in 1905.

He arrived Government College Ibadan, to begin a five-year training in one of Nigeria’s three Government Colleges- Kings’ College Lagos, Government College Umuahia and Government College Ibadan, that was established on the 28th of February 1929, as a boys’ secondary school, on the Hills of Apata Ganga, in Ibadan.

Hope’s uncle- Begho, had become a student of GCI in 1932, in fact at that time, the Itsekiri people were so brilliant that 7 out of 24 boys admitted to GCI, were from Warri (the homeland of the Itsekiri people).

Hope was the first student pupil of Roman Catholic Primary School, Warri, to pass the Common Entrance to Government College, Ibadan.

In Government College, Hope was a little bit rascally. According to Hope Harriman- “I can recall that one day, we decided that someone should volunteer to touch the breast of one of the female English Language Teachers. It was Adeyemo, who volunteered to do so. After the English Language lesson, Adeyemo stepped forward and touched the Teacher’s breast, claiming he was helping to drive mosquito from her nipples. She was a very elegant woman. I cannot remember her name now. I do not need to tell you that Adeyemo’s act was an embarrassment to the Teacher. This was one of the pranks we used to play on our teachers then. And of course, there was Miss Braithwaite who had a Master of Science degree from Manchester in U.K. She eventually got married to one Mr. Braithwaite from Moor Plantation. She always dressed like a scientist and in doing that, a bit of her underfrock was always exposed and made visible and we called her biology lesson, film show. I don’t know who christened it film show. But then, boys will be boys.”

After Hope Harriman’s Secondary education in Ibadan, he moved to Lagos, where he worked in various government departments, as a clerk. In 1955, he was admitted to Christ College, Cambridge University and graduated in 1958, with a bachelor’s degree in Land Economy, after an early stint at the Northwestern Polytechnic, London. After a brief sojourn in Stevenage, United Kingdom, he returned home to practice his craft, as a pioneer professional in Estate Management, in post-independence Nigeria.

In London, the Western Region of Nigeria, had given him employment as Estate Surveyor, Valuer and Developer at the newly created Bodija Housing Estate, of the Western Nigeria Housing Corporation, from where he was later transferred to develop Ikeja Industrial and Housing Estate, under the auspices of the then Western Nigeria Housing Corporation. Bodija Housing Estate, the first of its kind in Nigeria, was established by the Obafemi Awolowo government in 1958.

Hope was later to join the LEDB-Lagos Executive Development Board. The LEDB was established by the colonial government in 1928, with the legal instrument tagged- the Town Planning Ordinance (CAP 95) of 1928, which declared Lagos as a planned city,with a major mandate, to build, rent and sell houses to low-medium and high-income families in Lagos.

Olayinka KingPaul, was the first Executive Secretary of the Lagos Executive Development Board. Between 1955 and 1972, when the LEDB was transformed to the LSPDC-Lagos State Property Development Corporation, it had built 4,500 houses. It had developed Dolphin Estate, Falomo Shopping Complex and multifamily apartments in Victoria Island, Surulere, Abesan, Apapa and Isolo.

The Surulere Estate was developed to relocate residents affected by LEDB’s swamp clearance in Lagos Island.

In all of these activities, Hope Harriman was deeply and thickly involved as a Project Manager, town developer and administrator. He contributed greatly to Lagos Urban development at the LEDB and became a pioneer President of the Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers, between 1969 and 1975.

The profession of Estate Management, started in the wake of Colonialism in Nigeria, with F.G Gleave- an expatriate, being a first known Estate firm in 1955. The Nigerian Institution of Estate Surveyors and Valuers was founded in 1969, by Hope Harriman, alongside a few qualified general practice surveyors, who were mostly trained in the United Kingdom. The institution was recognised by the Federal Government, by the enactment of the Estate Surveyors and Valuers Decree No. 25 of 1975.

Its first Annual General Meeting, was held in Ibadan in the year 1969, under the leadership of Hope Harriman. Hope left the services of the Lagos Executive Development Board, to establish Harriman & Co, Charted Surveyors, in 1969.

Harriman was widely regarded as one of the foremost authorities in the practice and development of the Estate Management profession, in Nigeria and beyond. He was a fellow of the Royal Institution of Charted Surveyors and Nigerian Institute of Management.

In the corporate world, Hope was Board Member and Chairman of numerous companies-

Chairman- Niger-Benue Transport & Co Ltd, Warri, Chairman- Marine Factors Nigeria Ltd; Chairman- F.G, Spiropoulos & Co Ltd, Director and later, Chairman- West African milk & Co Ltd, for 31 years. Director- International Beer and Beverages Industries Nigeria Ltd, Kaduna, and Chairman- Nigerian Development and Construction Co Ltd, amongst several other corporate responsibilities. He was also Director of Mobil Oil Nigeria.

In the social cycle, Hope was a member of the Metropolitan Club, Lagos, the Island club, Ikoyi club, Lagos, Lagos Motorboat Club, Lagos, Ikeja Tennis Club, member, united Oxford and Cambridge club and held the traditional title of Sobaloju of Ife, Akogun of Oke Imesi among several other titles.

Harriman’s place of birth-Ugborodo in the the Escravos, the host community of Chevron, is a key centre of Nigeria’s crude oil, natural gas production, and Petroleum refining.

Harriman was widely travelled and had been to every part of the World, before his demise in November 2012.

He was a prominent member of the Itsekiri Leaders of Thought, following the footsteps of the likes of O.N Rewane, Begho, Alfred Rewane, Arthur Prest, and a great number of Itsekiri nationalists and path finders.

He was Chairman of Delta State People’s Elders Council. He was a fine man, that represented a typical Itsekiri Chief and Niger Delta Leader, always with a walking stick, large hat, that was always complimented with a broad smile. Harriman was a gentleman and good citizen. He was a role model in costume and elegance. He was the epitome of wellness and grandeur. He was tall, shimmering and stately, that one could easily be hypnotised by his presence.

He was a man without boundaries, for the love of Nigeria and humanity, and he also strove for the peace and unity of Delta State, throughout his lifetime.

Complimentarily, his daughter- Hon. Temiyemi Harriman- a Barrister and Solicitor was one of the few lawmakers in the House of Representatives, in 2007, who refused to receive the filthy lucre money, to support a third term bid.

Hope married Irene Ogedegbe, an Itsekiri lady, also of mixed birth in 1962, and begat 4 children- Temi, Tuoyo, Ete and Bawo.

Wealth usually comes with women, and other women came and had children for him. Irene Harriman was Nigeria’s first verbatim reporter-a specialised secretarial cadre in 1957, with Mrs. Mosun Adesanya, who later became a lawyer.

Irene, as a senior verbatim reporter at the National Assembly, Lagos, from 1957, held a front row position in the workings of the parliament and the government.

According to Irene, she was a part of the Balewa visit to the United States in 1961, to address a joint session, of the United States Congress, on the invitation of the United States President- John Kennedy.

Balewa’s speech, delivered in his sonorous voice, which drew Congress men to their feet, was prepared by Irene Harriman, during their stopover in London.

May the soul of Hope Harriman, doyen of Estate practice in Nigeria, statesman, community leader, philanthropist, captain of business and industry, foremost Prince of the Niger Delta, who joined the saints triumphant on the 7th of November 2012, continue to find peaceful repose with the Lord.

Hon Femi Kehinde, legal practitioner and former Member, House of Representatives, National Assembly Abuja, represented Ayedire/Iwo/Ola-Oluwa Federal Constituency of Osun State (1999-2003).

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PDP Suspends National Chairman, Ayu at Ward Level




The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Sunday announced the suspension of its National Chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, for alleged anti party activities.

Ayu was suspended by the PDP Ward Executives of his Igyorov Ward in Gboko Local Government Area of Benue State.

The PDP Ward Secretary, Vangeryina Dooyum, on behalf of Kashi Philip, who is the Ward chairman, told journalists in Makurdi, that the national chairman’s suspension followed his alleged anti party activities.

The secretary in a statement signed by 12 out of the 17 member Ward Executives, noted that the decision to suspend the National Chairman was reached after the leadership reviewed his conduct at the end of the just concluded general elections.

The secretary, who was flanked at the press conference by the ward chairman and other members of executive, read from the statement which announced Ayu’s suspension.

“We observed with utmost dismay that, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu who is the National Chairman of the PDP worked against the success of the party in Igyorov Council Ward.

“It is on record that, he has also failed to pay his Annual Subscription Fees as provided under Section 8 (9) of the constitution of the PDP 2017 (As Amended).

“Further investigation also revealed that, he did not vote during the Governorship and State Assembly Elections held on March 18, 2023.

“It was also discovered that, most of his closest allies worked for the opposition party, the All Progressive Congress (APC) and hence, the abysmal performance of the PDP in Igyorov Ward.

“In view of the foregoing, we hereby pass a Vote of No Confidence on Dr. Iyorchia Ayu and suspend him as a member of our party with immediate effect. The suspension takes effect from March 24, 2023.”

Recall that the PDP at the state level during the weekend passed a vote of confidence on Governor Samuel Ortom, whom the national chairman’s led executive at the apex level referred to its disciplinary committee.

The PDP in Benue State passed a vote of confidence on Ortom for what they described as his steadfast loyalty and selfless, sacrificial leadership to the party.

State Publicity Secretary of PDP, Bemgba Iortyom, in a statement signed on behalf of the party’s state working committee in Makurdi at the weekend called on its national body to rescind decision referring the governor to its disciplinary body.

“We have noted with grave concern the action taken yesterday by the National Working Committee (NWC) of the party in referring Governor Samuel Ortom to its Disciplinary Committee to answer to charges of anti party activities preferred against him.

“Benue PDP finds it difficult to understand the rationale by which anti party activities are determined at the National Secretariat by the NWC such as sees one out of the G-5 Governors singled out for punitive action on ground of that offence, and what the procedure is for meting out punitive measures against such anti party activities where some persons including Professor Dennis Ityavyar having been suspended without facing any disciplinary Committee.

“The party feels strongly that in fulfilling its duty as a state chapter it must remind the NWC of the implications of its current action against Governor Ortom and others.

“It is, therefore, a motion of the Benue PDP SWC that a Vote-of-Confidence be passed on Governor Samuel Ortom for his steadfast loyalty and selfless, sacrificial leadership to our great party, PDP.

“We equally call on the NWC to explore exhaustively options towards fostering reconciliation, unity, re-branding and repositioning of the party to recover its lost glory,” the statement reads partly.

The party further argued that the action runs in contempt of a subsisting court injunction restraining PDP at all levels from taking any punitive action against the Benue State Governor pending the determination of a substantive suit which is lying before a court of competent jurisdiction on the matter.

Daily Trust

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Declare Ogun Guber Polls Inclusive, Order Re-run, Group Tells INEC




A group, under the aegis of Vanguard for Democracy and Good Governance, has called on Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to desist from issuing the certificate of return to the Ogun State governor, Dapo Abiodun.

In what it earlier term a ‘sham’, the group had earlier called on INEC to review the result of the just concluded governorship election in the state as, according to it, the election did not produce a winner yet.

In a communique made available to newsmen in Abuja on Sunday, the group urged INEC to not issue a certificate of return to Governor Abiodun, as the governorship election is inconclusive by all standards.

“While we commend INEC on the introduction of the bimodal voter accreditation system (BVAS) and the result viewing portal (IREV) which have largely improved electoral conduct in the country, we make bold to say that the election in Ogun State, despite being marred with all forms of electoral malpractices, still did not produce a winner, in accordance with the Electoral Act.

“As clearly observed, INEC flippantly went ahead to announce a winner rather than declaring it inconclusive, as the margin between the top two leading candidates is far lesser than the total number of cancelled votes in some areas. In this case, the difference between Governor Dapo Abiodun of the APC who polled 276,295 and the 262,383 votes polled by Ladi Adebutu of the PDP was only 13,912, with cancelled votes amounting to 33,750.

“The Electoral Act 2022 is clear on what should be done in such circumstance. We hereby refer INEC to the article in our supreme Electoral Act which states that, “Where the difference between the winner and the loser is less than cancelled vote, the results should be inconclusive.”

“This particular case is one fraudulent one and INEC need do the needful rather than taking steps that attract an avoidable litigation and put the commission in bad light.

“On this note, we enjoin INEC to embrace justice by withholding the certificate of return in the Ogun guber until a rerun election is declared and conducted,’ the statement read in part.

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Osun: Governor Adeleke Floors Oyetola at Appeal Court




The Court of Appeal on Friday set aside an earlier election tribunal verdict that declared Gboyega Isiaka of the All Progressives Congress as the winner of the last Osun state governorship election.

The court in its ruling confirmed Ademola Adeleke of the People’s Democratic Party as the winner of the election.

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