By Ajogwu Jerry Ochada
I bring you fraternal greetings from the land of Ayegba Om’Idoko; a renowned custodian and unifying icon whose reverence is dignified till date hence we are all descendants of Attah Ayegba.
This is not a podium to address our lapses but the acceptability and utility of the social media in contemporary assessments may enhance the intent of this discourse. Be that as it may, I will strive to my best abilities to be more lenient in my choice of words because this is a public space and we MUST not wash our dirty linen in public even though some ignoramus amongst us have attracted shame to our land using same podium to rant, bark and instigate violence.
My dear brothers and sisters; ‘Fathers’ and ‘Mothers’, it is time for us to unite positive weapons of the mindset to fight the present canker worm that has eaten deep into our cultural heritage thus instigating senseless commotion in our land.
The IGALA nation is no longer at peace because of political jobbers, bootlickers and the cursed breeds polluting the glorious seal of our communual extraction. It is catastrophic for us to dent, batter and barter the rich cultural heritage bequeathed by our ancestors all in the name of selfish politics.
Let me tell you a story:
Our ancestors classified and named politics as ‘Ujah Ibe‘ which literally translates as a struggle of opinion and mindsets. They did not label politics as ‘Ujah Okpor‘ a fierce battle using the fist or ‘Ujah Une Ekpa‘ a fight to kill. How did we get to this stage of killing our brethren all in the name of politics?
Killing as reflected above entails shooting a political opponent to death, fighting an opponent and above all using the inimical tools of senseless rumours and the cast of lazy aspersions to kill the ambitions of a political opponent. It is time to take a clue from the political style and interactions of our ancestors; unfortunately we thought and tagged them illiterates but they have proven beyond reasonable doubt that they are not. Now, let me prove my point:
Our forefathers NEVER picked up arms to fight themselves for political gain or drain. Rather, they united against any external aggression and triumphed at all seasons. For the records, ‘ane Igala’ was never conquered by any superior power but in the opposite, our ancestors conquered other territories and formed the IGALA NATION not Igala community.
Our ancestors loved themselves and showcased this love not at intervals but love was inherent in their daily interactions. Ene du ma dunyi tayi oko lan so how come, the association of bootlickers acting as champions in the present dispensation coined a shameful political lexicon of ‘Eneomuneme’ meaning another tribe or person is better than ene Igala? Atooogbo!
In my opinion, I think by virtue of cross cultural marriages, fetish association or cultural infiltration we now have descendants of former slaves cohabiting with us on the same space because I do not want to believe the person who vomited that venom is truely a son or daughter of his father. He /she is a cursed adopted bastard!
Few days ago, a notable philantrophist of Igala extraction, Prof Seidu Onailo Mohammed was indicted by the league of Igala mischief makers. Do you know his offence? His benevolence to help the Igalas earned him cheap accusations because had it been he never assisted anyone these cheaply orchestrated opinion will never come up.
For a man who has built a niche for himself to suffer this fate in the hands of his own brethren then something is wrong somewhere. It is obvious that Prof Seidu’s growing popularity is causing uneasiness in the camp of his enemies but who God has blessed, no man can curse. The latest scheme to witch hunt this trailblazer par excellence is absolutely dead on arrival because it is a scheme built on a weak foundation and can only be digested by the gullible minded. Seidu ‘Ogah’ has impacted on the Igala race and it is noteworthy that generations yet unborn will taste and celebrate his humanitarian gestures hence no amount of propaganda or campaign of calumny can deter his emergence which is at sight.
Abomi Igala! Meh kpi ibe.
Why are we using our hands to kill our own?
Recently, a particular opinion, propaganda or misguided comment trended on the social media (cyber space) and our traditional rulers were summoned to calm the narrative. I watched a video with stark dismay how a particular chief (name withheld) advised Governor Yahaya Bello after showering him with praises to bring the originator of that trend to book.
In a swift reaction, Comrade Usman Okai was abducted few days later in a gestapo styled arrest and whisked to an unknown location. We later discovered he was held hostage in Lokoja after days of denial by his abductors in government. Unfortunately, we are yet to know who championed the graphics content with allegations that Governor Bello made such statement against the Igala race. However, Austin Okai became a victim of circumstances as he suffered 21 unlawful days in detention. Special thanks to the traditional ruler for his advice which yielded absolute results by allowing ‘eneomune‘ to suffer your own son.
This illogical act of disunity must be crushed and muted NOW because it hurts. We are sowing seeds of discord in our land and it is time to go back to the drawing board because we are not slaves (check out our history) we were NEVER conquered and cannot be conquered except we continue on the present path.
Lest I forget, while Usman Okai was suffering unlawful arrest, our own brothers strived endlessly to distract the stentorian call for his release by claiming he eloped with his lover to an unknown location in custody of campaign funds. Few days after the hell baked propaganda did not sell, another fellow from Igala land embraced a pseudo account to announce the death of Okai by posting a fake picture of his corpse on Abuja – Keffi road. May the gods of our land strike to death anyone wishing his fellow man dead!
We celebrated the end of thuggery in ‘ane Igala’ but we all witnessed the return of thug invasion, vote buying and political invasion during the just concluded general elections. Our own brethren were empowered with arms and ammunition to fight and kill themselves. Recall that a 19 year old undergraduate of Kogi State University, Daniel Usman, met his untimely end in the hands of our oppressors for standing on the path of justice by agitating to exercise his civic right. The trigger that killed Daniel was not pulled by a Chinese man, a weak Igala man killed his own blood in broad daylight and he is moving freely in the streets but karma is a beast. Daniel was not the only soul lost, other brothers of Igala extraction died due to electoral violence in subsequent elections. Amomayemi! Ewun le ke?
Read between the lines:
Our rich cultural tabernacle MUST not be desecrated in our own time. To this end, it is better we unite to fight a common enemy by refusing to accept crumbs yet suffer the present day hunger because it is just a matter of time and chance. We must not relent in our constructive criticisms but we must absolutely shun and detest destructive criticisms. We cannot destroy our home because there is no place like home!
This discourse is beyond ‘Kogi Politics’ because before we became Kogites, we are first of all IGALAs by origin. Let the blood of our ancestors begin to flow in us else we suffer defeat. As we journey towards the gubernatorial poll slated for November, my approach and ideology is simple; any candidate is free to emerge on a platter of gold exemplified through a transparent electoral process but if the ugliest push of hooligans is repeated in our land, we are not ready to shake hands of defeat with our oppressors rather we shall dutifully justify our rights by protecting our votes with all at “our disposal” because nobody is blessed with the monopoly of violence. Over the years, I have preached non violence in all my speech and seek (I am still preaching same doctrine) but what do you expect when you push a goat to the wall?
We are all lions in the jungle and we can roar, our silence does not imply weakness. Any Igala brother, sister, mother or father designated to cause violence before, during or after the next election should be ready to face the music. Akpane ane kifu kpa!
Conclusively, it is time to bury our bitter past by striving to emulate the likes of Dr Stephen Om’Akoji Achema and Prince Abubakar Audu of blessed memories. They built the foundation of the present day Igala politics but the blood of our brethren was not the ladder that elevated the duo to the apogee of their political careers. Dr Achema sacrificed his ambitions for the triumph of Prince Audu on a platter of gold and for the victory of Igala land. No blood was spilled in the process but Igala agenda prevailed against all odds. Today, where is that spirit amongst us? We now have a self centered ‘elderstatesman’ pursuing the success of his biological offspring by building a political nest for himself. This piece does not in any way appease or exonerate any past Igala leaders especially those who recently occupied the highest position in Kogi state. It is not a time for blame game but they directly or indirectly led us to this season of unwarranted dilemma.
The bitter tales and smell of blood shed oozing from our land call for sober reflections because we are drifting from our glorious stage of dominance into a quack phase of oblivion laced with wishful thinking. For how long will this evil continue? Before you pray ‘Ojo ki muwa gba’ try and give possible orientation to the younger ones who are busy flexing the muscles of youthful exuberance thereby serving as actors of dubious script for the lazy devilish politicians.
‘Ujah Ibe’ does not connote arms struggle. It is time to borrow the thoughts of our ancestors whom prior to this time we hold in reverence. We must not allow our political difference to divide us because our ancestors can hold us to ransom at all cost.
May the spirit of our ancestors continue to illuminate our paths and guide us with wisdom to get back on track. Ojo ki dugbo meh chaka!
I remain your brother, the Black Lion without a prey.