IDOMA VISION 2020: OWUKPA UNITY PROJECT: THE TRIUMPH OF WILL-POWER By Matthew Abah-Enyi.

Novelty Football match as part of the grand event

Novelty Football match as part of the grand event

Och' Owukpa VII Onomu Chief Emmanuel Ujah Odeh at the grand event

Och’ Owukpa VII Onomu Chief Emmanuel Ujah Odeh at the grand event

The time was 11am on May 28th 2016 and the driver of the car that brought the Jos-based Public Affairs Analyst and Development Communications Consultant from Otukpo under severe coercion to drive along the highway on a Statewide Sanitation morning was obviously surprised at the scantiness of the people gathered under the canopies where he was told to stop for the sole passenger to drop. The man had explained and pleaded with driver that he was scheduled to present a development related paper to his people at an assembly of representatives of the community from all over the country scheduled for 10am. The passenger had explained that with his identification and friendly explanation, sanitation inspection and security officials would not impound his vehicle on the way as he feared. And truly, they didn’t. But the number of people seated at the unseemly canopied venue in the middle of a rainy season was disconcerting.

   Then a combination of overwhelming and electrifying things happened. The Oche Owukpa V11, Chief Emmanuel Ujah Odeh, the National Leader of Owukpa Community Chief Matthias Abutu and the National Chairman of Owukpa Development Association, Chief Nickolas Ejugwu all arived the venue at various intervals and invited the Parish Priest of St. Edward Catholic Church, Ukwo Owukpa, Rev. Father Dominic Oche to properly open the historical event with a prayer. The inspirational prayer, followed by a short and spirit-galvanizing opening speech of the chairman and National Leader combined to uplift the event and the spirits of all who had travelled from all over the country to grace the occasion. The entire event from then, donned a garment of success that gave to room for any form of failure, natural or man-made as even the skies held their peace with no threat from the rains.

The Owukpa Development Agenda were properly layed on the table for collective tackling. It revolves around three major pillars. They are:

(1) Peace and Cooperation.

(2) Socio-economic Deployment.

(3) Security.

On the burning issue of Peace and Cooperation the Chief Custodian of the people, the Oche Owukpa praised all sons and daughters of the land, especially the executives of ODA for the seriousness they had brought to bear on tackling the menace. The Chairman of ODA in his briefing of the gathering explained that no stone had remained unturned in the Executives efforts at bringing about peace and cooperation amongst and between all segments, clans and social strata of the community. While lamenting the unquantifiable harm its continuous absence had inflicted on the land, he proudly informed the Assembly that momentous achievement towards rising above the menace were already on ground.

Building on that theme of thought, the National Leader informed the gathering that he was proud to inform anxious citizens of Owukpa through the meeting that Owukpa district’s uprising from the debacles of disunity had indeed become a reality as he and all other stakeholders on the issue had worked and dialogued ceaselessly on it and had collectively decided to join the train of positive progress for Owukpa land without any further iota of reservation. All their speeches drew standing applause. Peace and cooperation were concretized.

As a major step towards the achievement of the Socio-economic goals of Owukpa land, the major historical event of the day, which was the ground-breaking foundation laying ceremony of the new ultra-cultural and ultra-mordern new palace of Oche Owukpa was successfully performed in a grand style by Hon Raymond Okpe, an aticulate and widely respected retired Public Officer. At the site of the palace, the Oche Owukpa eulogized the the great spirit of selfless service that had signposted his ascension to the cultural leadership seat of Owukpa land. He said this had been boldly proved by the unprecedented mammoth turn-out of Owukpa sons and daughters as well as visitors at his installation ceremony in 2015 and the huge material investment of Owukpa people on that ceremony. He explained that the crowning project of building a befitting palace for the stool of Oche Owukpa which was being witnessed that day was the beginning of Owukpa people’s journey towards a socio-economic Eldorado and would leave a bold mark on the sand of time and development history of Idoma land. He showered blessings on all who had made the day possible, especially members of ODA executives whose large heartedness towards the project were particularly heart-touching. He specifically mentioned the unavoidable absence of some of the huge material and human resources investors on the project such as Barr Boniface Apo chi, Vice Chairman of ODA who was away on a trip on the day of the event. He called on all others to please get on board the development train of Owukpa land and ensure the completion of the project as well other equally important ones, more so because of the fact that the palace is not about the person of Chief Odu but the Institution of Oche Owukpa.

The event was attended by dignitaries from the public and private sectors who spoke deeply and gave generously towards the completion of the project. They included the Special Adviser on Intergovernmental Affairs, Comrade Austine Agada, the Interim Caretaker Chairman of Obadigbo Local Government Council, Hon. Paul Abah, the Ward Chiefs, ODA Chairmen of far-flung branches from Jos, Engr Innocent Akor, ASP Godwin Okpe of PortHarcourt, Philip Akogwu from Abuja, Francis Agada from Kano, Lawrence Agbo (Kaduna), Andrew Ameh (Okpoga), Christopher Ejugwu (Otukpo), Eng Raymond Agada (Ugbokolo) and Lawrence Agbo (Makurdi). Owukpa-Abuja Contact Group was roundly and ably represented by their Chairman, Mr. Christopher Obute.

Others who were present and gave generously are Dr (Chief) Paulinus Igba, Chairman/CEO of Nature’s Garden Hotels, Makurdi, Hon Matthew Achanya, Mr Pius Idogwu and Mr. Ali Ogwuche.

Owukpa Women and their allied associations were gallantly represesented by Mrs Alice Omeliko. She provided all the natural and intellectual inputs needed to guide the predominantly mail-gender gathering all it needed to be mindful of the noble role of womanhood in all socio-economic journeys. She stood out in humble forcefulness to the admiration and respect from all.

On security, a high powered Committee on the long-term Security ambition of Owukpa land submitted its comprehensive report. It was far-reaching and all-embracing. The report was unanimously referred to the Executive Council of ODA for prompt actions where they are necessary. The interim community security outfit known as Ijachi was immediately energized and mandated to keep the eagles eye on Owukpa land in guided cooperation with the Police and other government security agencies

One of the highlights of the day’s events was the presentation of a paper to the gathering by a Public Affairs Analyst and Development Communications Consultant’ Mr. Matthew Abah-Enyi who is the Editor-in-Chief of Wind Sound Africa. Speaking on the topic: Peace and Cooperation as Panacea for Economic Progress, the Development Journalist told the gathering that economic progress-facilitating cooperation is never obtainable on a platter of gold any where as even those who usually stand on the way of such cooperation often do so out of ignorance of the double-aged-knife nature of consequences of their actions. Drawing from Nigeria’s own history, he called for the needful change from societal dependence on strongmen for socio-economic progress to that of strong institutions which would pamper and prod those who characteristically do not offer their willing cooperation to willingly do so. He proffered that it is upon the exhaustive use of all the instruments of explanations and the carrot and stick theory by leadership that the resort to strong institutions for forceful coercion become unavoidable. He called for a constitutional reform that would amalgamate the Christian Organizations, the youth organizations and the present ODA to become one strong institution that can effectively link the entire society with the cultural leadership for enforceable collective journey towards economic progress. As a strong handed institution of morale coercion and encouragement, the Speaker called for an immediate building, institutionalization and constitutional empowerment of an OWUKPA HALL OF FAME at the Unity Center Adu Aiede. He added that The Roll of Honor award for the Hall of Fame should be aimed to draw out the best of service delivery for the fatherland, and not necessarily from among the rich but definitely also not ignoring hard work and transparent success. The speech drew appreciable applause and appreciation.

The second day of the grand event was the novelty football match which took place at Adu- Aiede Unity Centre field. The Unity Cup final which was between Owukpa Community Secondary School and Egbi Memorial College kicked off with prayers and fanfare by 3.30pm and turned out to be a convincing display of the Voices of God and the ancestral fathers of Owukpa land in their unanimity on the un-negotiable power of unity that must prevail in the land. At full time, the scores were 3-3. At extra time, the result still ended in a draw. A decisive resort to 5 penalty shots per side still produced a miraculous draw. But in a hand-of-God proclamation to the effect that in any competition, even on developmental issues, there will always be a winner and gallant looser, the OCSS team won the match 5-4 at extra-penalty stage. The 3rd place victory went to Itabono Community Secondary School.

Owukpa Leader, Odejor 11, Chief Matthias Abutu presented the golden, silver and bronze trophies donated by the over-joyed Chairman of ODA, Chief Nicholas I. Ejugwu to the deserving teams. The pavilion and temporary offices of the Vigillanty Group of the district which were built by the Leader were filled with jubilant crowds heralding the return of peace and unity to the father land

     Contributions by:

     C.G. Ochigbo.

 

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