His Royal Highness, Agabaidu Elias Ikoyi Obekpa, CON, FCNTI, the Ochi'Idoma of Idoma Kingdom.

His Royal Highness, Agabaidu Elias Ikoyi Obekpa, CON, FCNTI, the Ochi’Idoma of Idoma Kingdom and Vice President, Benue State Council of Chief

Onomo II of Owukpa, Chief Emmanuel Odeh: A cultural Ambassador Per Excellence

Onomo II of Owukpa, Chief   Emmanuel Odeh: A cultural Ambassador Per Excellence

Owukpa Development Association, Jos branch, one of the Development-focused Idoma Communities and Culture-based organizations which rallies for rapid economic development for their members in the diasporas and homeland has descended into fractions as a result of disputes arising from struggles for leadership positions, allegations of candidate imposition, financial impropriety and deliberate constitutional misinterpretation by the branch president of the association, Pastor Innocent Akor. Peace-threatening tension is said to have enveloped the association for the past one year when the tenure of the present leadership approached its expiration and the election of a new team has been mired in alleged manipulations and double dealings that combined to stretch the fabrics of unity amongst members and clan groups to unimaginable stress.

Matters crossed the borderline when, after months of postponements and procrastinations, during which the Association’s audit report caused a scandalous uproar, a date was fixed for the long awaited election of new officials to run the association for the next four years. Sunday, the 2nd of July 2017 was fixed for the long-awaited election. For the second time in the last two months, members of the association turned up in their full numbers, instead of the normal delegates who usually attend monthly meetings. The flame that exploded the colloquial keg of gun powder was shockingly lit when the outgoing president of the Association, refused to dissolve his own executive and hand over to the Patron of the Association after a motion to that effect was moved. Against normal precedence and practice, he wanted to select an electoral committee that would supervise the election of a new executive to take over from him, against the procedure that brought him to office and the fact that he was alleged to have a preferred candidate whose selection ran contrary to the standpoint of Ehaje family whose turn it was to produce the president of the body in accordance with an existing rotational constitutional arrangement. The action sparked immediate protests from members who drew the attention of the outgoing president to the fact that the Association’s temporary management should be headed by the Patron of the Association as father of all and as had been the case in all previous occasions and other similar Associations in conformity with Idoma culture. Members from Ehaje clan group felt quite irked and insulted by the action of the outgoing president in view of the fact that he had been known to be encouraging disunity among the candidates for the office of the Association’s president in his knowledge of the fact that by constitutional provision Ehaje family clan deserved the right to produce the two candidates of proven integrity out of which the general house would elect the most preferred one. They were infuriated by the fact that the outgoing president was known to have a questionable interest in making a candidate who failed to emerge through Ehaje family primary election his refared candidate. Keen observers among Ehaje clan members of the Association were taken aback when brotherly persuasions were said to have failed to sway the outgoing president from turning constitutional provisions upside down.

The confusion and consternation of members of the association, according to our reporter’s investigation, reached its highest crescendos when the Ad’ Idoma of Panshin and Kanke Local Government Areas Chief John Ekere made his first and second attendances at the meeting for the first time in the year as a nominal member of the Association. His attendance was said to have initially lifted the hope of the members across the two family clans in view of the fact that as a cultural ambassador of Idoma and Owukpa culture which confers deep-seated respect on elders, he would prevail on the outgoing branch president to do the needful. According to members who spoke to us on condition of anonymity to avoid being victimized, the proverbial cat was let out of the bag when chief Ekere was said to be speaking from both sides of his mouth as he openly asked why it was proving difficult to hand over to the Patron, and at the same time heard persuading members of the association to support the candidate the association’s outgoing president was openly supporting who, it was alleged, is a blood relation of the local chief. Our reporter’s investigations proved that it was this scenario that strengthened Ehaje family’s will power to resolve that the plan must be resisted with all the principled will power they can muster as the position was not for sale to alleged highest bidders. Our findings amongst other Jos based Idoma community showed that there is a high prevalence of shock and disbelief at the turn of events among Owukpa brothers and they prayed that this bad example will not catch up with other brother districts.


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