ATABOR JULIUS LOKOJA.
Igala Nation and the Paradox of Development as Chief Edward David Onojah Bags Commander General of Igala Nation Award.
The Igala kingdom is one of the earliest most organised kingdoms in the ancient Norhern Nigeria. The Igala nation has surplus men and women of high integrity and industry.
Its fame extended to the Benue, Igbos, Benin, and even to Wukari in the present Taraba State. Her children had dominated both socio economic and political lives of the entire Northern region.
The Igala nation because of her organised system of governance which encouraged productivity with the attendance bumper taxes that have made the kingdom the second richest kingdoms in the colonial Northern Nigeria even as It was so rich in monetary terms that it become a lender of last resort for the financing of the northern Nigerian budget.
However, the nation with its balcanised landmass and influence in economy and political circles of the North could not maximise its potentials for the advancement of the zone. while the Ancient Kano has been splitted into two states , of Kano and Jigawa state, Igala kingdom has been wandering from Kwara to Benue and Kogi states in less than fifty years with little to show for the infamous journey.
The zone which has been serially denied , though with high sizeable population that could ordinarily command respects by other zone either when they were in Kwara and Benue states, but were treated like lepers.
However luck smiled on the Kingdom with the creation of Kogi state in 1991. With the comfortable population, the zone at the detriment of the Central zone of Ebira kingom and West of Okun and Lokoja nation has dominated the political firmament of the state.
They held on to power. They thought , though vainly , that power, which has suddenly become their God given birth rights could not be negotiated with the rest kingdoms. They held it tenaciously to their chest at every political dispensation until 2015 when two of the children contested the governorship of which the incumbent governor captain Idris Wada of the PDP lost to late Prince Abubakar Audu of the APC who died at the cusp of winning the election.
The death divinely shifted power to Alhaji Yahaya Adoza Bello from the central who is ably being assisted by an oracle , a bonafide son of the zone – Chief David Edward Onoja.
Before the divine intervention, the zone had ruled for 18 years of divisive and to each one to his tent tendencies. The leadership became self centered. They have nothing to do with community helps. They were occupied with me, mine and I tendencies. The patrimony of office which was elaborately skewed for their advantage was bungled. The zone’s population according to 1963 census which is the most reliable census in Nigeria as at today raked the zone as the Ninth largest tribes in the country and fastest growing economy of that era.
The Kingdom’s sons and daughters who were found in all spheres of our national lives could not harness these advantages for the transformation of the zone rather under developed the area by their capital flights to other climes.
The people became the battery of their elites. Their investment either real or ill gotten wealths could not birth on the soil of the entire kingdom.
Indices of modernity were lacking. From non existence of electricity, to pipe borne water to dilapidated and non functional , primary, secondary and tertiary institutions were the trademarks of the zone . Unlike their counterparts, her successful sons and daughters does not deem fit to establish mass communication outfits that will project and arouse the consciousness of the people. At most, those with little passion for the land could only establish filling stations and hotels which cannot aggregately improve the welfare of the people.
The elites only contribution to the growth of the zone is to bring their wealth to terrorize the people with their exotic cars at general ceremonies. The people often put their fingers in their teeth as a sign of a curse for them. Even at ceremonies either during weddings or national festivals, they either sadined themselves under the trees or in the open spaces , infact any place at sight.
That was the sordid history of the zone before Chief Edward Onoja ( CEDO) landed on the state for positive change on the entire nooks and crannies of the Kingdom. He would had learnt some bitter lessons as budding politician not finding a place that is home to all Igala to converge to discuss issues pertaining to the growth and development of Igala Kingdom. He was passionate about the Kingdom and to him he will stop at nothing to make a mark on the sand of the Kingdom.
To begin with, he has reasoned, is to create an identified fabric for the Igala race. Today , thousands of the people are making good fortunes from weaving and selling of the fabric popularly known as Ebulejonu Igala traditional attire.
The fabrc which has gone viral has given identity of great respect to the race. He has used his position and wealth to open up space for the upcoming artists from the zone who are soaring high in the entertainment world.
Onoja is not done with the growth and imprinting development across the zone , he saw the need to inject lives into the first and only project that resembles community edifice initiated over twenty years ago that has gone beyond the foundation level. The Unity House at Anyigba which was conceived by the -Igala Cultural Development Association ( ICDA) but could not see the light of the day even when three of the sons of the zone have cummulatively ruled the state for twenty years .
Chief Onojah ‘ s quest for Igala race to have a Unity House like their other ethnic tribes knows no bound as he begun in earnest to bequeath an edifice of cynosure to the people of Igala Kingdom of which he had to deploy all necessary resources either by personal contribution and or by influencing state funds for its completion
According to the ICDA president whose remarks at the commissioning of the gigantic Unity House located at the heart of the University town of Anyigba by the governor Alhaji Yahaya Bello was quick to applaud the the most functional Chief of staff in the whole country , that the building of this Unity house will further create the belief and strengthen the faith of Sons and Daughters including friends of the land that thier funds can actually be judiciously utilize for the intended purpose.
He added that the economic perspective of the building requires , reputable managers to run and manage the edifice profitably to create wealth and employment for the teeming unemployed youths.
According to him who was amused at the architectural master piece noted that there is no doubt that this building will affect the economy of those to be employed even as there would be a larger postive resultant effect on the economy of the Igala nation.
” Apart from the economic angle to the edifice, , it has also added to the beauty of the architectural landscape of Anyigba and by extension shore up reputation of the entire Igala ” He posited
Meanwhile , in recognition of his modest contributions and passion to upgrade the lives of Igala people any where there are found and to constructively deployed resources for the aesthetic beauty of the geographical landscape of the zone , the Igala Cultural and Development Association (ICDA), the body who conceived the project ,– The Igala Unity House Anyigba has conferred Merit Award of Commander General of Igala Kingdom on the Chief of Staff to Kogi State Governor, Hon Edward Onoja as a result of his meritorious service to humanity and Igalaland.
In a letter signed by the president of ICDA, Alhaji Abubakar Sadiq Amodu to the Ejeh Olamaboro, HRH Simeon Ujah for onward presentation to Hon Edward Onoja , paid glowing adulation on EdwardOnoja for his quick response to the clarion call by the body for the completionof the project .
The letter added that Chief Onoja who will be honoured in an elaborate ceremony on Saturday 14 September, 2019 Anyigba for his dedication to the service to Igalaland and humanity is a worthy ambassador of Ogugu clan of Olamaboro LGA of the state.
The President of ICDA while conveying the letter to Ejeh Olamaboro for onward transmission to the beneficiary noted that the National Executive Council of the body has approved his nomination for the conferment of lgala Merit Award as Commander of Igala Kingdom (CIK).
“This award is as a result of your selfless efforts and contributions to the growth and development of lgala Nation,” The letter read in part.