By Ajogwu Jerry Ochada
All is now set for the unveiling of an edifice nicknamed “Igala House” built on the soil of Anyigba, a central town of ‘Ane Igala’ in Kogi State.
Resources utilized for this project was ably facilitated by the famous Igala Cultural Development Association (ICDA) even though the general public, most especially the elites of Igala extraction are yet to be briefed on how funds was expended.
The building is no doubt a welcome development and it is the anticipation of every well meaning son and daughter of Igala extraction that it would survive the test of time perhaps due to the location which is renowned as a theatre of political gun duel for more than two decades!
A case in point is the escalation during the 2019 General Elections which led to the demise of many party supporters and electorates including a 19 year old undergraduate of the State owned university who attempted to exercise his civic rights for the first time. An action which later turned out to be his first and last. May his soul rest in peace!
In the aftermath of the election, a renowned youth leader of the ruling party also met his waterloo as he was allegedly relocated to the other side of the radar by thugs. This is not the aim of this discourse but we must ponder on the location of the beautiful edifice in order not to allow the aim that inspired the project not to be defeated.
Let it be stated clearly, projects do not fall from heaven; it is the handiwork of groups or a philanthropist that paves way for such construction or renovation. In the case of the Igala Unity House, we now have a scenario of a woman raped by multiple gangsters (politicians) and the medical expert (ICDA) who was present during the illicit act was later empowered to conduct a DNA test to ascertain the real father of the child but prefers to remain mute.
Every sane Igala fellow should be able to ask with fair interest and intent to know the facilitators of Igala Unity House at least for the sake of posterity especially now that the glory is being transmitted to Chief Edward Onoja (CEDO) perhaps as a State sponsored project.
In fairness to CEDO, and his philanthropic zeal especially in Kogi East, it is ethically needful other major contributors of this project are also regarded to encourage other donors in future when it is time for everyone of us (the Igalas) to contribute our quota. To this end, it is unarguably time to set the pace that could forestall future occurrence of a community project modified for commissioning as a State project. Truth is sacred because we must not allow technicalities triumph over justice.
Let us start from here:
1. Who donated the piece of land where the edifice was erected.
2. If the land was purchased, when? How was the funds raised?
3. How much was expended on the project notwithstanding the highest donor?
4. If it is a State sponsored project, when did work commence on site and who awarded the contract and to which contractor?
5. Now that the project is fully established and it seeks to be a State government sponsored project, is the Yahaya Bello led government ready to replicate same gesture in Ebira and Okun land respectively at least to balance the innovation?
I must commend the initiators of this project but it is morally prudent we assert the truth at all times for the sake of accountability in leadership. At this juncture, the leadership of the ICDA which prior to this time is nonpartisan should be honest to all Igalas by coming out to clear the air concerning the state-of-the-art structure which is fast becoming an item of contest.
Let me reiterate that any attempt to erase the collective efforts of our people shall become a critical deterrence to future goodwill which you will agree with me is scarce amongst our people. Everybody who contributed towards the actualization of the project may not be acknowledged but it is absolutely necessary the highest donors deserve to share the glory.
In my little understanding, many of these cheerful givers would not want their trumpets blown but as humans, it is discouraging to abort their passion for the Igala race on the path of dishonesty. I am not striving to cry more than the bereaved but we must encourage the trailblazers to do more.
In the light of the foregoing, I strongly suggest that a crested plaque with a clear inscription featuring the names of these donors be placed at a strategic location perhaps at entrance of this great edifice. By so doing, history will forever continue to compensate the legacies of these great men and women of valour with the younger generation rising up to consolidate their efforts.
For peace to reign in our land, we must avoid politicizing issues and developments that are not politically oriented. Positing in pursuit of realism, politicians are quick to hijack certain projects for cheap political gain or propaganda but it is ethnically shameful for ICDA a strong umbrella body of the Igalas to record a porous snatch in broad light.
This brings to fore, arguments concerning the sincerity of purpose of the ICDA as it is obvious to some section of public opinion that the once glorified body connoting Igala pride is fast becoming a toy in the hands of politicians and political gamblers.
I want to use this medium to calm all aggrieved parties to sheath their swords and bury their differences. Whether it is commissioned as a state government or a community project. The fact that it is known as Igala Unity House calls for celebration because government is dynamic; if it is difficult for us to identify the true sponsors of this project at the moment, some day when the incumbent leaders are out of power the truth must prevail.
In the spirit of brotherhood, I call on Abomi Igala to be modest by ensuring a smooth commissioning by shunning every traces of temptations or plots to flex arms and muscles in a tussle of ownership. Anyigba should not be thrown into confusion as we anticipate a smooth commissioning. Unyi Igala is our house, we should not allow politics divide us because before politics we are first of all Igalas.
Congratulations to all those who sacrificed their time, commitment and scarce resources towards the success of this great project. May the blessings of God and the shade of our ancestors continue to favour and comfort everyone of you beyond your wildest dreams.
Ane Igala MUST nyogba!