UGBAMATIGBII: The Purple Revolution in Kogi State

Photo of an old Attah Igala

By Achile Enemaku Umameh

On the day he went into exile, Attah Ocheje Onọkpa with his head held high, richly dressed in full royal regalia, escorted by his brother Odoma Okolobadi; Attah Ocheje Onọkpa walked majestically to the bank of the river Niger.  In 1903, Attah Ocheje Onọkpa died tragically in Asaba. Attah Ocheje Onọkpa died protecting Igala land from external domination.

Tomorrow, Igala land and Kogi state will wake to the danger of keeping a government of endless deceit and to a politics of cynicism.

Tomorrow, Igala land and Kogi state will be called to defend her freedom and democracy. Tomorrow let’s turn our collective griefs and pains, our anxieties and numerous injustices done to us in the past four years into anger and our anger into resolution, and the decision into a purple revolution.

Whether we bring this thieving government and its minions to justice or bring justice to them, either way, tomorrow, justice will be done. The destiny of the Igala land, its people and the future of Kogi State is now in your hands, dear voters.

The time for blame and name-calling is now far gone. It is no longer tenable to sit, to dine and to wine with a corrupt and corrupting political machinery while the masses of the people suffer and die needlessly. The hour for the men and women of truth, conscience and wisdom to rise above party loyalty to take a stand for the common good is here.  The hour for collective action and the opportunity to take responsibility for the shape of our future in Kogi State has come.

In the entry of the archives of posterity, will you be remembered as one who stood on the side of justice and right while others are caving in? When tomorrow comes will you be able to stand and beat your chest proudly because by your vote you chased out the sons and daughters of tyranny and gave the voiceless a voice, brought unpaid suffering workers and pensioners of Kogi State their due?

Will you be able to stand out tomorrow on the heights of Mt. Patti and the hills of Ajaokuta; on the lowlands of Idah and Ibaji; and the sandy slopes of Ankpa and Imane;  and say; with my vote I have honoured all those who died as a result of the recklessness of the outgoing government?  

Shall we, because you voted for peace and harmony, hear sounds of rejoicing rising from the valleys of Ogugu and Awo-Akpali? This voting time is not the time to squander the great moral and political capital of your vote; in a time that Kogi State desperately needs redemption and a moral compass, she looks up to. Your vote is the ultimate power to challenge tyranny.

This piece is the summon to heroic resistance by the ballot. Why hang the petty thieves and vote in the great thieves to public office? Tomorrow the 16th of November 2019 is a life-time opportunity to vote out the two enfant terrible of Yahaya Bello and Edward Onoja. The worst evil to affect the state since creation.

There is a parallel in history to learn from.

In 1903, Attah Ocheje Onọkpa with his guerrilla warriors resisted and fought to a standstill the advent of British colonization of Igala land and nearly all the areas referred to as Kogi State today. For this, he was dethroned and sent on a compulsory voyage into exile at Asaba.

On the day he went into exile, Attah Ocheje Onọkpa with his head held high, richly dressed in full royal regalia, escorted by his brother Odoma Okolobadi; Attah Ocheje Onọkpa walked majestically to the bank of the river Niger.  In 1903, Attah Ocheje Onọkpa died tragically in Asaba. Attah Ocheje Onọkpa died protecting Igala land from external domination.

In the wake of his death, began a 15 years long guerrilla war against British colonial rule. The illustrious leading Igala men and women were Odoma Okolobadi, Adukwu Okekwu, Inedu Obi and Inegedu Ide, to mention a few.

In 1918, the British, tired and spent from the robust and resilient Igala resistance sent Sir Richmond H. Palmer, the then Governor of Northern Provinces, to call for a cease-fire and to restore the entire Igala territory to the Igala Kingdom under the leadership of Attah Ogwuchẹ Akpa.

Who among you saw and heard about the Igala Kingdom in the days of its former glory? Where are the promised industries and schools? Where are the motorable roads and water supply? Where are the jobs and employment? Where are the hospitals and housing? And how does it look to you now? What do you hear and see?

Where is the promised Igala leadership of Kogi State? Is this the Igala race for whom Ocheje Onọkpa, Ameh Oboni and Inikpi died? Is it the Kingdom of warriors of which Odi malumalu sang? Would this be the Igala Kingdom we have dreamt and longed for? Is this the Kogi state of our dream? What happened to us? This is the time to rise and act.

Today, here and now, Igala land and Kogi State need men and women of courage and the quality of Onọkpa, Okolobadi, Okekwu, Obi and Inedu to resist evil and madness of political domination witnessed under the dictatorship of Bello/Onoja.

Today, here and now, Igala land calls to her finest who have the generosity and doggedness of Dr Stephen Achema, Prince Abubakar Audu and Urah Ajibili to restate the glorious place of the Igala people and Kogi State. Today we need once again, heroes and heroines like Attah Ameh Oboni, Inikpi, and Alikpa who will give their all for the sanity and sanctity of Igala land and Kogi State.

You are the one the future is looking up to. The future of Igala land and Kogi State is at stake. Your vote, voting out the madness foisted on us in the past years is the way forward.

The political gladiators like Elrufai, Oshiomhole, the federal might and 10 billion naira rigging money will be used to silence the voices of the people. We must resist. Do not be deceived by the pretended humility of Elrufai and the sugar-coated deceptive smile of Aisha Buhari. They are jointly enemies of Kogi people. They can find Bello a new employment elsewhere.

We have had leaders who seek power for its own sake; to intimidate, to steal, to enrich themselves and to terrorize others. We have leaders in Kogi state whose focused energy is to seek power to increase their resources or those of family, friends, and close associates.

Those are not the leaders whom I admire; these are not the leaders Kogi state need; these are not the type of leaders our future needs; these types of leaders do not inspire the young, they rather misinform, deform and mislead the next generations. These are the leaders we must vote out. And the opportunity to exercise the people’s power is here.

Each of our truths has a martyr. Already the situation in Kogi State is as if gubernatorial election approximates to a war. The destructive orgy of impunity; the raging violence, arsons and importation of thugs are no signs of the ways of democracy.

People resort to violence whenever they lack logic and civility to project their visions. We must beware of the government-sponsored attack dogs who pose as underdogs in our midst. The small-minded opportunists like Amade and Ogbo who pretend as friends of the suffering and dying people of the state will come to sway you. Ignore them. I invite you to go about your voting tomorrow peaceful, do not be violent, you have every right to defend your vote by whatever legitimate means available. But if there is a disproportionate amount of arguing and violence. Run! You heard me, run for safety. Your life is much more important than any election.

So over to you, dear voter. It is all down to you now. The political future of Igala land and Kogi State is all in your hands now! Arise, O Compatriot.

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