By Ugaba Emmanuel
The euphoria that greeted the approval of first and third class chiefs for Igede nation by Governor Ortom led administration suddenly turned sour consequent upon conflicting interests and power play.
The manipulation in connivance with Omi Ny’ Igede (ONI), the Igede supreme sociocultural organisation, to zone and impose a candidate on the people by some select few met with stiff opposition.
Consequently, the said committee purportedly set up by ONI submitted a report that was unacceptable by the traditional rulers and elders, who are the kingmakers, hence the formation of a new committee.
Guided by the wisdom of the elders (igabwos) combined with the condemnation the said committee received, their report became void and in consequence, a new committee, approved by the Ad’Oju and Ad’Obi is currently working to ensure due process in the selection of the first class and third class chiefs in Igedeland is followed to the latter.
At this juncture, it is pertinent to point out some grey areas that the aborted committee ran foul of due process so that the on going committee will not follow or commit the same blunder.
- It was inappropriate for some select few to meet secretly in Makurdi to zone the first class stool to Adenu in Oju LGA viz, viz third class chiefs without involving adequate stake holders from Obi LGA that is part of the intermediate area council.
- It was wrong of a single individual to rise up and announced the zoning, saying that Obi people have conceded the position to Oju whereas there was no such meeting where a concession agreement was reached.
- The aborted committee did not involve interested parties and aspirants contrary to the provisions of the guidelines and the amended law.
- Grape vine information had it that a lot of money exchanged hands to manipulate the selection in favour of a particular aspirant.
- Omi Ny’ Igede as a pressure group should only play advisory and supportive roles but not to be involved in the selection process or determine who to select for what
In the light of the above, to avoid the pit falls of the aborted committee’s report, the on going committee should liaise with all relevant stakeholders from Oju and Obi LGAs that are the components LGAs, to hear their views.
The committee should consider the opinions and plight of all the contestants across the constituent areas before announcing zoning to a particular area, if at all there should be any before the selection.
The committee should consider the position and plight of chief Jonathan Abankwa, Adutu Igede II, who being a second class chief, but because of circumstances beyond the scope of this write up, is in a cooler. What shall be done to ameliorate his conditions.
Contestants from every parts of Igede should be given fair hearing and where they failed to reach a consensus, then zoning arrangement should be put aside for the outcome of the election to determine the zoning for future rotation according to the law.
The committee should allow every eligible sons of Igede from both Oju and Obi LGAs who is interested and fulfill all the requirements as stipulated by the enabling law to contest freely in the selection process.
The committee should work strictly by the provisions of the law and the guidelines for the purpose of the selection of first class and third class chiefs in Igede land, noting that at the end of the exercise, if the government finds the selection process faulty in any way, it has the exclusive right to annul the selection.
I wish to advise the ongoing committee to look into the points raised in this piece to guide them in the good work they have started.
We should all realise that the ultimate objective of the exercise should be the selection of a real Igede man who should have the interest of the people at heart, whose personal interest should not overshadow that of the unity and the development of Igede nation.
A person that will always have the keys to the government house and whose voice shall secure the listening ears of the governor at all times regardless of where he may emerge from, since this is the beginning of our journey to the throne of the future paramount ruler in Igede kingdom.