By Frank Alochu
Ukpa is a community in Oju Local Government Area of Benue State. It is the host community of the College of Education, Oju, a Benue State-owned institution.
Although the community freely donated a very large expanse of land for the setting up of the institution at inception since 1992, it has benefitted very little or nothing from this patriotic gesture.
The institution has not reciprocated this gesture in terms of appointments into key positions, employment of its indigenes or preferential treatment in terms of admission of its children.
For over 24 years the institution has been in existence, the community has not witnessed any improvement or development in terms of infrastructure. It has very little to show, except perhaps the pride that the institution is located there.
Thus, the indigenes of Ukpa see all these as a clear case of injustice, suppression and marginalisation in this modern age when host communities of such institutions elsewhere in the country have been reaping rewards or benefits through the admission of their children, employment of their sons and daughters and appointments into key decision making positions.
The time has therefore come for an end to such injustice and unfair treatment of the Ukpa Community by the authorities of the College of Education or the government which owns the institution.
It is in this respect that there is need for a change of attitude towards the Ukpa the host Community.
Not only is there an urgent need for the community to from now on witness provision of basic social infrastructure, its eminently qualified sons and daughters should be given the opportunity to work in the institution at managerial levels, while the children should be given some preferences treatment for admission.
Most importantly, having been denied the opportunity for a very long time, there is the need for the Ukpa Community to produce the next provost of the College of Education, when the position becomes vacant. This will help to assuage the feeling that the gesture of the community in providing the large expanse of land where this institution sits, is not a waste.
what’s sauce for the goose is sauce for the gander. The time has come for the Ukpa Community to reap the fruits of not only being part and parcel of the state, but also being rewarded for its sacrifices in providing the land on which the College of Education is located, as this is the standard practice in this country. This patriotic demand by the Ukpa community should be urgently attended to, to give the people a sense of belonging in Benue State.
A stitch in time saves nine.
*Alochu, Founder, Alochu Foundation, a Benue-based charity organization wrote in from Makurdi, Benue State