By James Ibechi
Do you think many Igede people today are missing the point about David Mark in relation to the poor socio-political development status of Igedeland?
The former executive chairman of Oju Local Government Council, Mr. Bright Igodo Ogaji, certainly thinks so, and he asserts that contrary to the generally held belief that Senator David Mark is one among a few Idoma people to blame for the political emasculation and backwardness of Igede people and their land, the former Senate President “is not and can never be responsible for the socio-political woes of the Igede people,” neither can the Idoma people be blamed.
Instead, Igodo thinks if Igede cannot advance to the senate once, if they cannot be appointed ambassadors and ministers of the federal republic of Nigeria, if the completely dilapidated Otukpo-Oju, Awajir-Oju Roads, the only two roads linking the Igedeland to the outside world, cannot be repaired or reconstructed, if Igede people cannot boast of any meaningful position in the present state or federal government, they should blame it on themselves and not David Mark or Och’Idoma, neither Idoma people.
The Epwa-Ibilla, Oju LGA born ex-council chairman, Igodo, spoke to jamesibechi.com on phone from the USA for the second time in seven days since the Supreme Court judgement that gave victory to Makarfi over Sherrif in the protracted PDP leadership legal tussle between the two gladiators.
Igodo’s dissenting opinion comes on the heels of permutations and conversation building up to 2019 general election in which calculations and predictions by optimists and analysts alike tend to favour Igede for senator and deputy governor of Benue state, but which many Igede people are skeptical that David Mark won’t let.
Indeed, to many Igede opinion leaders, David Mark accused of disdain for Igede people, does not only hate them, but also is the bane of development of Igedeland.
In fact, for an average Igede man, David Mark has never meant well for the development of Igedeland. And you hardly can disagree if available indices and the clinging onto the senate seat to the extent of dashing the hopes of other candidates outside of his own Old Otukpo are anything believable.
But Igodo begs to differ. He counseled the Igede people to discard sentiments in their approaches to issues and face the fact.
According to him, the fact is that political space anywhere the world over is struggled for. He says that if his people are waiting for the senate seat or any other meaning position to drop on their laps in the claim of “our right”, “it is our turn”, they will wait till infinity.
He said David Mark has never stopped any Igede man from contending to the senate. But that Igede people have never weaned themselves of playing second fiddle, they have not mustered the clout and audacity to come out of their comfort zones, they have never stopped frivolities, neither their crop of current political leaders seen beyond their noses and selfishness.
“Stop the blame game and don’t say David Mark is behind your socio-political woes; Mark means well for us all and he needs our support,” Igodo averred.
Igodo shot himself into political popularity when during his tenure he was able to tar a near kilometer Ojinyi-Ichakobe road, one of its effort in the 23 LGAs of the state. Not only that, apart from elevating the status of Igede Agba to a level that had become a unifying factor among all Igede people, he also pulled electricity down to Epwa-Ibilla, Ameka Owo, etc, during his tenure and managed to endear himself to the people.
However, the road was believed to be poorly constructed so that it quickly washed away earlier than people could enjoy it.