Being text of speech delivered by Chief (Amb) Ochi Odeh Emmanuel, Chairman-in-Council, Middle Belt Traditional Council, South West(MBTC) at Middle Belt Cultural Heritage Show 2018 at National Theatre, Iganmu Lagos, on May 05, 2018.
The chairman of this great occasion, Chief (Dr) Olusegun Obasanjo (GCFR) former president of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Your Excellencies the Governor of Lagos State, Benue State, Plateau State, Nassarawa Sate, Kwara State, Kogi State and OgUn State, Your Royal Highness, Oba of Lagos, the Guest Speaker, Prof. Jerry Gana, honorable members of National Assembly, special guests of honors, captains of industries, the mother of the day, Iyaloja General of Nigeria, members of the diplomatic corps, distinguished ladies and gentlemen.
Permit me to humbly welcome you all to this cultural heritage organised by Middle Belt Traditional Council (MBTC) South West. It may interest you to know that the council was founded many years ago, but was able to find her feet in the last three years, when it organized her first cultural event in 2015. Shortly after the event, the members felt dissatisfied with the state of things and with the then leadership. In our determination to rise and move forward, we regrouped and drew up constitution to guide the operations and activities of the body. The first ever election into the offices of the body was done, which led to the democratically elected, tested and trusted officers of the council, for which results you are all witnessing today.
The council consists of representatives from all the ethnic nationalities or tribes from Benue, Plateau, Kwara, Kogi, Niger and Nassarawa states as well as FCT and much more from other states around the Middle Belt region of Nigeria. What gave rise to this body was the dear need for an umbrella or platform that will accommodate the many and diverse ethnic nationalities in and around the Middle Belt region living and doing businesses in other parts of the country order than their states of birth, thereby inculcating in them the spirit of love, unity, perseverance, handwork, integrity and peaceful co-existence, amongst our various host communities in the South West and its environs.
To this very important nucleus of our existence, am proud and happy to say it has been largely achieved. The crowd and show of love and unity you are witnessing today is a direct manifestation of the council’s converted efforts, by the grace of God.
The activities and programmes of the council have suffered or experienced daunting challenges in the following areas despite the modest achievements.
- Lack of good accommodation, where we can carry on our activities popularly known to our sons and daughter and well wishers, identifiable as middle belt place. The importance of this cannot be over emphasized if,when achieved.
- Lack of vehicular mobility for the use of the council as a befitting body of responsible leaders championing a noble cause.
- Paucity of funds to engage on laudable programmes of events that will impact positively on members and to assist members really in need. This limitation has brought about an untold hardship on willing members who have made great sacrifices to support matters of necessity to the council.
May I sincerely appeal to you all; our illustrations sons and daughters and our distinguished guests and all persons of goodwill to come to our aid in respect of the above named challenges in order to empower the council for effective delivery of our mandate.
In the same vein, I want to appeal to the Federal Government, International Community and all people of goodwill to help come together in one voice and action to put to a permanent stop the unlawful killing of innocent persons and destruction of property that is on going in the Middle Belt region and some parts of the country by herders. The herders should be made to know that killing of farmers and innocent women and children and willful destruction of properties will surely attract to them the law of retribution, even though today, for one reason or the other, they are having a field day.
Likewise, as we approach 2019 general elections, the council wishes Nigeria peaceful, fair and credible elections, while advising the INEC and politicians to play the rules and regulations to the letter as a panacea to harmony amongst all and sundry.
And to all our distinguished awardees, I congratulate you and wish you more of such recognition in life. It is a call to do more, God be your helper.
To our Principal Guests, the Chairma of the occasion, the Guest Speaker, the Royal Father of the Day, the Mother of the Day, Your Excellencies, please accept our deepest and sincere appreciation. God bless you richly and continue to honor you.
Long Live Nigeria.
Long Live Indigeneous States of Middle Belt.
Long Live Lagos State.
“Middle Belt, Voice of Unity
Voice of Unity, Middle Belt.
GOD BLESS YOU ALL