MY IGEDE ANALOGY OF CHIEF MKO ABIOLA’S JUNE 11, 1994 SPEECH

By Ogi John Otor OGI 3

“People of Igede nation, exactly 3 years ago, you turned out in your numbers to vote for your sons and daughters as Members of House of Representatives and House of Assembly in the Federal Republic of Nigeria. But politicians in uniform, who call themselves soldiers but are more devious than any civilian would want to be, deprived you of your God-given right to be ruled by the the people you had yourselves elected.

“These soldier-politicians introduced into our body politic, a concept hitherto unknown to our political lexicography, something strangely called the “No zoning” of elective positions perceived by all to have been the fairest, cleanest and most peaceful way of rotation in our nation.

“Since that abominable act of naked political armed robbery is trying to occurred, we have been constantly urged by people of goodwill, both in Igede and abroad, to put the matter back into the people’s hands and get them to actualise the mandate we gave them at the polls. But mindful of the need to ensure that peace continues to reign in our fragile and peaceful Igede Kingdom, some stakeholders have so far tried to pursue sweet reason and negotiation.

“My hope has always been to arouse whatever remnants of patriotism are left in the hearts of these men with your mandate, and to persuade them that they should not allow their personal desire to rule to usher our beloved Igede land into an era of political instability and economic ruin.

OGI
Ogi John

“All we have sought to do, in seeking dialogue with them, has been to try and get them to realise that only real democracy can move our nation forward towards progress, and earn her the respect she deserves from other communities in Benue and Nigeria.

“However, although this peaceful approach has exposed me to severe censure by some who have mistaken it for weakness on my part, those with whom I have sought to dialogue have remained like stones, neither stirred to show loyalty to the collective decision of the people of Igede nor to observe Oligede injunction that they should exhibit justice and fair-play in all their dealings with their fellowmen.

“Appeals to their honour as HOR and HOA Members and gentlemen of the Igede extraction have fallen on deaf ears. Instead, they have resorted to the tactics of divide and rule, bribery and political perfidy, misinformation and (vile) propaganda. They hate everyone who disagrees with them. How much longer can we tolerate all this? People of Igede, you are all witnesses that I have tried to climb the highest mountain, cross the deepest river and walk the longest mile, in order to get these men to obey the will of our people.

“There is no humiliation that we are not going to endure, no snare that will not be put in our path, no “setup” that will not been designed for us in our endeavour to use the path of peace to enforce the a fair mandate come 2019.

“Selfish interest rule has led to our nation fighting a civil war with itself. Selfish rule has destabilised our nation today as not before in its history. “Material rule” has impoverished our people and introduced a dreadful trade in poverty and begging. which has made our country’s name an anathema in many parts of the world.

“The permanent seat of integrity, accountability, hard work, resourcefulness and transparency that should be rightfully ours, is all but lost.

“Enough of selfish material rule. We are sickened to see people who have shown little or no personal achievement, either in building up private businesses, or making success of any tangible thing, being placed in charge of the management of our cherished government positions by rulers who are not accountable to anyone.

“Enough of square pegs in round holes. We are tired of then selfish repetitive tendency to experiment with our economy: Today, they say “no zoning”Tomorrow; they say “one tenure left”. The day after, they say “third term”.

“Our youths, in particular, can see no hope on the horizon, and many can only dream of escaping from or shores to join the brain drain. Is this the Igede we want? We are plagued also by periodic non payments of salary crises, which have led to a perennial shortage of essential drugs that has turned our hospitals and clinics into mortuaries.

“A scarcity of books and equipment has rendered our schools into desolate deserts of ignorance. Our farms are crying for machinery, spare parts and raw materials. But each day that passes, instead of these economic diseases being cured, they are rather strengthened as an irrational allocation of funds for burials, sharing motorcycles to delegates and political mobilizations based on favouritism and corruption becomes the order of the day.

“Enough is enough of economic mismanagement! People of Igede

“I am sure that when you cast an eye on the moribund state of Igede roads today, you ask yourselves: “What have we done to deserve this, when we have politicians we elect who can lead a government that can change things for the better? Our patience has come to an end.

“Igede with Unity is the only legitimate, constituted authority that binds us both Oju and Obi as of now. People of Igede, these are challenging times in the history of our nation, Igede and we must not allow ourselves to be left behind. Our struggle is the same as that waged by the people of South Africa, which has been successfully concluded, with the inauguration of Mr. Nelson Mandela as the first African President of that country.

“Nelson Mandela fought to replace MINORITY rule with MAJORITY rule. We in Benue are also fighting to replace MINORITY rule, for we are ruled by only a tiny section of our people who see majority only in numbers. Like the South Africans, we want MAJORITY rule today by integrity, that is rule only by those chosen by all the people of Igede as a whole in free and fair elections.

“The antics of every minority that oppresses the majority are always the same. They will try to intimidate you with threats of police action. But do not let us fear arrest. In South Africa, so many people were arrested, during the campaign against the Pass Laws, for instance, that the jails could not hold all of them. Today, apartheid is gone forever.

“No one can give you power. It is yours. Take it! From this day, show to the world that anyone who takes the people of Igede for fools is deceiving himself and will have the people to answer to. God bless you all. Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Long live Igede nation, long live the man called John Ogi.

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