By: Eugene Azuka Uzum Esq.
Often times, I reflect on issues about Ikaland. Two things strike the inner me. The first is a deep sense of contentment that I am an Ikaman; the second is a sting of pain emanating from the polarity of Ika society. These two phenomenons are evident in our disposition as Ika indigenes in that if you are returning from a journey and moving toward Ikaland either from Abraka Umutu road, Igbodo Asaba expressway, Igbanke Uromi road or entering Ikaland from Benin, there is always this feeling of inner happiness that at least you are within the enclave of “Alua Nwaebon area”.
Agbor kingdom is a nation with many towns and small villages and as such every Ika person has a bearing from one of the various town within Agbor kingdom, therefore Ika indigenes are stakeholders in their various communities and various communities are stake holders in the Kingdom of Agbor. Ika nation has always been a force to reckon with right from the colonial times, this is evident from the fact that Ika was actively represented in the defunct regional assembly of the first republic.
The first democratically elected government of Delta State had an Ika indigene as its deputy governor and in the second dispensation of civil governance under the leadership of Chief James Ibori; we have two Commissioners in the persons of Mr. Magnus Onyibe (information), and Doctor Ifeanyi Okowa (health). Suffice to say that with unity, peace, faith and strength, the Ika nation can do more in substantiating the leadership role she has been endowed.
Today, there is this notion of AZU OWA and AZU AGBOR, before now we had IKA with headquarters at Agbor, also we have traditional terminologies like Boji Boji and Orogodo. The conflict rests on the fact that today we have Boji Boji Owa, Boji Boji Agbor. This may be a misconstruction by non-Ika indigenes or possibly Ika people who live outside Ikaland.
Literarily, Azu Owa means, “TOWARDS OWA”, while Azu Agbor means, “TOWARDS AGBOR”. Before now, I thought such terms were used for description or giving direction to a stranger in Ikaland. But today, there is a very big lacuna between Azu Owa and Azu Owa, while in the real sense it is just across the road along Lagos-Asaba road.
This distinction arose out of the hostilities that existed between southern Ika and northern Ika, some quarters believe that southern Ika was selfish with political appointments in past political dispensation, but today, the same people are pointing accusing fingers on Ika north. The fact remains that power is dynamic not stationery, so if any section of Ikaland stumbles into political power, it is our duty as members of Ika nation to consult and consolidate rather than building different power blocks of disunity, an experiment that failed former Soviet Union.
In a nutshell, I humbly call on Ika sons and daughters at home and in Diaspora to avail themselves of the opportunity existing in Ikaworld by reaching out through this medium, thereby educating folks on the need for Ika to stay united, for united we stand. Ika people are very unique in Anioma nation, we not only stand as a political rallying point, but we have a gift of understanding the Ukuani, Aniocha, Oshimili language without much strain, unlike other languages in Anioma that goes some length to understand Ika language perfectly. A united Ika lip will make our trumpet louder.
God bless Ikaland!