ONU IKA AND IKA DEVELOPMENT AGENDA

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Within
the Nigerian context, where there are many ethnic nationalities, there is
always concerted struggle for state resources by the different ethnic groups.
Deliberate efforts are made to foster a sense of unity as a boost toward the
actualization of common goals. That is why organizations such as the Afenifere,
for the Yoruba ethnic stock, Arewa Consultative Forum, for the Hausa/Fulani,
Urhobo Progressive Union, and many others championing the cause and interest of
their respective ethnic groups have sprang up, particularly since Nigeria
gained political independence from Great Britain.

               

These
socio-cultural organizations are known to have worked tirelessly to position
the various ethnic nationalities they represent, in the larger Nigerian society.
That the North is firmly in control of the Nigerian State
can be said to have been reasonably achieved through the proactive efforts of
the Arewa Consultative Forum. The same goes for the Urhobo Progressive Union.

               

For
the people of Ika Nation, Onu Ika Nigeria seems to be standing in the
gap for them. Over the years, the group, through its pronouncements and
comments on sensitive issues affecting Ika people have been able to make Ika
voice heard both at the state, national and international levels. Most significant
is the yearly organized Ogwa Ika and Ika Ka Mma Lectures, which are hosted by
the eleven kingdoms in Ika land, on rotational basis. The annual events have
contributed, in no small measure to creating opportunities for the discussion
and appraisal of critical cultural and developmental issues affecting Ika land.

               

For
instance, last year’s event, which was hosted by Owa Kingdom
dwelt on educational development in Ika land while that of this year 2009 is
still on education and politics. A few months ago, Onu Ika made its position
known on the poor state of roads, erratic power supply, the position of Provost
of the College of
Education, Agbor and the
long abandoned Orogodo river dredging. The group has therefore continued to be
the mouth-piece of Ika ethnic nationality.

               

We
commend the leadership and members of Onu Ika Nigeria
for their struggle to re-position Ika Nation not only within Delta State
but at the national level. We are, however, constrained to state that not much
has been achieved in the areas of political positioning and infrastructural
development. Ika land, apart from having more than enough human resources, is
no doubt lagging behind in both strategic political positions and
infrastructural development. There is so much decay in infrastructure and other
social amenities. Our people cannot be said to have benefited much from
successive administrations at the state and local levels. We will be stating
the obvious if we say that Ika Nation has over the years been shortchanged in
the scheme of things. However, efforts should be made to harness some of the
opportunities we have in government, especially as Ika land is favoured with
key appointments and positions in the Uduaghan’s administration and at the
national level. Such positions include the SSG, Speaker of the State House of
Assembly, Commissioner for Environment and Commissioner of Women Affairs,
Social and Community Development, at the State level and Special Assistant to
the President and an Ambassador. What more can we ask for? No doubt, for many
years now, this seems to be the most favourable administration, in terms of
political appointments for Ika nation both at State and Federal levels. We
thank Governor Uduaghan and President Yar’Adua for their magnanimity even as we
urge that we make good use of this rare opportunity.

               

This
paper is, therefore, calling on Onu Ika under the dynamic and pragmatic
leadership of Elder Futune Ebie to intensify efforts at making sure that a new
approach to sustainable development is adopted in taking advantage of our
current vantage positions in government. A more practical drive, which will
help in putting the right machinery in place that could enhance our place in
the Nigerian polity, should be applied. Our political representatives at
whatever level should be made to always appear at Ogwa Ika to give account of
their stewardship. There could also be a committee that will be liaising with
government with a view to influencing both political and infrastructural
patronage to Ika land. This way, Onu Ika will not only be giving a very good
leadership but will also be moving Ika forward in a most positive way that is
expected of a people in the 21st century.

               

While we wish the noble group, fruitful deliberations
and celebrations at this year’s gathering, being hosted by Umunede Kingdom,
we only hope that they use the opportunity to seriously look into the myriad of
socio-political problems assailing Ika land and proffer workable solutions.

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