In as much as conflict is part of human existence, it is indeed so sad that people of this generation are so myopic and lack the knowledge of history, culture and tradition that has help our ancestors to coexist harmoniously.
If they do, they should know that the name Okpoga-Edumoga does not in any way make them different people, the same people with common history and ancestor occupying a different geographical location, not even the slightest variation in mother tongue make us different people.
I have read some several ridiculous articles and comment from some myopic sentimental view who say things like Okpoga people are very peaceful instead of saying my Idoma people are very peaceful.
I can also vividly remember what happened during my undergraduate days when some group of individual tried to split the Idoma union under the National Association of Idoma Students (NAIS) to different fragment for individual political ambition.
First, the Association of Okpoga Students was established, then Association of Edumoga Students then other Association like Ogbadibo Students Union, which threatened the unity of Idoma students on campus emerged.
It was in school I discovered that every Idoma can be easily identified with their mother tongue and pronunciation of words, and categories such as Alala and ai-odoanya, and some see themselves to be the superior Idoma. being the P.R.O of National Union of Benue state students (NUBESS).
I used my influence to shut down all sub-associations because I realized it distorts the Idoma unity and this unity is needed to give us the presidential mandate at NUBESS level as majority ethnic on campus, the question is, how does this relate to the Edumoga-okpoga communal clash?
It is splitting of the Idoma into fragments for political gains that brought about the disparity and make people see themselves as a separate entity.
So sad that even the so-called clan heads, chiefs and elites of the Idoma who are supposes to settle this little misunderstanding among brothers are busy taking sides and making controversial statements to fuel the crisis.
I am a native of Edumoga, precisely from Effeche (Ai-Odowu) while my great grand-mother has a link with okpoga (Ikomija) while my great grand father has a link with Ohimini.
This brief analogy will give you a hint of the proximity between the entire Idoma race and why it is absolutely illogical for anyone to try to separate the Idoma people into fraction as a result of their geographical location.
Youth with no empathy took the law into their hands and set their own brother ablaze suspected to be criminal instead of taking him to the security for the law to take its cause.
It is quit ridiculous to know that this issue started between cult gang and vigilante and the community took it upon themselves and make it a communal clash.
Now, instead of the community to strategize and defend their land against foreign invaders like fulani herdsmen, they are busy dis-uniting and killing each other. With a deep sense of anguish, It sadden me that the idoma people known for their hospitality for strangers, peace loving and harmonious co-existence has been adulterated with alien culture.
Its high time we returned back to our root and history and teach our children and young generation stories of the old, how "IDUH" the father of Idoma begot the entire Idoma race,.
As history has it, the great Iduh begot Ananawoogeno who begot the children of Igwumale; Olinaogwu who begot the people of Ugboju; Idum who begot the people of Adoka; Agabi who begot the people of Otukpo; Eje who begot the people of Oglewu; Ebeibi who begot the people of Umogidi in Adoka, and Ode who begot the people of Yala etc.
If you continue with these findings, you will get to the point how Okpoga-Edumoga was formed. This piece is not historical article but to remind us that conflict, crisis and war are not an alternative for dispute resolution.
Those affected directly might be tempted to be biased in their judgement considering the fact that human emotional response travels faster than their rational thinking, but this is not time to be biased or show any form of favouritism but to see ourselves as one people and put hands on deck to resolve this communal clash and make our community the place it use to be, a habitable,hospitable and peaceful place for all.
I hereby call on the elite, the clan heads, the youth, members of the community, INF and the Ochi-doma to come together as people with common heritage to use diplomacy and wisdom and put an end to the communal clash that is putting our land in the state of entropy because Community peace and tolerance which is germane for harmonious co-existence are factors that hasten community development any where in the world.
Bernard Idoko. 08062555849
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