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Och'Idoma rejects calls by Igede people for a separate king

Written By Idoma Television on Friday, December 16, 2016 | 4:52:00 AM

By Vera Enenche

The paramount ruler of Idoma community, HRM, Agabaidu Elias I. Obekpa has asked the people of Igede to bury the clamour for a new traditional ruler for the community.

The monarch said the agitation for an indepdent body is a threat to the unity of Idoma people.

Speaking at the consultative meeting organised by the Idoma Area Traditional Council on Friday, the royal father said the Idoma community remains invisible.

His address reads in full.

My people, I have called you today to deliberate on an issue that is fundamental to the existence of our tribe, the Idoma Nation. No body, here or elsewhere, can tell us when the Idoma people came into existence. All we know is that our people existed as a tribe, in the defunct Kwararafa Kingdom. Series of Wars/disagreements, resulting from leadership disputes, brought us to our present station. Let me stress that not all the Idomas that left Kwararafa came to our present abode at the same time. Some journeyed further into the South. Some went westwards and later came to join their kins in Idoma land. Others left shortly after arriving here and went in search of salt and other resources.

Idomas at the early stage did not have a single traditional rulership system. What joined us together was our shared values and our tradition.

When the Colonial Administration decided to introduce the Native Authority system, they identified these shared values and practices and gave the Idomas and Idoma Native Authority. In places where the British noticed varied practices and custom, they gave federated Native Authorities.

When the need for a central traditional rulership, for Idoma land, became necessary, the 22 district Heads, who had met at the 'Ojira' (Council of Chiefs) from 1923, came together to establish the seat of the Och'Idoma. They surrendered their staff of office to the centre in their bid to create a rallying point for the people.

The Och'Idoma Stool, as you all know, rotates between Idoma Sons from the Four Zones of Idoma Land. So far, Idomas, from all the zones have ascended the throne.

It is at this juncture that I wish to point out the disturbing and consistent agitation, by the Igede of Idoma east, to have an "Igede nation" differently from the larger Idoma nation. This agitation,which is threatening the unity of our dear kingdom, should be discouraged, most especially, as the Igedes have never suffered any form of marginalization in the midst of their Idoma Brothers and Sisters. 

It is true that there might be dialectical differences but thi is not peculiar to Idoma as a tribe. The agitators of a separate nation, for the Idomas of Igede extraction, should be mindful of questioning the wisdom of their fathers who, along with other Idoma fathers, came together in 1947 to establish the stool of Och'Idoma, to serve as a symbol of unity for the Idoma people. It is my belief that the decision of these earlier fathers of Igede, to stick to one indivisible Idoma Kingdom, was not borne out of mistake, neither were they forced to take the decision. It is needless to point out that the Igedes have produced the longest serving Och'Idoma to date!

My dear people, it is not my intention to dwell so long on the Igede agitation in this my welcome address to you. I am however constrained to do so as posterity will not forgive me if I fail to point this seeming threat to the unity of our people.

I want to thank all of you that have found time to be part of this meeting. You have demonstrated, once again, your love and passion for the land.

As you deliberate on how best to accommodate the latest reforms, introduced by government into our traditional system,let us be guided by our collective responsibility at ensuring that we preserve the common heritage which has held us together as a people. We should put aside personal interests and come up with a document all Idomas will be proud of.

I thank you all.

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