By Ameh Ameh
When Chief Isaac Oduh, famously known as Ejekwote K’Idoma and Dr. Edwin Obe Idoko (MFR), Ohonyeta K’Idoma of the Salem Hospital went the way of all mortals some years ago, may had thought it was end of a political era for Owukpa community.
Some hinged their claim on the fact that the duo were the only known heads that stood high above the Nigerian political sea for many decades.
Others maintained that the scrunching up of the political career of Iko Inori-born former Benue State Commissioner of Finance, Dr. Christopher Obute was other reason Owukpa may not rise from its sinking political sea.
Many had even likened the possibility of an Owukpa native hitting the headline in the Nigerian political circle to forcing seven pregnant Carmel through the eye of a needle.
No doubt, for years, the Owukpa community had wandered in a political wilderness with no Moses in sight to lead them to the Promised Land.
After queuing behind the then ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for years without nothing to show for it, many children of Amuche Onomo resorted to politics of ofu ko’ore.
The marginalization and injustice against the people of Owukpa continued until a young man saw the need and decided to take it upon himself to restore the lost glory of the land.
Today, Owukpa community is standing talk on the nation’s political aisle and even rubbing shoulders with many political big wigs in this entity called Nigeria, all thanks to Comrade Austine Agada, the emerging political tiger of Owukpa Akatekwe.
The story of Comrade Agada, son of a late Immigration Officer could be dated back to his university days at the prestigious Benue State University as one of the ‘unofficial’ student union leaders, who fought gallantly for the welfare of the students.
Youthful Agada warmed his way into the hearts of all students, including members fraternities in the institution for playing vital roles on student-related matters.
Having conquered school politics, the soft-spoken Odu descendant decided to go into mainstream politics with the aim of bringing back the lost glory to his country home.
Pained by the continuous dominance of the PDP in Owukpa with no dividends of democracy attracted by Joseph Ojobo, the current occupant of the Benue State House of Assembly seat for Ogbadibo Constituency, Agada and other likeminds in 2014 captained the train that brought the All Progressives Congress, APC to Owukpa community.
In 2015, he joined the race to change the old order but was denied the ticket by the APC. Determined to take Owukpa, nay Ogbadibo constituency to where it belongs, Agada pitched his tent with the Accord Party where he locked horns with Ojobo during the state assembly election but the PDP through its maradonaic style, bundled its candidate back into the house.
He returned to his mother party – APC, after the election and in the spirit of sportsmanship, teamed up with the ‘winner’ to make Owukpa great again.
His passion and dedication made the then Secretary of State Bar. Takema to draw the attention of the Benue State governor, Samuel Ortom, who appointed him Senior Special Assistant on Administration, an office he has used to empower many Idoma youths.
The man and his midas touch
In Ai-Odu, his country home and Ehaje Ward at large, Agada is like the second Messiah to the less-privileged, especially the widows and the youths.
Through his Austine Agada Widows Foundation, he has put smiles on the faces of many women whose husbands have been snatched by the cold hands of death.
He has also empowered many youths in the community through his magnanimity.
Interestingly, Agada single-handedly sponsored the construction of a pavilion in the Ukwo Owukpa market.
During his first ever visit to Owukpa, the National Commandant of the Peace Corps of Nigeria, Amb Dr. Dickson Akoh, described Agada as a pacesetter and mirror of Owukpa youth.
He eulogized him for taking it upon himself to bring back to lost political glory of Owukpa community.
Reward for excellence
Like Owukpa elders would say oyi loochelo rona labo inyi (A child that washes his hand clean eats with the elders), indeed, Agada has paid the ultimate price and deserves a big reward.
Many are of the opinion that the House of Assembly seat should remain in Owukpa in 2019, considering the fact that Orokam and Otukpa, the two others communities that formed Ogbadibo are currently sitting on the front role with many political appointments.
They have tipped the Peoples Comrade, as Agada is fondly called to take over the baton of leadership from Joe Ojobo in 2019 so as to further give Owukpa voice in this government.