By James Ibechi
Sorry to say this, and no grudge against any man meant here. No wisecrack either. But to say the truth, in David Mark-controlled Benue South Senatorial District, Igede truly died in all ramifications of the word. Our elders who aided the killing of Igedeland using the PDP, we’re just told, will this weekend change the party. They’re defecting from the PDP to APC in the wake of the broom revolution in the state and in the country in general. Good development. Isn’t it? It is.
Most of the decampee-elders were the reasons the infamous ‘Otukpo Mafia’ became strong and stradled Idomaland like emperors because these elders caressed and nearly idolised and worshipped Mark, especially during the era of the politics of the stomach, first epitomised by the late strongman of Ibadan politics, Adedibu.
No time had Igedeland faced relegation to the backwaters of the state and national politics than when these decampee-elders, under the tutelage of Mark, acted like demi-gods in Igedeland.
Igede has long been overdue for first class chiefdom, but it’s said Dmark would hear no such thing and because of that the idoma paramount ruler will not approve of it. To bury such agitations for first class stool for Igede, the today decampee-elders acted like traitors, who always supported Dmark and Och’Idoma against any move by any Igede group or individual to demand upgrade of thier traditional stool.
Igede once produced late Amb. Oga Okwoche, as ambassador to France. They also produced Ode Ojowu, as Chief Economic Adviser of the OBJ regime. While that of Okwoche was in the first or second republic, Prof. Ojowu’s appointment, purely on merit, bypassed the Dmark Zone C-controlled PDP. Otherwise, it was believed those PDP elders would have Dmark to frustrate the appointment for Ojowu or Igede, to benefit the other side of Idomaland.
That’s how or why long after those two appointments came and gone, Igede could no longer smell any federal or state key position, until Samuel Ortom of the APC has come on board to the glory of God, and in the first appointments so far made, Igede is remembered or recognised with HOS position.
Good that they must have seen the light in the revolutionary party. I mean the elders. No need to mention names.
Igede is truly long overdue for the senate seat, but for Mark. He’s the one who has subverted the rotation of the seat along the tripod of Old Okpokwu, Old Otukpo and Old Oju that was in existence before he became a senator. The first two have had their slots or shot. But when it’s time for Old Oju, the power obsessed General has refused to relinguish the seat, while these Igede elders continued to encourage him for the crumbs they enjoy from his table.
Under Mark and these elders, Igede degenerated to near extinction in the scheme of things in Benue state, despite the fact that, 2006 national population census accorded it, by demogarpy, as the third dominant tribe in the state. An advantage which is supposed to place Igede as the third leg of the triumvirate around which state power ought to revolve.
Instead, what we saw during the height of PDP/David Mark reign was a complete relegation of the Igedes to the background.
At a point when former president Goodluck Jonathan visited, Igede’s name was completely wiped out of recognition. And these people were there and happy to say nothing.
Well, what do I have I to say than, under David Mark and these decampees who are dumping PDP today for the APC, Igede truly died. But with the broom party on board the dry bones will live agian. No need to begrudge the decampee-elders, who have eventually seen the light and are ditching David Mark, now.