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As early as 4 a.m each day, residents of Ebiraland, usually women and children are seen carrying water containers of various shapes and sizes in search of water which is a seasonal scarce commodity in that part of kogi state. The low-land of Inoziomi where the Wells usually doesn’t dry and GRA okene where majority of the rich who could afford to sink boreholes in their houses resides suddenly turns into meccas of some sort as soon as the raining season is over. Women are exploited, the elderly are disrespected, the poor and indigent are assaulted and humiliated, and children are abused and dehumanized in their unrelenting quest to get water, no matter what it takes.
Ebiraland Suffers From Severe Water Scarcity Everyday
It is embarrassing and sad that at this modern times women and children still has to be up as early as possible and trek long distances in search for not even a (treated) portable drinking water but for some dirty Well water. The Irehu waterworks which use to supply water periodically to the residents of Okene and environs has since been neglected, abandoned and reduced to a mere campaign project for winning the votes of the people of the part of the state by desperate and dubious politicians who always fail to fulfil their campaign promise of rehabilitating and resuscitating the waterworks.
Water is a basic necessity of life, its adequate provision should form part of the basic policy of any right thinking government at different levels. We all need it for many activities and purposes, particularly at the domestic front towards a hygienic and healthy living. The settlement pattern and topography of Ebiraland already offered an advantage and makes it easier for all nooks and corners to be reached and connected through water channels, but the government is yet to do anything in this direction.
Despite being a host to dams, Ekuku and Osara, which could supply several million gallons of water per day if effectively and adequately harnessed by the government, many residents of the central senatorial district have been left to continue to suffer and groan helplessly as the problem of water scarcity which had persisted for a very long time and is now further compounded and made worse as a result of population explosion and expansion in Ebiraland. The challenge of water scarcity in Okene and its environs is growing by the day and residents of the high-land of Okene-eba, parts of Idoji, Idozumi, Enyinare, Ihima, Adavi-eba, Obangede, Kuroko, Eika and many parts of Ajaokuta local government area are the worse hit.
Sadly, the elected representatives of the people of kogi central at the national, state and local government levels have not been able to do much in addressing the increasing water needs of the people as many of them are only there for their pockets and not for how they can better the lot or make life more meaningful for their constituency. Although the neglect of water facilities in the central senatorial district didn’t start with the present administration in the state, it is expected that being a son of the soil governor Yahaya Bello would summon the courage and alacrity to do the needful as urgently as possible in a bid to ameliorating the suffering of the people of Ebiraland by designing a simple but enduring water reticulation project to put a permanent end to water troubles in Okene and environs.
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– Hussain Obaro writes from Lokoja, Kogi State.

 

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The psychological effects of broken homes on children in Ebiraland.

I just want to talk about something which a lot of people don’t talk about which is the psychological effects of broken home on the children of the marriage. A lot of times children from broken marriages/homes are left in a world of their home .I want to share my story.

I am a product of a broken marriage, my parents separated when I was in SS1 that’s around 2007 due to the fact that my mother couldn’t have more children for my dad after me, hence my dad’s family as well as my dad wanted more children and since it wasn’t coming forth my mother was told to leave the home. She was just 34 years old then, whilst I was 14 years old.
I didn’t really understand what was going on then, all I knew was that my parents were fighting and somehow I was in the middle. My dad relocated to Ado Ekiti and married another woman whilst I was forced to stay with my mum in Okene as my dad will not take me along.

My mum will transfer all the anger of the broken marriage (my dad’s hurts) to me. She would look for the slightest opportunity to beat me, she would throw wooden chairs and anything in sight at me anytime. She would even curse me for what my dad did to her.

She remarried another man and had a child, my troubles worsen then as anything I do she would say “that is why I didn’t have another child after you for your father because you are a witch”. I would cry countless nights and pray for me to grow and just leave the house as I was in boarding school.

Anytime it’s time for holidays I would cry and weep because home was a place of hurt for me. I even attempted suicide once in school. My Dad never asked of me this period as there was phone to even communicate.

When I finished secondary school, none of my parents was at my graduation even though they were supposed to be on the high table as I was collecting some prizes. My mum’s excuse was that she just gave birth and her baby was too small to travel from Okene to Lokoja, whilst my Dad never gave an excuse why he couldn’t make it. It really hurt me as all my friends kept asking for my parents.

After secondary school, I tried getting admission to ABU Zaria in 2009 I got 96 in Post UTME but was denied admission for “political” reasons, I called my dad he did nothing about it. He couldn’t even come to Zaria even after I cried and begged that someone in the VC’s office was willing to help if he comes. That’s how one year of my life wasted.

The next year, after much persuasion from my maternal grand aunt, my dad agreed to send me to a private university. For my year one my mum never called me for over 3 months even though I left her house to go to school. It really hurt because when my friends talked about their mum, I won’t say anything as we didn’t even have a relationship as mother and daughter.
My dad would come to school once a semester or sometimes once in 2 semesters to see me and that how it was till I finished university.

Another very painful experience was on my convocation day, my dad said “I cannot come if your mum is going to be there” I had to lie that she wasn’t coming just because I wanted my both parents to be there. My dad saw my mum on the road from the convocation ground and left without saying a word to me. I don’t think I have forgiven him for making me cry on my convocation day till today.

For my call to bar ceremony, he specifically said that if he must be there my mum must not come. I cannot say he shouldn’t come because he has money (financial gains) and he crumbled my mum’s business when he left her so she doesn’t have the finance for me, in fact in my last years in school I had to be splitting my pocket money from my dad with her as she would call me crying that she is hungry that her new husband is beating her etc.

I had to start a business in school to assist my small pocket money of 10k which I shared with my mum.
In fact I can go on and on about the various NOT so pleasant experiences I had growing up. In fact I was forced to grow up.

My point of this write up is that BROKEN HOME affects children more psychologically than even physically.

As at now that I’m 25 years, I still wake up and cry over this issues.
I still feel a yearn to be loved unconditionally as I feel I wasn’t loved as a child. My parents can’t stand each other till now and I still think how it will be like when I eventually want to get married? It affected me as a person as I am such a loner, I don’t even keep friends for fear of betrayal.
Please and please if you are reading this article please try to make your home a good one, I never blame and I blame those girls that do runs and start carrying aristos and sugar Daddies. If you see such child like myself in your area please help them not to be a loner it really hurt…

Thanks.

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The Vanishing Glory of Ebiraland

For starters, ebiraland is a tribe located in kogi central, north central, Nigeria. It is a rocky enclave populated by hard working, energetic and well cultured men. The women are very beautiful and highly enterprising and industrious. The elites are very intelligent, humble and proud of a heritage bound in peace and industry.
The community had given the world eminent professionals, captains of industry, top brass crop of brave and patriotic members of the armed forces.
The political class are loyal and competent men and women imbued with vision and astute leadership that have carved a niche for themselves in their various capacities and positions in the polity.
The academics are highly brilliant and leading lights and bright minds in their chosen careers. The professionals are making their marks in the socio-economic architecture globally.
Once upon a time ebiraland produced men and women like late Abdulazeez Attah, the first Nigeria secretary to the federal government. The enclave also had late George Ohikere, IGP Aliu Attah, DIG Yusuf, General Salihu Ibrahim who died recently, late Abdul rahaman Okene, Mahmoud Attah, Iate colonel Omananyi, late Adamu Attah, Ambassadors Usman Bello, M.K. Ibrahim, S.A. Lawal and General Ahmuda among others.
We had the likes of Engr. Austin Oniwon, Alhaji Mohammed Adoke SAN, Engr. Sam Ohuoutu, Engr. Joseph Makoju. Ebiraland, at last count, have produced no fewer than 90 professors. These include Prof. Albert Ozigi, Prof. Nuhu Yabub, Prof. M. S. Audu, Prof. Angela Okatahi to mention but a few.
Among the political class, we have the likes of Alhaji Yahaya Bello, Dr. Phillips Salawu, Chief Patrick Adaba, Chief Isa Ozi Salami and Alhaji Yakubu Oseni.
Meanwhile, I am highly saddened that our generation may never groom any bonafiide replacement to take over from our senior citizens in the nearest future. What we have now are half baked politicians and professionals. What a vanishing glory.
– Otori Ozigi is a former Public Relations officer of the Nigerian Ports Authority, Journalist and Public Relations Expert
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A Brief Review On EBira Tradition Way Of Burying The Dead

By Alex Adeiza. 

 The Ebira people, my people arguably belong to the league of ethnic groups in Nigeria with a complete cultural system, beautifully packaged way of life and endeavors while peacefully coexisting. The Ebira culture when wholly researched and understood, reveals a communal and logical adoption of practices to complement the belief system of the people.

 Our trajectory into this century has evidently witnessed a plummet in the observance of these cultural practices. Modern religion and civilization are solely responsible for this unfaithfulness to what our forefathers thought they had handed down to be passed on to generations. Concomitantly, the knowledge of these practices wanes gradually, yet at a pace that probably would be difficult for the next generation to grasp. In fact, some of my friends only got to know the mystery behind Ekuechi festival when my curiosity got me to write about it.

 The day a man was born, the day he marries, and the day he dies are the three most important times in a typical Ebira man’s sojourn on earth. Therefore, it was pertinent to clearly lay down principles and practices that will guide the observance of these all-important days. Thus, just as Christianity and Islam taught their faithfuls, how a child is christened, a young adult marries and the dead buried are clearly spelt out in our unwritten “Ebipedia.”

I only recently started to question myself on these things, and struggled with how our people buried their deads before Islam and Christianity took over. Another curiosity right? Yea! The type that led me into reviewing the work of John Picton, Emeritus Professor of African Art in the University of London, whose research works in Ebira Land are practically unbeatable. In his paper published at the University of Nebraska, he emphasized the significance of such clothes as the “Itokueta,” a hand-spun cotton textile made of three pieces.

The distinguishing features were an indigo-dyed weft, and one or other of two distinctive sets of warp stripes; one for the corpses of men, the other for women. It is the responsibility of the family of the deceased’s mother (omė’nyi) to supply the itokueta to wrap the bodies of the deceased ready for burial. Meanwhile, if the deceased passed on prematurely, the Ebira tradition holds that the deceased had not achieved the status of grand-parenthood, or if the deceased was otherwise a man or woman of no particular status, a grave would be quickly dug, behind the house or elsewhere, and the body buried the same day as the death itself.

 “If, however, the deceased, whether man or woman, had achieved what was regarded in Ebira tradition as a good death, ie as a grandparent and dieing in hirth order (it was socially difficult for a senior to mourn a junior, for example) the process of hurial would he rather more elahorate. The hody would be on view in the house preferably overnight laid out on a platform in the main passageway, or in a room, and the walls and doorways hung with itokueta. Anyone passing by would see immediately that someone of importance within that community was awaiting burial, and they would see whether it was a man or a woman.

The family might also have invested in some ‘itogede,’ indigo and white handspun cotton cloth with undyed bast fibres. It was more costly, and thus prestigious, but not gender-specific in its patterning. The body itself would lie on itokueta, covered or dressed in the deceased’s clothing, leaving the face and arms visible. Sometimes a cloth of machine-spun yarn, with tloat-weave patterns, would be placed over the clothing, but still leaving at least the face visible.” Picton (1996, p.254) In the house where the body lays, women relatives would sing all night long, while a special pot-drum (anuva) is played for people outside to dance. If the deceased happens to be a man, masquerade (eku) might appear to join the dance.

 The following day, people would rest, though mild musical and masquerade activity could prevail until late afternoon when people would reassemble for the burial procession. The body is wrapped in the deceased’s clothes, followed by the itokueta and sometimes the itogede that had been draped around the walls and doorways. According to Picton, by the 1960s, a respected and senior man would most definitely be wrapped in the Ubaneito, a red patterned cloth from Kabba axis of Kogi State. Once wrapped, the corpse would be tied with strips of white cloth to a broad plank, wide enough to contain the body. It would be paraded around the village, carried on a man’s head, and accompanied by young men, women, drummers and masquerades (if the deceased were a man) in a procession.

The procession with the corpse might well include a man carrying the empty coffin on his head following the man carrying the wrapped corpse. The grave for someone of importance would be dug during the morning of the burial. This is often done in the prominent part of the house such as the front veranda, or the main passage, or its principal public room. Interestingly, on the day of the burial, the children of the deceased appear in the clothes of the deceased, especially for the procession. To this end, there is one underlying similarity between the three religions when it comes to death, the world beyond (idaneku) unanimously agreed to be determined by the deeds of an individual as a sojourner on earth. Though the Ebira traditionalists believe in the reincarnation of the dead revealed by divination, and the return of powerful traditionalists as masquerade performers. “People learn more on their own rather than being force fed.” – Socrates.

Alex Adeiza.

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