Let me remind my friends, followers and readers on this platform that I will always remain a bonafide and worthy Ambassador of my fatherland, Ebira, no matter the developmental challenges that the rocky enclave is subjected to in recent time.
How can I ever deny my heritage that have shaped my character, personality and solid foundation for all that I have become today.
As a child born in the early sixties, I grew up in a community where there is love, peace, empathy and religious and political tolerance. The issue of clan was never a basis for any senseless war in the community. My late maternal grand father told me beautiful stories of how Ebiraland was a united and progressive community where human lives was sacred.
Our hunters like the late Damisa Ejibade, the custodian of the famous Aneku Akoko, and other scores of part time hunters were the only ones I knew had locally made guns in the entire community where I was born and brought up. My grand father said there was great respect for human lives in the entire Ebira community. I can recall that there was a day when a hunter mistakenly killed another hunter while on hunting expedition and the killer was forced to make atonement for spilling the blood of another in the community.
That was then.
The coming of Western education and modern politics have changed the face of all that was our heritage in the land. I can recall that the politics of the First Republic was peaceful and without bitterness among the political Actors and their followers. The late Adamu Atta, Usman Abatemi, Dr John Lawal, Kokori Abdul, Alhaji Abubakar Maikasuwa, Senator Pius Lasis, senator AT Ahmed, Isah Obaro Abonyi and others too numerous to mention were top politicians of that golden era who were/are Role models in the entire community.
Our Festivals like Echane, Ekuechi, Echeori and Echeahana were ideal moments to showcase our rich cultural and traditional heritages. I can recall that Akoko, Aneku Ura and other masquerades were all famous masquerades that were normally on display together in Ikuehi. All that beautiful moments of my childhood have been bastardized by the present generation that are mostly under thirty years.
Our modern festivals and politics have been turned to a period of killing, maiming, arson, hates and outright mischief by these young men and women in our community. What a pity!
These days, our cultures, festivals and politics can no longer attract tourists from within and outside Ebiraland. Our worst examples in the land have found their ways into political leadership positions at local, state and national levels.
Indeed, as it has come to be, politics have become a sanctuary for dropouts and other nonentities who have become power drunk and money mongers.
In my own opinion, the twin problems of Ebiraland are, without any apology, our culture and politics. If you check the pattern of those who had died in recent times as victims of AK47, they are all the key figures showcasing the best of our culture and politics.
This journalist covered all the sittings of the Gen Mamman Chris Ali-led panel of enquires set up by the former governor Idris Ibrahim of Kogi State after the senseless and needless war in Ebiraland.
I can recall that the panel submitted their reports and recommendations to the governor, a white paper was gazetted by the government of Alhaji Idris Ibrahim, this journalist was privileged to read the said white paper from page to page, I regret to inform you that the white paper was never implemented throughout the tenure of the former governor, some key political actors in Ebiraland were recommended for ban from politics for a period of ten years to serve as deterrence to others.
I regret to tell you that some of them later became senators and House of Representatives members, such is life.
In conclusion, therefore , I wish to enjoin our amiable governor to be patriotic enough and show the political will to go ahead and ban all our festivals for a period of one hundred years so that Ebira Nation will enjoy unity, progress and development under this democratic dispensation.
All our youths that have become unemployable should be enlisted into the armed forces without further delay so that they can help the nation in fighting the menace of Boko Haram in Sambisa forest.
Furthermore, our political leaders should weed out the bad eggs in our politics. Politics should no longer be made attractive to misfits and undesirable elements in our community.
Long live Ebira Nation.
Long live Governor Yahaya Bello and other peace loving political leaders that are carrying the Banners of our race.
I rest my case.
– Otori Ozigi is a retired Public Servant, Journalist and Public Relations Expert