• Fri. Jun 14th, 2024


Aug 27, 2017

IMG-20170807-WA0026-1 ONU IKA HOLDS 19TH OGWA IKA, UNVEILS IKA DICTIONARYOwa-Oyibu, the headquarters of Ika North East Local Government Area of Delta State, came alive on Saturday August 19, 2017, when the socio cultural organization, Onu Ika Nigeria, the mouthpiece of Ika ethnic nationality held her 19th Ogwa Ika. This year’s annual event which was held at Odogun Hall, Owa Royal palace, showcased glamour and colour. The memorable event was attended by His Excellency Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, Ika traditional rulers and prominent sons and daughters of Ika land. The ever green event also made history with the unveiling of the first edition of Ika Dictionary (Ekukwo Oku Nkowa).
In his address, Mr. Daniel Usifoh, the Head, Collective Leadership of Onu Ika Nigeria stated that at his taking over the mantle of leadership in 2012, he drew out strategic areas that his administration would focus on, they include; the gradual making of Ika, the official language during Ogwa Ika, to have Ika language as part of secondary school curriculum and a department at College of Education Agbor, to restore the lost art of Animal Husbandry and Rearing in Ika land, to stop indiscriminate cutting down of economic trees, to sensitize the people before the commencement of oil and gas production in Ika land, to help checkmate crime and to mentor and recognize excellence to actualize an Ika Hall of fame.
Continuing, Mr. Usifoh stated that Onu Ika over the years has largely inflamed, sustained and enlarged the frontier of Ika identity and the mantra of Ika Unity initiated by “our founding fathers’, as Ika ethnic nationality is now recognized in Nigeria, saying, “it therefore behoves on us all to uphold with pride and dignity our Ika identity wherever we are. To further buttress our quest to sustain our identity, Onu Ika in collaboration with other associations namely; Ika Bible Translation Committee, Ika Language and Culture Development Union and Onukokome Project of Nigeria have further concretized the awareness of Ika language as firstly demonstrated in the New Testament translation into Ika language and numerous textbooks, literature, poems, drama, satires among other literature works in Ika language. And recently the weekly Onukokome Radio episodes on Ray power FM 100.5 and also the ongoing summer school for Ika language in Abuja, by Onukokome Nigeria project. Full of smiles and excitement, the Oun Ika leader said that, “what is more fulfilling is that today, August 19, 2017; we shall be witnesses to history in the launching of the first edition of Ika Dictionary (Ekukwo Oku Nkowa).
He also acknowledged the invaluable pioneering works and dedication in teaching and facilitating the learning of Ika language during the adult programme of 1960s, saying, “These men have left their footprints in the sand of time not through their progenitors but through their life’s vocation or passion. Emphasizing that for these achievements, they deserve elevated place in the history of Ika language development. The legend are; late Messrs F. A. Ajuebon, A.E. Aghaolor, Bala J. J. Igborgbor, F. A. N. Okubor, Baba Eric Ogboi and the new entrant late Sir. S.P.O. Fortune Ebie. Chief Frederick Okafor Ehiwuogun, author of the famous “Gwam Gwai”, is the only surviving in the old brigade”.
Speaking on the issue of the Fulani Herdsmen, Mr. Daniel Usifoh, disclosed that Onu Ika has persistently and publicly, formally and informally expressed the stand of Ika people as contained in their solicited memorandum and petition to the Delta State House of Assembly Committee on public Hearing on the proposed grazing Bill dated 15th February 2017, and copied to the state governor and forty traditional rulers in Delta State. In his words, “we wish to repeat and emphasize that to ignore the vicious activities of these marauders is courting and sustaining a consuming disaster”. He also described the 2017 edition of Ika Essay competition among Ika Secondary School students as very impressive, disclosing that a total of 132 students from forty schools spread across the two local government areas in Ika land participated in the competition which was held at Ika Grammar School Boji-Boji Owa. Continuing, he said students from Staff Model School, Agbor, took first and second positions, while Word of Faith School, Boji-Boji Owa took the third position.
Mr. Usifoh, appealed to the people within the potential oil producing host communities and Kingdom to ensure that any of the oil operating companies do not polarize or arm twist them to their disadvantage and advised that they should consult widely and device a progressive Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with the Company, not third parties, noting that Onu Ika wishes to emphatically recommend a sincere dialogue with the OPL275 operators on the way forward. He further stated that Onu Ika appreciates the concerted efforts of the state government to reduce youth unemployment and frowned at the mass immigration of Ika youths to Libya, Europe and other countries, which the group considers as Voluntary Slavery. To curtail the trend, the group recommended to the Delta state government to consider the option of Kenyan Practice of setting up three tiers of schools of technology. According to the Onu Ika leader, the group also frowned at negative development where prospective and potential developers such as erecting private or commercial building are compelled to pay multiple development fees by our youths. He noted that these developments are unprogressive and restrictive to investments, economic growth and development. Saying, Onu Ika would humbly request that our traditional rulers take a cue from the template of Oba of Benin in initiating and prompting a bill in Edo state that curtail such anti-development and multiple levies. He used the forum to inform the people of Ika land that the Central Bank of Nigeria, has graciously upgraded the Bank of Agriculture which used to be a collection centre in Ika land to a full- fledged branch, disclosing that Onu Ika has incorporated Onu Ika Multi-purpose Cooperative Society in order to harness and mobilize pockets of cooperative societies in Ika land. On behalf of the apex body, Mr. Daniel Usifoh appreciated Governor Ifeanyi Okowa, Ika traditional rulers and all persons who are contributing to the development of Ika land.
Speaking on the theme; “The Paradox of Nomadic Fulani Herdsmen and Host Communities”, the guest lecturer at the event, Professor G. G. Darah, suggested that more scientific solutions should be proffered to the problems of cattle economy in Nigeria. He stated that nomadism by herdsmen is a consequence of the subsistence method of animal husbandry, noting that from the view point of the herdsmen, restriction to open grazing can be interpreted to mean a threat to economic survival. However, the determination of the herdsmen to survive in their economic enterprise does not give them a warranty for destroying the property of others subjecting them to attacks and terrors of arms. He opined that legislative control is the most appropriate approach to ending the crisis. The Ika people have demonstrated their preparedness to be in the Vanguard of the struggle for resource control and federalism raging in Nigeria.
In his address, the the executive governor of Delta State, Senator Dr. Ifeanyi Okowa, thanked Onu Ika for the good works she is doing to develop Ika land. He condemned the exodus migration of Ika youths to Libya and Europe, appealing to Ika traditional rulers to embark on sensitization visits against the menace to different communities in Ika land. He disclosed that the state government is taking the issue of illegal collection of money by youths from developers seriously, as the state house of assembly is already in the process of enacting a law to jail any offender. Speaking on the issue of Fulani herdsmen he said his administration is doing her best to solve the problems of herdsmen in the state; just as he commended the unveiling of the Ika Dictionary which he said will go a long way in preserving and saving Ika language and culture from extinction.
The chairman, House of Representatives Committee on Petroleum (Upstream) and member representing Ika Federal Constituency, Hon. (Barr) Victor Nwokolo, while officially unveiling the Ika Dictionary, thanked Onu Ika and other groups including individuals who voluntarily contributed to the success of the project. He announced a donation of five copies of the dictionary to each of the public schools in Ika land. He called on all Ika sons and daughters but home and abroad to ensure they buy a copy of the dictionary, which according to him will go a long way in helping to preserve Ika language.

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