By OBI CHIEJILE/SUNDAY EGEDE
Governor Emmanuel Uduaghan has called on the people of Ika ethnic nationality in Delta State to use the ‘Ogwa Ika’ as a platform for the promotion of unity, understanding and love among themselves.
The governor made the call in a goodwill message to the 14th ‘Ogwa Ika’ (annual gathering of Ika people) and 13th ‘Ika Ka Mma’ annual lecture held at the weekend at the Ika National Hall, Agbor.
Represented by the Chief of Staff, Government House, Asaba, Dr. Festus Okubor, Uduaghan noted that the call had become necessary in view of “some worrisome developments within Ika land.”
His words: “There is growing intra-community differences and kidnapping in the area. With the annual gathering of Ika people, differences should be narrowed and better understanding firmly pursued.
“Methods of making youths in Ika to engage in more purposeful and productive ventures and becoming watchdogs of good conduct among themselves should be worked out while elders in individual communities could have a mechanism to leverage on this unity that ‘Ogwa Ika’ and ‘Ika Ka Mma’ annual lecture are all geared to attain.”
He urged Onu Ika Nigeria, organisers of the programme, not to relent in their efforts at promoting socio-cultural, economic, environmental and educational development of Ika land in particular and the nation in general.
“The theme of this year’s lecture ‘Environmental Degradation: The Need to Pep up Standards for the Ika People’ is quite appropriate as it is in tandem with the environmental programme of our human capital agenda.
“You (Onu Ika Nigeria) are in a vintage position to lead the advocacy for change of attitude towards deleterious environmental practices among our people,” Uduaghan said.
The governor said he was drawn to this year’s lecture because of his special interest in climate issues.
In his remarks, chairman of the occasion, Chief Andrew Nwadike, stressed the need for a symbiotic relationship between Onu Ika Nigeria and the political class from Ika land, adding that such synergy would make for mutual inclusiveness.
Nwadike applauded members of the group for their resilience and commitment to sustainable socio-economic and political development of Ika land.
Earlier in his welcome address, head of the collective leadership of Onu Ika Nigeria, Mr. Daniel Usifoh, said the body had resolved to resuscitate the dying Ika language as one of the strategies to reinforce the unity of Ika people and clarify their opaque identity among the Anioma people and the Nigeria nation at large.
Usifoh who spoke on a number of strategic focuses of Onu Ika Nigeria, called for the reactivation of animal rearing and the planting of economic trees in Ika.
He cautioned against the double-edge effects of crude oil and gas exploration, urging the people of Ika nation to be more security conscious.