Once Upon A Time In Okpokwu Local Government
Okpokwu local government is the second oldest local government area in Idomaland. Okpoga, the headquarters is like a sculpture cast in bronze relief, never changing, though roughened at the edges by relentless drone of time. There is nothing which shows the absence of a government in that land like the local government secretariat itself.
It is derelict, a symbol of stagnation. It is desolate beyond recognition. Grasses have taken over the perimeter of the fence and the walls are falling.
The guest lodge built by the Comrade Abba Moro led administration is nothing but a shadow of its own architectural design. The administrative offices in the local government are like long forgotten relic of a bygone era. The local government has failed to maintain the loci of administration and as well relegating their onus to the people of Okpokwu to the background. The tone for this decadence was set by political godfathers and administrators, who are interested in nothing, other than staking in the polity of the local government for self aggrandizement. The government owned schools are crumbling; the general hospital has become a meeting point for animals, with the mortuary as the only functional unit. The roads are dilapidated and unattended to and access to pipe borne water remains a figment of our own imagination.
What we have seen thus far, is a council marred by negligence of the highest order. Except for the few projects that were carried out by the then Abba Moro led administration, subsequent leaderships have become subservient and complacent. The Anna Itodo tenure which started a face-lift was also short lived.
In the recent past, governance of the local government was administered either from Abuja or overseas as some of the persons who bestrode the affairs of the council like colossus are hardly on ground to feel the plights and yearnings of our people. Indeed, our people have witnessed nothing but an unmitigated disaster where the relative peace and unity among constituent villages have become volatile and indiscriminate killings and insecurity have become the order of the day.
Leadership is a trust and the masses especially the youths must demand for the collective benefit accrued to it. Okpokwu is not poor but was impoverished by leaders who succeeded in inflicting stone-age harm on us. Our people have been blindfolded by some sets of godfathers including illiterates who lord themselves as party chieftains and elders. Over the years, they have succeeded in imposing their off springs or loyalists in council polls as ward councilors, chairmen or caretaker chairmen. Participants at campaign rallies and elections do not decide who leads but the wrappers, salt, maggi, two cups of rice, crates of beer at the popular Nnamdi Joint and offering monies they are being offered does the work.
Another round of local government elections are here again. Political parties and their respective candidates have continued to meander ways with mouth watering promises just to control the soul of our dear Okpokwu Local Government. Times and events are indeed changing and our people are getting more enlightened. Gone should be the days when our collective patrimony is sacrificed for a bit of morsel! Our local government must be set on the part of greatness and that fate lies nowhere else but in our decisions and conscientious votes.
Our politicians must respect the voice of the people, because ultimately, it is the voice of God. They should allow the process to be entirely democratic. We must rise above party sentiments and elect our next chairman based on credibility and competence; someone who believes in our collective aspirations as a people. There is a need for that ‘unity of purpose’. We must enthrone good governance in Okpokwu as that alone can guarantee the wellbeing and future of our people at the grassroots. Our youths must resist being used as puns and strive to save our local government from this hazardous situation.We owe ourselves and the next generation, to correct these anomalies and reposition Okpokwu local government for greater achievements among her contemporaries.
God bless Okpokwu local government!
God bless Benue State!!
God bless Nigeria!!!
Comrade Omaga Elachi Daniel is the Public Relations Officer, Idoma
Elite Club, Worlwide.