Culture & Tradition

Ogori Ovia Osese 2023: The Glory, The Shame, The Way Forward

OLA ‘KIYA, who was at the 2023 Ovia Osese Festival of the Ogori people, reports on the glory, the glamour and the shame that characterised the age-long, unifying subcode.

Ogori Ovia Osese 2023: The Glory, The Shame, The Way Forward

Ivia Egben at Civic Centre

RATHER than worry about, and perhaps, find a way to return the only financial institution, runaway FirstBank PLC, to the drifting community, and address numerous endemic challenges plaguing them, two brothers – Enidede and Onumodede – both blessed with brilliant, successful and eminent sons and daughters at home and across the globe, shredded apart the only, seeming remaining chord of unity – the annual Ogori Ovia Osese Festival on the platter of hate and ego.

Ogori Ovia Osese 2023: The Glory, The Shame, The Way Forward

Mainstream ivia during initiation into womanhood at Civic Centre

Ogori, in Ogori-Magongo Local Government Area of Kogi State, is bleeding, and as some will put it, dying by instalments. Amid internal and eternal traducers inching in from the Okene axis and eating up fertile, ancient Ogori lands from the Obehira axis ably aided by their monarch, to the Akoko Edos of Ososo, Ekpe and Lampese contesting some chunks of lands, albeit crudely from the Southern axis, the two brothers of the same umbilical chord, who should know better, are on each other’s throat over who should, unremuneratedly, oversee the initiation festival that has attained a global recognition ahead of their contemporaries.

Call it a voodoo (spell) at work, as some are wont to adduce it, you may be right as one is left to question why two siblings will go for each other’s jugular when the biblical “medianites” are eating up their crops and confiscating their ancestral heritage, and when their space has been boxed to an obscure corner with no secure and motorable roads in and out of the community except via Magongo.

Dateline was Saturday April 22, 2023 – a day even the ancestors and other cosmic forces of the homogeneous land including mystical Omonenyen, Agada and Odiobo – knew it was earmarked for the grand finale of the weeklong rite of passage that’d see the official initiation of fresh, innocent, pure and undefiled maidens into womanhood after which befitting suitors can place their order for their marital future. It is believed that Ovia Osese Festival, which survival is now under threat, is one of the reasons good, well-bred women of worthy ‘wife materials’ abound in the Small Jerusalem harbouring an array of professors. The ritual festival, among others, helps in enhancing the spiritual, social, cultural, moral and economic growth of the people, whose passion, dedication, devotion and enthusiasm have kept faith in preserving it for generations and offering it as annual offering to the Nigeria and the world.

Ogori Ovia Osese 2023: The Glory, The Shame, The Way Forward

Factional ivia of Onu at Ogori Central Market, Aiyeromi

But shameless shame took some flight on the altar of primordial egos a fortnight ago as the two rival clans of Onu and Eni, for short, went their separate ways to prosecute their Oke initiation performances in separate Oyaras (arenas)! It was an ignoble experience! This writer was headed from Aiyeromi and was a stone throw away from the house of the great Jegede (Odaibo) on the said day when he sighted two colourful processions headed on two opposite directions. Very strange! It’s a metaphor of the fat and lean cows in biblical Pharaoh’s dream! The mainstay procession, comprising the Ekekaros (Title chiefs), the Iyodina, Chief Mrs Oluwatoyin Iyela (Eyisinayo III), Ivia (maidens), Ivia Egben (little maidens) and a crowd were headed towards Oyara (Civic Centre) while a scantily adorned Ivia Egben and Ivia as well as three or four relatively elderly women, with some ladies, one of them in a pair of jeans trousers trotting the Okitoroko harp from the rear, were seen herding the procession towards Aiyeromi for their performance at a market sited in front of the National Open University (NOUN), said to be the Ogori Central Market that’s hardly functional. The ambience was charged as onlookers held their heads in grief, with fingers tucked in their mouths to behold the somewhat sacrilege and ignominy befalling their land of birth and promise.

Ogori Ovia Osese 2023: The Glory, The Shame, The Way Forward

Iyodina Alebi of Onu (right) at Ogori Central Market Aiyeromi

A Tale Of Two Iyidina

The most recent bone of contention orchestrating the attempt to balkanize the subculture, as gathered, besides the unresolved perennial kingship tussle, is who should be addressed and take the lead as the Iyodina of Ogoriland between Chief Mrs Iyela (Eyisinayo III) and Chief Janet Soje (Alebi). The Iyodina, by custom, as the traditional Minister of Women Affairs, in addition, heads the Iyodina School where the Ivia maidens are groomed on domestic chores, vocational and leadership skills as well as how to nurture infants. The Iyodina, as a senior chief, has assistants, or what some claimed are equals, from the other clans. It was gathered that before the festival attained a global recognition, it was performed at the level of household, families, clans or quarters in Ogori. As a result, some households were said to have had their Iyidina who oversaw the nurturing of their qualified maidens even before enrollment in the proper Ovia Osese initiation festival. After the harmonisation of the ceremony into a Pan-Ogori Ovia Osese in later years, the ladies were usually handed over to the Iyodina in charge of each clan who eventually led them to the Oyara for the grand finale.

Ogori Ovia Osese 2023: The Glory, The Shame, The Way Forward

Iyodina Eyisinayo III (right) presenting gifts to each Ovia at Civic Centre

Grouse(s) Of Onu Quarters

The Onu clan, arguably far lettered, cosmopolitan and Yorubanised, did not just package, differently, their Saturday April 22, Ovia Osese Festival grand finale without reasons. Leaders of the clan are said to be opposed to having Iyodina Eyisinayo III superintending as senior Iyodina over Chief Janet Alebi of Onu. This claim was on the lips of former classmates whom this writer had an encounter with. Their claims were equally subjective, tending towards their clan. One boycotted the Civic Centre on the day in spite of his prominence in organising the event

Ogori Ovia Osese 2023: The Glory, The Shame, The Way Forward

Onu Council of Chiefs at Ogori Central Market

However, several other narratives, as regards this current Iyodina leadership tussle, are gone to the streets, and are laced with unfounded primordial sentiments depending on which divide the authors belong. A school of thought said Iyodina Alebi (whom they said should ordinarily be assisting and taking the shots from Iyodina Eyisinayo III) was allegedly ignored and disdained at a previous Ovia Osese Festival in favour of Iyodina Eyisinayo whom they also described as allegedly “buying” the position because of her privileged social status. Another school of thought said Iyodina Alebi is not even qualified to emerge as Iyodina in the first instance, being relatively lettered. This was, however, debunked in a hurried publication sold at the factional Onu Oyara with the title: “Historical Facts on Iyodina of Ogoriland (Alebi descendants),” which claimed that Chief Soje is a direct descendant of the progenitor of Iyodina Alebi – Madam Omokaiye. Some other street vibes said Iyodina Alebi, a Grade Two holder, lacks the requisite clout and exposure to hold such position though she possesses the cultural nuances and vast in the tradition of Ovia Osese Festival.

Speaking on the debacle, Pastor Flourish Atoju, an Abuja-based, culture enthusiast cleric of Ogori descent, described the development as strange and unacceptable, just as he couldn’t really lay hands on the actual reason for the division.

“I am perhaps witnessing this episode of Ovia celebration in two different Oyaras in my time, but someone told me, it’s not actually the first time.
“I don’t think the founding fathers of Ogori really envisaged a moment like this will come.

“I was told that some letters were written to the ODU and they was not honoured. I am not privy to the letter(s), in fact, I am hearing for the first time Saturday that there was a letter.
I think to my mind that was the genesis of the problem.
But to me, there might be some underlining issues that may not be clear now,” he conjectured.

Ace Eregba minstrel, Stephen Odina, who shared his thoughts with Stonix News shortly after the festival, expressed optimism the imbroglio will be resolved.

“Hmmm my brother, it is unfortunate that we found ourselves in this mess. The ODU begged the Onu people not to have their separate arena for the Ovia. They initially agreed, but later declined due to the directive from Iyodina Alebi. By God’s grace, the problem will be resolved before the next Ovia,” he hoped.

Meanwhile, in the programme pamphlet of the Onu’s grand finale titled: “Ogori Ovia Osese Festival (Onu Clan)” held at Ogori Central Market, it is stated that since Otaro of Adubane clan is recognised as the head of all other title chiefs in Ogori, according to Bawa Akerejola in page 45 of his pioneering book, History of Ogori, it’s logical that Iyodina of Adubane should be accorded the leading role in women affairs.

Expressing their anger in somewhat derogatory innuendoes, the organisers of the Onu version in the brochure, said: “Drum beats of superiority of Eni’s Iyodina Eyisinayo, which is totally baseless in history, culture and tradition of Ogori, are getting louder by the day since the Oviya Osese ceremony of 2021 when Chief Oluwatoyin Iyela (Nee Aiyegbusi) was coronated as the Iyodina Eyisinayo, Eni.

“This cleavage must not be allowed for the sake of peace in Ogori. She was installed by Eni clan on Thursday and that year’s Oviya Osese was celebrated two days later on Saturday. And that occasion’s brochure packaged by Eni handlers already had her seated as an empress belching out pontifical decrees. Not accidental. Curious. History won’t repeat itself. This has to be checked by the wisdom of Onu clan.”

The Ovia Grand Finale At Onu’s Oyara

This writer, after taking some shots of the two rival processions at Aiyetoro, headed for the Oyara opposite NOUN at Aiyeromi to behold the drama ahead. It should be noted that as early as 9:00a.m, some giant speakers had been mounted with music blaring from them to possibly attract passersby. A few cars were seen taking positions in front of NOUN while some others were parked by the arena and people seated under some canopies mounted for the occasion. It was gathered that the factional grand finale was hurriedly put together just in three days, perhaps to prove a point that Iyodina Alebi, who was installed some 12 years ago, should rightly take the lead as regards Owiya (Ovia) festival and other women affairs based on historical facts. This is somewhat evident in the event’s souvenir containing the programmes which is replete with some avoidable grammatical and typographical blunders! A thesis supposedly written by the author of Ogori Miscellany, Chief Dr SE Mosugu, argued in favour of Chief Soje as the authentic Iyodina based on genealogical submissions.

The arena also appeared unprepared for such magnitude of cultural contestation. At a finger count, the Ivia maiden, whose names are in the publication of the mainstream Oyara holding at the Civic Centre, were nine and displayed like wares in the open in one of the market stalls as if for sale! A classmate has two of the maidens to be initiated into womanhood. A perusal of the programme souvenir of the mainstream grand finale at the Civic Centre, showed that names of these maidens preparing for the final lap of the initiation ritual were also found there. At the factional Oyara at Aiyeromi, the Ivia Egben or Ibusike, obviously excited as children are wont to, were about 20 and seated under a canopy in the hot weather.

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Civic Centre

Shockingly, some members of Onu Council of Chiefs, led by HRH David Ojo Akande, the Otaro Idu of Ogoriland, were at the factional occasion. Prominent among the very leaders of the Ogori community is erudite and most prominent figure of the Mosugu dynasty, Chief Dr SE Mosugu and of course, Chief Soje (Iyodina Alebi). Anchoring the event as Master of Ceremony under the scorching sun, was a learned fellow, Mr Ebenezer Aimola, whose several remarks betrayed the bad blood that necessitated the gathering. He boasted before the gathering that various national print and broadcast stations were in attendance to draw the bile to the world to taste. Whereas, none of such, not even ubiquitous online and social media influencers, could be sighted except one or two privately contrived photographers and videographers, whom told our reporter, in amusement, that he was perplexed by the development in the community while being contracted to do the job.

However, the disputation over the Iyidina scuffle leading to the seeming unhealthy factional congregation at the Onu Oyara would not debar them from taking the National and Ogori anthems, it would not prevent them from taking an opening prayer in the name of Jesus Christ, who’s no author of confusion and God’s love personified; it would not stop the prayer merchant to throw some spiritual jabs at some perceived enemies against their gathering. Some side talks listened to at the Oyara, which had men of the Nigeria Police in attendance to provide security, betrayed some deep-seated animosity among the two clans. With the Nigeria National Anthem and that of Ogori rendered after the religious prayers, the Ivia Egben were marched to the centre for their performance. In far less than three hours, the exuberance fuelling the event began to wane and in no time, the gathering fizzled out. And the barefooted Ivia Egben were to be later sighted scattered and headed, albeit shepherdless, from the gully-erosion-ridden road of Satellite Town at about 8:00p.m. Quick findings revealed that the girls were emerging from Iyodina Alebi’s abode at the new site.

The Ovia Grand Finale At Civic Centre

The procession of Ivia Egben, Ivia (maidens), Ivia Wiya, Iyodina and the Ekekaros (title chiefs) and others from the Iyodina abode at Aiyetoro terminated at the Civil Centre for the grand finale to commence proper. Like it was at Onu Oyara, dane guns boomed intermittently to herald the grand finale. Ogoris love and enjoy feasting. Their local “ade” (brew from guniea corn) and some modern liquor, stimulate the fun and conviviality.

As such, dignitaries from all walks of life graced the occasion. Some were represented. They included representative of Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State. Also on ground were Acting Chairman of Ogori Magongo Local Government Area, members of the Ogori Traditional Council, and members and executives of the Ogori Descendants Union (ODU) led by the President, Engr. Gbemi Omole, among others. Tagged: “Ogori Week & Annual Ovia Osese Festival 2023,” with the theme: “Ovia Osese: Our Opportunity for a United Ogori,” several events characterised the occasion. They included rallies by ODU branches across the globe, spiced with Eregba performances by the Ijeda Eregba Group and Tibile Eregba Group led by Sumbo Ayodele and Stephen Odina respectively. Iyare’sen (women dance) were not left out. Pieces of songs performed by the ensembles further delineated Eregba as a popular music which borders on contemporary happenings in the society. So, the Onu Oyara phenomenon, which dampened the morale of the unity of purpose among the people, was topical in some improvised songs dropped during the performances. Sumbo, in his usual ululating rendition that pricked the hearts of Ogori elders and leaders, warned against nonchalance and inertia amid proverbial stones being thrown at breakable “mirrors” by egbennikeke (little children) which could shatter ugbegbe (mirrors) at any moment.

No fewer than 80 Ivia (maidens) from 46 families of various Christian denominations underwent the Oke initiation festival. It is significant to state that the exact number and names of the successful Ivia (maidens) were produced in both brochures of the factional and mainstream, ODU-organised Ovia Osese Festival held at the Civic Centre.

In the brochure of the mainstream Ovia Osese Festival at the Civic Centre which also contained a goodwill message from the General Manager/CEO of the National Theatre, Lagos, Professor Sunday Enessi Ododo, photos of all the chiefs, including the two contending Iyidina, who were both addressed as the Iyidina of Ogoriland, appeared, copiously, side by side including their speeches. Beautiful photos of members of the traditional council were not exempted. While a few others said to be pitching their tents with Onu Clan’s factional decision, boycotted the mainstream Ovia Osese Festival grand finale, a few of members of the Ogori Council of Chiefs stood for a united Ogori and did not waver by being at the Oyara. Leading the pack was the renowned economist, Professor Odama, who arrived very early before other traditional chiefs at the Oyara and remained till the end of the event. A handful of youths from Onu clan were present. Mr Mike Alao from Onu, who is the Chairman of ODU (Education and Culture Committee), was at the venue and even presented his speech during the well-attended grand finale of the festival.

In her elegant speech at the occasion, the Iyodina Eyisinayo III, while drawing his message from Mark chapter 3, verse 23 of the Holy Scriptures, warned against dividing Ogori along clannish lines. “It’s my firm belief, without any equivocation, that a community divided will not endure for long and cannot be in the purview of any sustained development.

“I do not expect our city to fall as I do pray fervently that it will cease to be divided. History has sufficiently signalled to us that empires and kingdoms that fell and faded away had disunity and rancour festering, but masquerading as divergent views on culture and traditions at the degenerative phases of their decline,” Chief Aiyegbusi-Iyela, who prayed against untimely deaths among youths, averred.

Pontificating on the global theme of unity and peace, Iyodina Alebi’s speech, which she was not available to deliver at the Civic Centre (having opted for the factional Oyara), but was published in the brochure with her portrait, also enjoined all Ogori sons and daughters to work towards the two necessary ingredients for a communal harmony.

"The deed is done, but a repeat should not be allowed; we should not wait till the next Ovia before we start voicing out if not, we will only make noise and join in the dirty mud fight again and again. I am an Ogorian,"

“It’s imperative for me at this juncture to ask for continued peace and unity in Ogoriland. We are brothers and sisters, this we must not allow our little differences to divide us.

“We have one Ogori and we must strive towards that. Indeed, we do not have another land to go to. I plead with all of Ogoriland both home and abroad to see Ogori as a project,” Chief Mrs Soje charged.

Professor Adodo, in his terse
“Goodwill Message to Ogori People on Ovia Osese, 2023,”
he tasked Ogorians to continue to treasure and preserve the cultural heritage.

“On the occasion of Ovia Osese Festival 2023, I am thrilled to express my sincere admiration for the unique cultural rite of passage into adulthood for girls and women that this festival represents. It is a rare and treasured tradition not just in Nigeria, but around the world.

“At the National Theatre, we understand the significance of preserving, promoting, and presenting heritage, which is why we are proud to be associated with the Ovia Osese Festival.

“We are delighted to see the passion, dedication, enthusiasm, and colourful ambience the people of Ogori bring to this important task.

Ogori Ovia Osese 2023: The Glory, The Shame, The Way Forward

Ibusike (Ivia Egben) of Onu at Ogori Central Market

Ogori Ovia Osese 2023: The Glory, The Shame, The Way Forward

Civic Centre building

“We recognize that the perpetuation of our heritage can only be achieved when we all work as a collective, and we are happy to see the people of Ogori Land come together to share their culture with the rest of Nigeria and the world,” he enthused.

With these soothing calls for unity and peace as ingredients for development in Ogoriland coming from the erudite professor and the two Iyidina, bewildered youths, having witnessed the show of shame with the enactment of the Ovia Osese Festival grand finale at two different venues, wondered why those operative words attributed to the duo were not activated, when it mattered most, to halt the drifting of Ogori to the parlous precipice. They accused Iyodina Alebi of preaching love and unity, yet acted contrarily to her profession. To what extent did Iyodina Eyisinayo III push to persuade the breakaway faction from making good their threats on a day the prying eyes of the cosmic world were fixed on Ogori?

Glorious Eve Of Ovia Osese Grand Finale

Amid the gloom that was setting ahead of the Saturday admixture of ignominy and nobility, the eve of the festival, which was Friday April 21, was a somewhat silver lining as groups of all ages embarked on a rally which took off from Akpafa, the headquarters of Ogori Magongo Local Government Area, at about 9:30a.m. Though this reporter missed the colourful event by the whiskers as he was still on the way to Ogori, clips of the procession revealed some synergy across board. The procession, of about a kilometre stretch from Akpafa down to Eni before terminating at the Civic Centre, featured the Ibusikes led by Mrs Deborah Osiyi Jemitola, Eregba groups with the prominence of Ezu and Obadare, as well as representatives of ODU branches in luminous attires, singing, dancing and having fun. At this nostalgically historic moment, there appeared no discrimination between Onu and Eni clans as the youth took the centre stage with enthusiasm, actively participating and promoting their cultural heritage and chord of unity. The entire Ogoriland was practically agog with no noticeable sign of any antipathy among the people though it was later gathered that the Onu had earlier mooted the idea of having their separate rally – an idea that didn’t fly in some quarters. The rally, however, did not interfere with the house to house visit of friends and well-wishers to homes with registered Ivia for refreshments. Such scene was sighted at the Ologunja family at Eni when this reporter arrived Ogori at about 11:00a.m. Folks had gathered, entertained with Eregba vibes, felicitating with Mr and Mrs Olu Joachim Orire who had six Ivia celebrants in their kitty.

The Age-long Obin (Kingship) Debacle

A thorny issue that often raises embers of fury, the unanswered and unresolved Obin (kingship) question, has seen to the retrogression of Ogoriland. Some are quick to wave off the reduced significance of traditional rulers in post colonial era, truth still remains that the grassroots cohesion, security, peace and prosperity witnessed in most communities in Africa nay Nigeria are copious products of quality communal leadership drawn from the traditional stool. Kingdoms and communities now ensure educated, well-ttavelled and connected individuals ascend the royal thrones of their forbears who can stand tall among the comity of kingdoms. The current 38-year-old Olu of Warri Kingdom is an example of this new trend. Within a year of his coronation, the glory of his throne has hovered across the globe starting from his maiden speech as king. The Itsekiri are the better for it when Ogiame Atuwatse III bagged the Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic (CFR) from President Muhammadu Buhari – a feat that was unprecedented!

Whereas, a peep into the present state of Ogori with its current state of “headlessness” will draw tears of regrets from any one with a sense of history of the prospects of Ogorians and Ogori in the comity of their neighbours.

Truth be told; while at individual level, folks appear erecting edifices, riding on SUVs, and acquiring lands, unfortunately at the collective or communal level, Ogori is on life support. Unlike in the past, today there’s no single commercial bank, the only General Hospital wears the shadow of itself. The untarred road to the only seeming abandoned community’s secondary school, Community Comprehensive High School (CCHS), which itself is begging for state government’s support, is taken over by gully erosion. Ogori lands gradually being grabbed by neighbours is not unconnected with the headless state of the community whose king is the primary custodian of the lands in trust for his people.

Disenchanted Stephen Odina, popularly known as Ezu, whose songs on April 22 at the mainstream Oyara, were also laced with warnings against destroying Ovia Osese, the only thread binding Ogori together on the altar of ego trip, averred that the situation is amenable if the few leaders behind the Ologori debacle are ready to move the people forward by resolving, permanently, the kingship stalemate.

The Ologori stool is a thorny one this writer may decide not to delve into as a final judgement on which quarter between Eni and Onu is the true custodian of the monarchy of Ogori, is being awaited at the Supreme Court of Nigeria.

It is believed that the Iyodina tussle is a smokescreen of the contentious royal stool that has remained unoccupied in the past years. It’s conjectured to be the reason true unity, peace and development are eluding the community whose volume of intellectuals dwarfs those of their neighbours from time immemorial.

Ogori Youths Congregate On Social Media

With activism on nosedive, most Ogori youths, displeased with the fortnight impropriety by a select elders, headed for the social media to ventilate their angst. Mr Jemitola Princewill Osigobin, an Eregba griot, on his Facebook wall, dropped a soul-searching post that got others commenting for and against.

“If your mission is to mislead the youth with the fallacy you called history, ekpikpen (ancestors) will judge you; no power or charm can save you from karma. I just de laugh, the Ote (enmity) is so strong that even religion and intellect couldn’t conquer it! it’s sad,” the leading music icon, who is said to share family ties with both Eni and Onu, declared.

In response, one Femi Akadi Mosugu charged the youth to be the change agent that should alter the narrative by not following the hate trajectory of the elders benefitting from the imbroglio.

He said: “it is time for us Ogori youth to come to the knowledge that this kingship thing is more of a personal interest than of a community interest, and until the youth sit and come up with a solution, peace and unity will not reign because I don’t see any reason why an Ogorian will be in a position to help Ogori sons and daughters and the next question will “where are you from in Ogori.”

“They want to know if you are Onu or Eni because one of the clans doesn’t want to help his enemy, yet we marry each other; we are not enemies; if you wish to know, Dr Mosugu’s sister’s child married Prof. Akerejola’s child and they are all leaving in peace – the two families relate on phone very well without our knowledge and yet we are here killing ourselves because of the kingship and Ogori history.

Ogori Ovia Osese 2023: The Glory, The Shame, The Way Forward

Women group at Civic Centre

“We all can’t say if it is true or not because any report we receive from third person can and will be altered. Please, let the youth of Ogori think and stop this nonsense because we are stronger united than when we are divided, and we must not give non-Ogorians space to divide us.”

One Amadosi Alao said: “Any attempt to remix or dilute our rich culture and traditions shall be resisted; you can fight for whatever you think it’s your right through legal means, but any attempt to politicize our cultural values (especially Ovia Osese Festival) by anyone will result in shame for those involved.”

According to him, the primordial hatred has irretrievably flowed from the elders to the younger generation. “My brother, the youths are more filled with the ote (hatred) than the fathers and I think we should fight that with everything we have because Ogori is for us all, and secondly the earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof. No man created any land; we are all strangers here on earth one day we will leave the Ogori or position we so much wanted and are killing ourselves for,” he warned.

For Omolaiye Lucky David, there’s the need for Ogori youths to meet urgently, saying “we demand a public apology from the elders and leaders of Ogori.”

Deborah Osiyi Jemitola, an active participant from Onu by birth, who led the Ibusike during the Friday rally of the festival, would not buy into the proliferation of Ovia Osese on clannish lines, declaring: “I stand for Ogori, not for Onu or Eni; maybe we start marking the register from me and if you have any reason why you feel I have taken sides, speak now or forever remain silent. We have one Ogori, one Oyara, one ODU. any other thing na play.”

Speaking on the missed chance of not registering their displeasure when the iron was hot, Atola Moses, while responding to a question by
Jemitola Princewill Osigobin, chided the youths for not being proactive.

“The day of the grand finale would have been the best time for the youth to register our feelings by way of peaceful protest, but to even mobilize us that day became an uphill task.

“Why, because majority of us were busy defending the supremacy of each divide and those who are not standing guard for this selfishness, were busy with how to get drunk from tasking.

“The deed is done, but a repeat should not be allowed; we should not wait till the next Ovia before we start voicing out if not, we will only make noise and join in the dirty mud fight again and again. I am an Ogorian,” he averred.

Ogori Ovia Osese 2023: The Glory, The Shame, The Way Forward

Women group at Civic Centre

Way Forward

Like Nigerians jettison ethnicity while out of the shores of Nigeria, Ogorians don’t beef themselves when out of the shores of Ogoriland. Why when at home? Since the animosity has lingered for long, notable elders, who are chiefs, whose names are constantly on the lips of most Ogorians as regards the impasse, should take the lead in resolving the lingering dispute.

Proffering solutions in this line, Stephen Odina said, “We know the people who can confidently put a stop to the lingering crisis. Unless the ODU confronts them, there can’t be any headway to install an Ologori. We all know this.

“Chief (Dr) Mosugu and Prof Akerejola are prominent personalities in Ogori. They have what it takes to broker peace and unite Ogorians towards the realisation of an Ologori in Ogori community.

Ogori Ovia Osese 2023: The Glory, The Shame, The Way Forward

Sumbo

“It will interest you to know that both personalities are in-laws.”

For Pastor Atoju, cultural enthusiast and Founder of Spring of Grace Assembly, Abuja, the heavens should be placated for peace and unity to reign.

“I call on all sons and daughters of Eni Dede, Onu Dede to declare a day for general fasting and prayers just like Ezra did, so that we can seek the right way for ourselves and our children. Oko eke be ituba aka itogba.

“The way forward is that all “warring” factions must sheathe their swords and embrace peace, not even for themselves, but for our children and those yet unborn,” he averred.

Last Line…….

A popular African proverb says “When two brothers fight to death, a stranger inherits their property.” As of today, Ogori appears dying by instalments: no good roads, no well-equipped hospital, no social amenities like public water, scores of youths are unemployed and are being lured into taking solace in vices such as mind-bending substances, no banks, no industries, no provision for modern day methods of farming amid expanse of arable lands. Neighbours of Igbirra extraction from Obehira axis are taking over Ogori lands, ditto for Ososo and Ekpe axis of Akoko Edo, unity and cohesion are at the lowest ebb, yet the two brothers are at each other’s throat over who calls the shots as the traditional ruler. Besides the Supreme Court expediting action in the Obin case, if true conciliation must be arrived at, the youths across Enidede and Onumodede, may have to take up the gauntlet by calling their elders and leaders to order, insisting the right thing should be done by returning Ogori on the right path of progress for the benefit of generations unborn. If Ogori must begin to “gega no tare fene” (blast rocks with words) again as it used to be, to “gega” and halt death of influential youths, to “gega” and reclaim encroached lands, to “gega” and end underdevelopment, and the like, Ogori must resolve, albeit hurriedly, with concessions, to fix the kingship debacle once and for all. Nothing less will help!

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