In today’s update on Ogbadibo politics, we shall beam our searchlight on the battle for Councillorship position and the winding up to the Local Government poll in Ai-Oodo ward I. With its Headquarters in Orido Otukpa, Ai-Oodo Ward I is one ward that comes to mind when the socio-political development of Ogbadibo Local Government is being discussed.
Aside its proximity to the Federal Roads and junctions that link major cities in Nigeria, which exposes the ward to commercial activities, Ai-Oodo Ward I is densely blessed with a lot of natural resources which makes business men and women to beckon on the ward from various locations in the State on daily basis to explore and transact business with the resources. When you mention Ai-Oodo Ward I or Orido Otukpa, one thing that comes to mind is the amount of natural palm wine that could be purchased at the market square in large quantity for commercialization.Apart from the economic endowment, Ai-Oodo Ward I is also blessed with human resources, who have contributed to the social and political development of Ogbadibo LGA, Benue and Nigeria at large.
Prominent among the sons of Ai-Oodo ward I who are making the land proud are Daniel Amokachi (former Nigerian Internationale); Hon. Chief Fab Agada (Former Deputy Provost, College of Education, Oju, former Chairman, Ogbadibo LGC and House of Assembly Aspirant); Hon. Innocent Ogbodo (Former Councillor, former Secretary to the Local Government Council and now Chairman, PDP, Ogbadibo LGA); Dr. A. Onoja (Former Supervisory Councillor, Proprietor Onoja Memorial Secondary School/All Saints School of Health Technology Obu, Director, Abo Clinic); Hon. Daniel Odoh (Former Chairman, Savannah Bank and now Member, NTA Board); Mr. Sunday Itodo (Social Activist, Public Affairs Commentator, Political Analyst and Benue State Coordinator, Nigerian Election Vigilante Organization/Election Vigilante International, USA); among others.
Like every other council ward in Ogbadibo, Ai-Oodo ward I is delineated into 9 polling units, with the following villages as their Headquarters: Igwume, Ipole-Adum, Aikwu, Akpaka-Adum, Ipol- Abo, Akpagodogbo, Ajekpoya, Ipole-Orido and Ago/Ugbamaka.
Traditionally, Ai-Oodo generally is believed to have 3 children, namely, Ai-Oga, Ai-Onoja and Ai-Abah clans. Those clans are found anywhere you see Ai-Oodo people and if anyone claims to have come from Ai-Oodo (Olaoodo), such a person must belong to any of the three clans mentioned.
Ironically, the traditional orientation of Power sharing, political zoning and consideration of political appointments in Ai-Oodo ward I do not follow the pattern as to reflect the 3 clans, unlike in Ai-Oodo ward II. Rather, the political elites decide to resort to the political invention called ‘Orido’ Zone, ‘Abo’ Zone and ‘Adum’ Zone, with all the zones having 3 polling units each.
The rationale behind this ‘political Machination’ is not farfetched. The Proponents of such workable theory are the Ai-Abah Political leaders who felt that their clans are the majority in Ai-Oodo ward I and as such, could not afford to share power equally with their sister clans. Though the youngest among the 3 children of ‘Ododogodo’, Ai-Abah is heavily populated in Ai-Oodo ward I with their Traditional Headquarters at Orido and that is why the Orido Town Hall is sometimes referred to as ‘Ai-Abah Hall’.
In view of their population density in Ai-Oodo ward I, the Ai-Abahs are indigent in all the 3 political zones in the ward and they share from the positions giving to each zone with lion share. Thus, Ai-Abah is leading in the number of political offices from the ward as follows – 4 elected Councillors, 4 Supervisory Councilors, 2 Caretaker Chairmanship, 1 Elected Chairmanship and 1 party (ANPP) Chairmanship at the LGA; the Ai-Ogah clan follows with 1 Elected Councilor, 1 Secretary to the Local Government Council and 1 Chairmanship of party (PDP) at the LGA while the Ai-Onojas only struggled to win a Councillorship seat in the last dispensation.
As usual, I shall briefly x-ray the councillorship rotation in Ai-Oodo ward I since 1999 up to date.
The first Local Government election that was conducted in Ogbadibo in the 4th republic saw the emergence of Engr. Benson Akor (APP) from the Ai-Abah clan. He is from Abo zone. The second LG poll was in 2004 and Hon. Anthony Odoh (PDP) from Orido zone defeated Hon. Joshua Idoko, they are both Ai-Abahs. The latest councillorship election was held on December 27th, 2007 and Hon. Sunday Edoka (PDP) from Ai-Onoja clan in Adum zone emerged the winner, he defeated his cousin brother, Hon. Sunday Amonye (ACN).
Since the last 3 councillorship seats started from Abo zone, moved to Orido zone and culminated at Adum zone, it therefore becomes pure and justly to concede it to Abo zone for a fresh rotation. However, this can only be tenable when the two parties decide to follow the zoning pattern.
In PDP, over 8 Aspirants started the race and prominent among them are Hon. Sunday I.V. Enenche(Former Councilor and Proprietor, Kin’s Queen Int’l College); Mr. Okoliko (Rtd. Headmaster); Engr. Sunday Akor (Principal, Methodist High School, Odoba); Mr. Godwin Apeh (Business Tycoon, Otukpo); Mr. Paul Abutu (PDP Exco member); Hon. Joshua Idoko (Former Councillorship Candidate/Aspirant) and Mr. James Agada (A graduate of Marketing, Benue Poly, Ugbokolo). All of them are from Abo zone.
The leadership of the party in Abo zone met at the instance of Mr. Mark Ogblo, the ward Chairman and eventually zoned it again to Akpaka polling unit. According to the communiqué, Abo zone has 3 polling units and the other 2 units have had their share in the councillorship rotation and it behooves them to concede it to the unit that have not tasted before. This mathematics further pruned the number to 2 (Hon. Joshua Idoko and Mr. James Agada). While Hon. Joshua Idoko is from the Ai-Abah clan, Mr. James Agada is from the Ai-Ogah clan.
The journey therefore began! One major interesting feature of the councillorship contest in Ai-Oodo ward I this year is that, the political atmosphere is relatively cool and tense less, compare to 2007. This may not be unconnected to the fact that, the 2 gentlemen are humble, meek and friendly. It could also be traced to the fact that, the Political Warlords in the ward are not weighing much influence in the choice of Candidate, unlike in 2007, when an unpopular Candidate was forcefully imposed on the people among the 7 Aspirants that bought the party nomination form.
Aside the fact that both Joshua and James are peace-loving and cool-headed gentlemen, they are both religious and God-fearing. In spite of these, the contest has continued unresesolved! Series of meetings have been called and yet no positive result.
Both of them appear to be enjoying the support of the masses. They are well known and very much on ground.
Joshua Idoko is a man of the people; he shot himself into the limelight in 2002 when he slogged it out with the both of Hon. Sunday Itodo (a.k.a. POWERSHIP) and Hon. Daniel Agbo (a.k.a. Bishop) and became the flag bearer of the UNPP but finally lost his bid to the PDP. In 2007, he also engaged the duo of ‘Powershift’ and ‘Bishop’ including 4 others in a bid to pick the PDP ticket but could not succeed. This has given him the edge as a man with political sagacity to upload himself with the required effrontery for the poll.
James Agada on his own part has endeared himself to the heart of the youths and the elders due to his socio-cultural activities. He was elected the Och’Otukpa by the National Association of Otukpa Students, Benue State Polytechnic Chapter, Ugbokolo in 2009. A Secretary-General of Abo Youth Association, Mr. James Agada became the Acting Village Head (Ijachi/Igango) of Akpaka Village in early 20s when his father died. This brought him closer to the elders and made him to be more versatile and well armed with the socio-cultural and political canon of the area.
The Socio-political antecedents of both Aspirants have made the two of them hopefuls. All entreaties have been made for them to step down for each other but to no avail.
Meanwhile, a meeting was held last weekend at Abo and it was arranged that Mr. James Agada be adopted as the sole Candidate from Abo and should be presented to the Leadership of the party at Orido on Saturday, 1st September, 2012. Their argument sounds that, since he is of the Ai-Ogah extraction, he should be considered because Ai-Abah clan has been dominating the councillorship from the ward. The meeting also resolved that, should Hon. Joshua Idoko refuses to abide by the dictates of the said meeting, the 17 exco members should be made to run a preliminary for the 2 Aspirants.
The argument might be as heavy as trailer laden stones and that might have pre-empted James Agada to go to Makurdi to pick the party nomination form at the rate of N200, 000.00 on Tuesday.
However, a fresh report has it that, some leaders of Ai-Abah clan rose from a meeting yesterday (Thursday) and adopted Hon. Joshua Idoko as their own Candidate and decided to present him at the Saturday’s meeting in Orido. The conveners of the Thursday’s meeting argued that, since Ai-Ogah is going to emerge as a Councilor from Ai-Oodo ward II, the clan of Ai-Abah shall be left fallow if they allow Ai-Ogah to go from Ai-Oodo ward I. They also argued that, Hon Joshua, being a senior contestant, must have lost so many things into politics and as such, be compensated.
Experiences have shown that, should they result into conducting a preliminary for the both Aspirants by the 17 exco members, James Agada stands the chance of winning the preliminary. Reasons, James Agada has been a member of the PDP exco since 1998 and as such, he may have engraved himself on his co-executive members. Secondly, he appears to be enjoying the favour of the Top shots in the ward and those top shots control the excos.
Though it is only James Agada that picked the form, Joshua’s decision to pick the form shall be borne from the outcome of Saturday’s meeting in Orido. Should he pick the form, it shall surely end up in primaries.
On the other side, the ACN appears to be studying the loopholes of the PDP for a proper repositioning. Research carried out shows that, the party has only one Aspirant. Though it is being rumoured that the party may sponsor an Aspirant from Abo zone to match the zoning formula of the PDP, from the look of things, Mr. John Okoh remains the only ACN Aspirant from Orido zone.
John Okoh is an Alumni of Benue State polytechnic, Ugbokolo. He is a very powerful ACN supporter who led the party into victory in Orido polling unit during the National Assembly election last year. He also exemplified his doggedness last year when he prevailed upon his uncle to withdraw the tenancy given to the PDP for the usage of his house as party office in Orido. This made the PDP to relocate its ward secretariat in Orido.
Information reaching us has shown that, a popular Abuja based Activist of Orido extraction popular known as ‘The Prince of Orido Kingdom’ and an un-repented ACN loyalist based in Abuja, Barr. Ikwuoche have vowed to come and lend their support to the ACN during election.
Both men were instrumental to the success of ACN in Ipole Orido and Akpagodogbo polling units during the last year general elections in Ai-Oodo I. If John Okoh does not have any rival from the ACN, it then means that he shall remain un-opposed and wait to meet whoever comes from the PDP at the general election, come November 24th.
As the leadership of PDP meets this weekend to finalize the candidature of either Joshua Idoko or James Agada, will both camps fulfill their threats of counter-adoption? Will either of them accept the presentation of the other? If it eventually enters the primaries, who shall likely pick the party ticket?
Your guess is as good as mine, enjoy!
Change, change all the way.