Ex-lawmaker tasks Benue people on unity, peace
By EricJames Ochigbo
Dr Francis Agbo, a former member of the House of Representatives, has urged the people of Benue to peacefully coexist and be united for the rapid development of the state.
Agbo, a member of the 9th Assembly, made the call in a statement issued after the 2023 ‘Igede Agbaa New Yam’ festival on Friday.
The former lawmaker, who represented Ado/Okpokwu/Ogbadibo Federal Constituency, Benue South Senatorial zone, urged the people of the area to be united, irrespective of their dialectical differences.
He said that the Igede speaking people of Benue South were a part of the Idoma ethnic nationality.
Agbo explained that the Igede speaking people occupy the present day Obi and Oju, two out of the nine local government areas that make up Benue South occupied by Idoma people.
He urged the people to live in peace and unity with their neighbours and beware of politicians who would want to pitch them against each other.
“Take judicious note of the external forces that use divide and rule system of politics to put Benue South on its knees.
“These purveyors of the instrument of divide and rule; postulating that Igede is not Idoma are centrifugal forces.
“They do not mean well for the Igede people. To the best of my knowledge, Igede is Idoma; it belongs to the central identity known as Idoma,” he said.
Agbo said the argument which claims that Igede dialect is different from the central Idoma dialect cannot erase the fact that the language is one.
He said if Igede were not Idoma, how come His Royal Highness, Chief Ajene Okpabi, an Igede speaking man, became the paramount ruler (Och’Idoma) in the zone and enjoyed the support of all and sundry?
The former lawmaker said that the Agatu area of the zone also spoke a different dialect but it did not make them any less Idoma than the Otukpo people.
He said that the difference in dialect was not only limited to the people of Benue South as it exists many states saying that it not a reason for disunity.
Agbo warned the ‘centrifugal forces’ of the implication of holding unto the notion that the Igede people are not part of Idoma nation.
He explained that it could instigate a gang up from the other areas against the Igede speaking dialect, which would hamper development of the zone.
Agbo, however, lauded the people for preserving the age-long socio-cultural new yam festival, known as Igede Agbaa.