Ajobe, a community located in Ojoku district of Ankpa local government in the eastern part of Kogi State, is made up of four clans; Omonu Akpa, Ediko, Ohilu and Omonu-Ojoku.
Before now, the community is regarded by the nearby villagers as the place where unity, peace and cooperation thrives. According to them, “their voices have always been one on burning and controversial issues facing the community, any ‘unsaintly’ feet cannot step into the community because their ancestors are with them every seconds that counts”.
A friend asked me recently, “Ojimaojo, what is happening in your community, I can see that everything has already fallen apart in your community, and I don’t think that would make your community succeed tomorrow.” As usual, I smile and thanked him abundantly.
It is crystal clear that Ajobe community is blessed with good people and resources that you cannot find anywhere else in Ojoku district area. That is what their youths and the community feeds on and it is called “Ojuwo Ekpechi”.
To understand the level of cooperation in that community then, Ajobe community football team popular known as ‘Scorpion Football Club’ can be likened to Arsenal FC’s invincible team of 2004 that won the league without losing single match. In terms of the friendly match, the Scorpion FC is regarded as Real Madrid team that won champions league three times consecutively under Zidane. All these happened, not because they are better than their opponents, but because of cooperation, support and prayers from the elders.
I was opportune to see them eat from the same dish, drink from the same cup, marry from among themselves, sleep on the same bed irrespective of their clan. We were one then, but today, we have drifted from being one. Personal interests have been used to divide the community.
However, all the aforementioned are no longer in its good shape because what you hear on their lips is “I am Omonu Akpa, I am Omonu-Ojoku, Ediko and can’t have anything to do with Omonu-Akpa because they insulted my father. It is not their fault if you ask me, they are only suffering from ignorance.
Ajobe stories has never been so worrisome like this until lately, where “I am this, I am that” became their slogan, become their food, wake up with and sleep with it reason been that their fathers have inducted them into the knowledge that this particular clan is our enemy, and should not have anything to do with them now, and in the future.
According to them, Omonu-Akpa said they are rightful owners of the community while Ediko said they are the rightful owner of the community, in that case, they should be crown as the ‘Onu of Ajobe’, but deep down their heart, both parties know the first person to settle in that community. Is it not better we accept this bitter truth rather than jeopardizing our children’s future ?
Sadly enough, the intermediary, Ohilu and Omonu-Ojoku, that settled between this two gladiators, instead of looking for water to quench the already set fire, they are the one using their last card to buy fuel to fueling the fire.
The Aphorism that “without peace, there cannot be unity” has find it place in Ajobe community. This issue would continue to last as both parties are not willing to sheath their swords, so that they can restore peace back into the community.
It is obvious that they are not worshipping the same God in one house anymore. They are not doing what they use to do together before, such as wedding ceremony, naming ceremony and burial rites, even though, they happened to come together there would be a cold war, and trust is longer between them.
But the salient question in the mind of the people begging for answer is; Are there no religious leaders in Ajobe that can quote chapters in their Holy books for them so that they drop this mindset?
The role of religious leaders in any community or nation is to preach for peace and harmony, but if you ask me what these Pastors and Imams are doing in this regards, I don’t have anything to say other than posit that they are amongst the struggle. They are supporting their respective clans and interests and no one dares to speak the truth or quote the chapter in their Holy books. If pastors and Imams have failed to deliver their bit to bring Ajobe back to it comity, then, my community have a long way to go.
Also, the so-called elite in the community are scared of death, they have forgotten that death is inevitable. They are not ready to stand on their shaky feet and say the truth, rather, they have used their political power to add salt to already cooked beans.
The youths on whom the mantle of leadership lies on their shoulders tomorrow are also amongst those who add salt. Their respective fathers have turned them into spy or information Minister, they have used them to cause problems in the community.
They are not willing to sheath their swords as the issue is fetching them chicken change, but funny enough, that chicken change cannot solve any of their problems.
In the words of Enemali Issac Ameh;
“Don’t fight for rat, fight for elephants”. Ajobe youths should note that, this ill behaviours they are portraying cannot take them to anywhere, as our fathers who introduced this unacceptable hatred among us would not be with us tomorrow. If the story continues this way, what are we going to tell our innocent and unborn children tomorrow? To tell them that Ediko and Omonu-Akpa are enemies? God forbid!
It is the high time those whose voice are always being heard by the so called leaders, should tell them that you have live your your life to its fullest and we the youths, irrespective of our clans, we are ready to live like brothers and sisters as our forefathers had lived. The paradigm of hatred and traditional title tussled has shifted from the stone age to digital age. There is a need to join hands in a bid to develop our community.
– Ojimaojo Y. Abubakar, a journalist, writes from Abuja.