BY COMRADE EGBAGBARA BLESSING (PH.D)
OFUOMA Community is one of the twenty three communities that makes up the great and prestigious ancient Ughelli Kingdom; in the present day Ughelli North Local Government Area of Delta State.
It is a community that is made up of early elitist, as there is no family in Ofuoma community that does not have at least one university graduate.
Ofuoma community is blessed with both human and material resources, as it is one of the earliest community to have produced one of the earliest graduate in Ughelli Kingdom such as late Hon. Chief James London Leleji Emekpe, (JP) former Hon. Member representing, Ughelli Udu, Bomadi Federal Constituency, House of Representative (1979 – 1983) and first vice principal St. Theresa’s Girls Grammar School, Ughelli Chief Dr. Peter Oromake Ighofose one time Governorship candidate, unity party of Nigeria (UPN) Bendel State and pioneer members governing council, Collage of Education, Warri, Hon. Chief Samuel Ogedegbe Oteri (JP), former Executive Chairman, Ughelli Local Government Council, Hon. Chief Moses Erhabor (JP) pioneer Deputy Chairman, Ughelli North Local Government Council, Prof. Kwale, former Vice Chancellor Edo State University (now Ambrose Ali University Ekpoma) who is maternal from Ofuoma-Ughelli, Chief Dr. Theophilous Isaac James Okpidi, former chairman oil palm, Ajegbududu, Mr. Joseph Egbagbara first Ofuoma indigene to be a principal of a secondary school, Chief Daniel Oshokare (CSP Rtd) late Ebraghe Ephien (CSP of blessed memory, first indigenes to become Police Chiefs and late major Obi of blessed memory and a host of others who have been famous and very known before the event of the present political dispensation in Nigeria.
Ofuoma community outside the secondary schools, founded by the colonial masters, like Government College Ughelli, St. Theresa’s Girls Grammar School Ughelli, Anglican Girls Grammar School, Ughelli, Otovwodo Grammar School, Otovwodo, Ibru College Agbarha, was among the first community to have a secondary school through community self help and the only community to have tarred its road through community self help in 1980 and respectively. The only community in Ughelli kingdom of Ughelli North Local Government in Ughelli council of Delta State, with a tertiary institution, the Delta College of Health Technology, Ofuoma Ughelli, Delta State, a HND including awarding institution in which the community have rendered selfless projects inducing blocks of classrooms, administrative building blocks, Health Centre and the about 50 kilometers square of land, donated freely for the school to take off.
The community is blessed also with natural resources such as crude oil, and liquefied natural gas and it is the second in quota of production in the Afiesere field.
With all the above human and material resources centered in the community, there seems to be no Onodjevwecha. The question, one is prompted to ask, who is Onodjevwecha.
Onodjevwecha according to professor Muoboghare, is at once a question and a concept, a norm in Urhobo Nation literally means “who pursues you home” if a child is pursued into the father’s compound painting. The first question the father asked perhaps with a cutlass, gun or any dangerous weapon in his hand is Onodjevwecha meaning, “Who dare pursue my child into my compound”. The father at this point does not care about the size, nature and or the status of the assailant, who must be warded off or exterminated in defense of his child. No matter the circumstance of the pursuit, before asking the child for details.
It is for this reason, that in the Urhobo nation, that when a child is pursued and he gets into the family compound or wherever he resides with the father, it is said that he has gotten home and have secure safety and the assailant knows better than to take a further step. The father legally and traditionally has all the rights to behead or inflicts injuries on any assailant who pursues his child to his compound and continues beating him. At this stage of rescue of the child from the assailant the father is or has played the role of Onodjevwecha for the child.
An Onodjevwecha may also be a personality in a family or community or kingdom or nation to whom all report voluntarily to and who spreads his protective arms around his family members or kinsmen. Late Chief Mukoro Mowoe of Evwreni Kingdom played Onodjevwecha to Evwreni kingdom and Urhobo nation in general, His Excellency, Chief James Onanefe Ibori played the role to the Oghara kingdom and Urhobo nation, Chief Dr. James Ogboko Edewor (The Obarisi of Urhobo Land) played the role for the Eku people, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, played the role for the Yoruba nation, Chief Senator Edwin Kiagbodo Clark, played the role for the Ijaw nation, Ken Sero-Wiwa played the role for the Ogoni nation of River State, Alhaji Sir Ahmadu Bello, the Sarduana of Sokoto played the role particularly for the Hausa/Fulani, Mr. Joseph Tarka did same for the Tiv and Minority of the North, High Chief Williams Okparume (JP) (The Odjisi of Eku) equally played role for the Eku Kingdom.
Far back home, Chief (Sir) Benneth Ighojabor Abafe played the role for the Orogun kingdom in terms of security, Chief (Dr.) Theophilus James Isaac Okpidi, at once and time played the role of Onodjevwacha to all Ofuoma and Ughelli indigenes schooling at Delta State University, Abraka and during the struggle for the establishment/movement of the School of Health Technology to Ofuoma Ughelli. Hon. Chief Erhabor Moses (JP) played same role at a time to all Ofuoma indigenes seeking employment at the Local Government Council Service Commission and were all very successful. Chief Dr. Isaac Akpoveta played the role to his boys. Late Chief James London Leleji Emekpe (JP) of blessed memory, played the role of Onodjevwecha for the whole of the Ofuoma Community. Since his demise who plays the role of Onodjevwecha to the Ofuoma Community.
A child must therefore have an Onodjevwecha in his father, while a family, a community, a kingdom or nation must have an Onodjevwecha in a recognized personality or group of persons.
When the likes of Mukoro Mowoe played the role for the Urhobo Nation He did it under the Urhobo Progress Union, when Hon. Chief James London Leleji Emekpe JP of blessed memory played the role for Ofuoma community, he did it under the powerful influential unbiased Ofuoma traditional council of Chiefs, in conjunction with the central executive committee and supreme elders council of Ofuoma, community whose yes is yes and her decision were irreversible no matter how rich, famous and influential you maybe, but today the reverse is the case, where Ofuoma community cannot take a unilateral decision that is binding on all indigenes, all because of wealth, pride and poverty that has now becomes the able body guard of most of our elders, that just, two thousand naira (N2,000.00) given to an elder can make him sell his birth right. Where do we start from and who now fits into the big shoes of the Onodjevwecha for Ofuoma community.
I dare say that any personality or group of individuals that can and will be an Onodjevwecha for Ofuoma community should be one, which will carry everyone along and does not listen to later talk. He should be one that will listen to the opinion of all, before taking decisions that will positively affects the generality of the community. He should be an individual that will not use his wealth, position, education and connection to negatively affect the individuals, indigenes in particular and the community in general but used those attributes to positively enhance and develop the individuals and the community at large.
Whoever that fits into the role, should be an individual that will not em-mass the community common wealth for his private use. He should be a man of integrity that expect kick back from the community pursue, but rather uses the community purse for the development of the community such individual should be a man that will not harbor grudges, against a fellow family, community, kingdom or nation kinsmen, who is aspiring to the top of the ladder either politics, but an encourager, guidance and mentor under which the young ones, he is playing the role will progress and play such for the younger ones growing after his demise.
An Onodjevwecha should not be that personalities will hide the truth and let lies prevail, but should be a man with integrity that will allow the truth prevail and lies to be exposed.
Finally an Onodjevwecha for a family and a community like Ofuoma, should not be boastful of his wealth, states and connection but someone who will accommodate all, in respective of characters, guide and protects his kinsmen from outside assailants. The question that begged to answered is that who our Onodjevwecha in Ofuoma community.
A commissioners and a minister must be raised from Ofuoma community in the next political dispensation in Jesus Name.
I want to appreciate Comr. Mrs. Julie Adjarho Egbagbara (Nee Odjoji), Mrs. Kesiena Christable Egbagbara (Nee Abafe), my wife who always burn the midnight candle with me, anytime I had a paper to present, my children, Mst. Ogheneserome Promise, Oghenekobiruo Miracle, Oghenemise Peniel David Egbagbara, whom, I am playing the role Onodjevwecha for, my mentors, Chief Dr. Okpidi T.J.I, Hon. Chief Erhabor Moses (JP), Chief Dr. Akpoveta Isaac and off course principal Shaka Rosemary Fortune, (my confidant), Oghenemaro, Ovie Kennedy and off course, Chief (Sir) Benneth Ighojabor Abafe, (aka Brokojo) who had played the role of Onodjevwecha for me when I was down with challenges and all youths of Ofuoma community, which I have mentored and those I did not mentored.
God bless you all.
Comr. (Dr.) Blessing Omarayerue Blessing (JP+)
Former President, Ofuoma Community Development Union/
Managing Patner, Mersmars Consult Nig.
Nig., Ughelli, Delta State.