4 December 2003

Nigeria: Community Introduces Self Help Project

The Orokam community in Ogbadibo local government area of Benue State, have initiated a community service aimed at developing the area.

A cream of the indigenes which recently met at the first national conference of the development of Orokam by the Action Committee for the advancement of Orokam, considered the imperative of rapid socio-economic political advancement of the area through self-help projects.

In his welcome address, the chairman of the occasion and Permanent Secretary, local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs in Benue State, Dr Jerry Agada, described the challenge to Orokam people in the new millennium as the call for self-help project and a clarion call for grassroot development.

He said having been drawn to the centre stage of Benue politics for the first time in the new political equation, Orokam people can only translate this into positive action through unity avoiding the Pull-Him-Down Syndrome if the dividends of the present political climate must be reaped.

"We must learn to jettison individualism in place of communalism. Our Orokam is greater than any individual and it is my firm belief that our collective efforts will propel Orokam to the dream can do. I am sure you are aware that no meaningful development can take place in an atmosphere of bitterness, wrangling, rancour, fear and insecurity," he said.

The Permanent Secretary advised the people of Orokam to shun rumour mongering as it relates to government policies, saying when in doubt, clarification should be sought.

In his presentation titled; "Our Orokam: The Imperative of Rapid Socio-Economic and Political Advancement, Mr Jenkri Okwori of the Department of English and Drama, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, outlined security as an "absolute necessity" for advancement. "Times have changed and are still changing, when the drum beat changes, we must change our dance steps. We need to urgently reorganise our internal security system. We cannot take anything for granted anymore," he said.

Okwori also called for among other things, the institution of an endowment and appointment of managers to ensure prudence.

Honourable Moses Abah Oduh of the Benue State House of Assembly in his speech, called for unity among Orokam people, adding that views and opinions that have the capacity to radically alter national destiny must be dealt with in a prompt manner by subjecting them to the democratic process.

He advised political power brokers in Orokam to fix young graduates of the community into jobs at both the state and national levels as a way of curbing poverty and unemployment which he said are among Orokam's greatest problems.

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