Those of us with good sense of history can easily recall that the genesis of the recent jungle holocaust and massive killings of innocent people in Ekpeye land is traceable to the inordinate and die hard ambitions of some incumbent and aspiring Ekpeye traditional rulers in some clans. The memory of the Ekpeye massacre is still fresh as almost every Ekpeye family is still counting loses. The recent tragedy in Ekpeye land has taken a deep and irreparable toll on all spheres of life whether religious, political, cultural, social, economic and ecological. At the moment, it will take an Ekpeye man some extra guts and social clout to pull friends and colleagues to Ekpeye land for any ceremony because of the fear of the recent tragedy. Ahoada has become a ghost town as businesses have been shut down. Unrented apartments spill all over the place with over grown weeds and rusty gates due to abandonment. Our mothers still feel insecure going to our deep farmlands and so food stuffs are short in supply. The tragedy is indeed complete even as it will take more than a decade of absolute peace for Ekpeye land to bounce back gradually.
But the big question is can Ekpeye bounce back to its lost glory? Can we make up for our loses? Can there ever be genuine brotherly and communal love amongst Ekpeye people and communities? The answers may turn out negative given the bitter observation that the average Ekpeye man especially the youths have not learnt their lessons. As the good people of Upata Clan blazed the trail by pulling through a successful election and coronation of the Eze Upata 111, other clans have been challenged to replicate the same successful electioneering process. Against this backdrop, crude and calumnious politicking have taken centre stage again in Igbu Akoh. The very Igbu Akoh that sparked off the Ekpeye jungle holocaust. Our Facebook pages have been littered again with controversial and conflictual posts bothering on the rightful and wrongful candidatures for the position of Eze Igbu Akoh 11. Some candidates have been proclaimed Eze Igbu Akoh already even before the election while some are busy selling their candidature crudely to the people. In all of these, non of these candidates has furnished our pages with a kind of blueprint or roadmap to this prestigious throne just as we saw in the Upata experience.
My greatest worry is that the crops of Ekpeye youths misleading these candidates through blind loyalty are sound and supposedly intelligent graduates who should go and search for genuine sources of livelihood. The same youths are busy heating up the polity on Facebook in the name of social media when you are supposed to thread the path of truth and peace. I am not a prophet of doom, but I must warn that if our youths continue in this ugly engagement of declaring candidates as Eze Igbu Akoh before elections on social media then the second phase of the arms struggle in Ekpeye would be imminent. God forbid! We must learn to respect the sanctity of the traditional stools in Ekpeye which our forefathers slaved to acquire. We must separate party politics from traditional leadership in Ekpeye. Our youths must look for their daily bread far beyond the palaces. Ekpeye youths in the business of social media must understand the pros and cons of the game far beyond propaganda and blackmail. We must scrutinize our comments carefully before posting so as to avoid hate speech syndrome as well as not make tempers to rise. Ekpeye is indeed in coma, may we not bury it completely. East or West, home is the best! Ameketuni!