The People’s Democratic Party, (PDP) went to Oju LGA of Benue State with the full might of the ruling party to bury eight of the victims of the ghastly accident that dogged its Zone C Senatorial District campaign flag off December 28th, 2018. From Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom to his deputy, Engineer Benson Abounu to State Chairman of the party, Mr John Ngbede; all members of the House of Representatives/Benue State House of Assembly from the area as well as local government party officials and supporters, it was a heavy presence. David Mark, former Senate President and the outgoing Senator of the zone, was equally on hand as notable religious leaders as the Most Reverend Odeh Ocheke, the Bishop of the Methodist Church, Oju.
Starting with a condolence call on Chief Oga Ero, the Adutu of Igede who is the foremost traditional authority in Igedeland, Governor Ortom went to the Oju Stadium where he, along with other notables, spoke on the sacrifice of the victims. In addition to automatic employment for one person from each of the eight families, Governor Ortom directed the repair of the road from Aliade in Gwer East LGA to Oju, the headquarters of Oju LGA within three months. Igede people, he said, should conduct themselves peacefully in the wake of the coming elections.
Oju, incidentally, is where peasants at an interactive session with then Col. Fidelis Makka, the Military Administrator of Benue State in 1989 asked why, in their view, multiple accidents define the modern era and if the governor had plans to do anything about that. Responding, Col Makka said while their observation is true, there was nothing that could be done specifically. He said as long as we called it accidents, it was difficult to plan against it other than better road facilities and vehicle maintenance. Many years afterwards, Oju is holding a mass burial for eight killed in a multiple accident.
The number eight shows exaggeration of the number of the victims from that ghastly accident. The exaggeration is not only by the media, (Intervention inclusive) but also by the Federal Road Safety Corps, (FRSC) which claimed nine at a point. It is possible that all the victims are not from Oju because the figures were given by people who witnessed the accident, counted as well as added two plus two at that point. Many would say that the Bishop summed up the solemn ceremony by saying that no one, absolutely no one, knows when death could come to him or her, meaning it is futile to postpone ethical leaving.