15 years after it was warned of the CNNising and Coca-colanising impacts of globalisation, the Idoma intelligentsia has tasked itself with a programme of writing Idoma. In other words, they are more than convinced that a nationality or language group is a textual entity which can be read or understood depending on what is documented about it. Writing Idoma is thus not about the Idoma alphabeths but the unfolding or embrace of constructivism in Idomaland as a response to the dynamics of globalisation.
This is one of the main conclusions from the three day National Conference of the ethnic nationality held last October. As one of the mini-language groups around central Nigeria, the Idoma nationality has been worried against that warning by one of its intellectual giants, Prof Isawa Elaigwu, to an Idoma Conference way back in 2006.
It is no longer news that the Idoma intelligentsia took time off from their campuses, businesses, religious and bureaucratic engagements to gather for collective reflection at Otukpo, the commercial headquarters from October 27th to 30th, 2021. The theme of the communal reflective exercise was Idoma: Changing Times and Cultures.
It has all been silence thereafter in terms of the outcome of the Idoma National Conference 2021 until now when the Communiqué surfaced. Although it is dated by now, it is published verbatim below in other not to offend the ancestors through any interpretive intervention.
A three-day Idoma National Conference with the theme: Idoma Changing Times and Cultures was held at Otukpo from 27th – 30th October, 2021. The conference was attended by 250 participants within Nigeria and the diaspora, with some linking up to the conference via zoom.
The conference hosted by Idoma Forum, Zaria (a chapter of Ochetoha K’Idoma) is concerned with the longstanding involvement and commitment to the well-being, development and progress of the Idoma as a people and the Idoma as a geographical entity in contemporary Nigeria.
Objectives of the Conference
The key objectives of the conference are as follows:
- To facilitate a sense of identity of purpose and unity among the Idoma.
- To identify and clearly spell out the imperatives and core elements that the Idoma possess as a people.
- To tease out and construct a philosophical and pragmatic leverage that helps the Idoma as a people to apprehend the notion of the Idoma past, history and cultural traditions in the face of a complex and continuously modernizing Nigeria and world.
- To painstakingly interrogate the over-riding cultural, social, political and economic variables that daily and perennially impinge upon, and influence the Idoma identity and nation.
The anxiety, verve and empathy demonstrated at the conference were that of frustration of the reality of the changing times and cultures in Idoma land and the ambience was more of immediate action rather than rhetoric. The various addresses, good will messages, lead paper and paper presentations that followed justified and clearly addressed the overriding theme of the conference. The obvious issues facing the Idoma are the absence of a clear sense of unity and purpose, fast eroding cultures and traditions, unemployment leading to incidents of insecurity, and low optimal utilization of government infrastructures.
Consequently the conference came up with the following resolutions:
- The Idoma as a people have established traditional structures and processes of succession as far as the transition from one Och’Idoma to another is concerned. In the event of the installation of the Och’Idoma the process should be in line with Idoma traditional coronation procedures.
- Idoma traditional rulers should play their statutory roles by safeguarding their tradition, land and subjects.
- Efforts should be made to establish a compendium of all Idoma sons and daughters in the diaspora with a view to harnessing and actualizing the dream for a greater Idoma nation.
- Regular engagement by way of town hall meetings and conferences should be driven by the leadership of the Idoma socio-cultural organization, i.e., Ochetoha K’Idoma with a view to addressing emergent and critical issues in Idoma land and nation.
- The Ochetoha K’Idoma should put in place strategic plans for the realization of the Idoma vision and dream of holistic progress given its so called ‘minority’ status within Nigeria, and for the curtailment of hunger, unemployment, and poverty which leads to crime and all prevalent anti-social activities in our society.
- Globalization has come to stay, therefore we should adapt the tools of globalization to propagate the Idoma culture. Idoma nation should recognize the positive merits of globalization and adjust our core elements as a people. Grants, funding and scholarship should be instituted for writing Idoma history books, and engaging the vast archival materials on Idoma in foreign museums, art galleries and libraries.
- To curb crime and other social vices that are prevalent in Idoma land, the Idoma elites with the wherewithal should proactively invest in MSMEs in Idoma land.
- An inventory of all developmental projects established by the three – tiers of government should be undertaken with a view to ascertaining their socio, economic and political impacts on Idoma land and people.
- Amali Ejila (Chairman)
- Chief Ocheme Ogabidu, (Member) . . . .
- Professor Edwin A. Ali, (Member) . . . .
- Chief Linus Adikwu, (Member)