The story is told of how a senior citizen of Idoma identity responded to the question as to what he thought is the problem of the Idoma people in Nigeria. His answer was one word: Otukpo. He did not elaborate. Interpreters who went to work on his one word answer are unanimous that the old man was simply drawing attention to the dialectics of Otukpo. That is in the sense that Otukpo which has played such a unifying role for the Idoma – every other Idoma sub-group can be found there, be it from the Apa, Agatu in the north or Otukpa/Okpoga/Ichama side in the West or the Igumale/Ijigban/Agila/Ulayi/Utonkon side or Edumoga in Idoma central – is also the symbolic and practical roadblock to Idoma transformation. There is an unspoken consensus that as long as Otukpo wears its historical brown mask – signature for rustiness, Idoma would not transcend it.
So, why is Otukpo resistant to changing its brown earth signature tune even when every Idoma big man or woman lives there? How could a town which, as early as 1944, much earlier than the Second World War ended, had a secondary school – St Francis College – be in Otukpo state of under development. How could that happen to the extent of overwhelming all the other great and brilliant things in Otukpo? Is it the failure of the elite or the local government authority or the Benue State government or the Mayor of Otukpo or what? Haba, Otukpo!