Igala Association in the United States of America (USA) has been urged to establish Igala Cultural Research Centre in Igala land to articulate ways of harnessing the past strength to arrest the current drift the land is being faced with.
The deputy governor of Kogi state, Elder Simon Achuba, who gave the charge while addressing the 17th Annual National Conference of Igala Association in Boston Massachusetts USA yesterday said there are a lot of research issues that the centre can look into to work out development paradigms for the land.
He cited example of Igala language which he said is being bashed by foreign language influence, maintaining that the language could be saved and standardised by looking through the translation work of late Evangelist Gabriel, an Igala slave returnee who worked with Samuel Ajayi Crowther as interpreter in Idah in 1854.
The deputy governor said such centre would enable Igala intellectuals and bridge builders to know what accounts for the 60% identical wordlist Igala language shares with Ekiti and 40% with the wider Yoruba language and others.
He said that exploring the area could lead to establishing a link to wield socio-cultural ties that may excite interests in the development of Igala land.
The deputy governor who spoke on the theme of the conference, “Crisis on Multiple Fronts : Igala Language, Culture and Leadership in the 21st Century”, identified dialectical interference in the main Igala language as one of the reasons for lack of cohesion in the efforts to develop Igala land.
He said that there are persistent name callings to paste certain derogatory identities on the people from the three axes of the land, but however viewed such act as consequences of living together in a homestead.
The deputy governor said, of all the remarks about the dialects, the socio-cultural essence of Igala is still intact as marriages are still being contracted across the three axes of the land.
Stating that the cordial relationship he enjoyed with governor Yahaya Bello has led to the ease of operations that are yielding positive consequences for the state development, the Deputy Governor said the present administration of the state would be remembered for positive and people oriented development.
He used the occasion to intimate the gathering that the screening exercise embarked upon by the state became necessary as a result of audit alerts government received about unwholesome practices in the civil service which he said has occasioned to utilisation of about 90% of the state’s earnings for payment of wages.
The deputy governor said the screening would soon be over and government will have authentic payroll to work with even as he informed the association that kogi government already has a development blueprint prepared with inputs from the people and field assessment of the needs of the state.
According to the deputy governor, already Umomi-Idah road has been re-awarded for construction just as Ankpa Township road has also been awarded for construction.
Noting that there are other projects that are being executed across the State, the Deputy Governor said as the state moves ahead, it would tackle the issue of underdevelopment and bring it to the barest minimum.
He further appealed to the Igala Association USA to consider raising the domestic cultural icons to international stage, maintaining that it would not be a bad idea if the Akujanes of Ibaji, the Agbakas, the Joseph Abus were invited to thrill the gathering with exclusive Igala music and dance menu.
Speaking, the president of the association, Dr Paul Ocheje thanked Governor Bello led administration of the state for turning a new leaf in the state, stating that the association has the confident that the government would take the state to the next level of development.
He urged the leadership of the state to consider all parts of the state for its development programme, while commending it for the progress made so far.
The association’s president prayed God to unite the state in one family and always lead the leadership in good direction for the good of the state.