Colloquium: Oworo Stakeholders Discuss Cultural, Economic, Political Rebirth

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The people of Oworo land in Lokoja local government area of Kogi state have been challenged to unite and work towards the growth of the land.

In an opening address at the first Oworo national colloquium held in Lokoja on Saturday, the Chairman Board of Trustees of The Oworo Foundation, Elder Timothy Orungbami, called for socio-economic and political re-awakening.

Orungbami recalled that in the 1960s, the people of Oworo were renown for education, sophistication and development. He called for sustenance and expansion of the legacy.

Declaring the colloquium open, Orungbami called on stakeholders to consider organizing similar events at local levels to educate the people on issues that are significant for the unity and development of Oworoland.

Initiator of the foundation, Kolade Umoru, stated that Oworos have been struggling for economic and political spaces within the context of Kogi state and Nigeria federation over the years despite their enormous natural and resilient human resources.

Umoru explained that The Oworo Foundation seeks to promote intellectual advancement and excellence through research, documentation and public presentations of ideas, promotion of unity and progress of Oworo and its heritage.

Delivering a keynote address, Prof. Etannibi Alemika called for cultural rebirth and preservation of Oworo heritage.

Alemika called on Oworos to block further encroachment on their land.

“Federal University of Lokoja is in Felele. Deliberately, we must do something about Felele. What do we do about Felele so that it becomes our strong boundary against encroachment?,” he asked.

On political empowerment, the University don called on Oworos to build networks and alliances without losing their identity.

In a paper presentation, the Director, National Council for Arts and Culture, Abuja, Denja Abdullahi, said the Oworo nation will thrive if it jettisons its negative cultural traits, cultivate pride in her cultural identity, bring innovation into some of its cultural practices, retrieve some good practices that are lost for revival and promotion, reach out to one another in love and brotherhood and take active steps to remedy the gradual slide into cultural retrogression and extinction.

“It is high time the Oworo people knew that culture is fundamental to the identity of a people and their survival as a group. They must also cease to make the mistake everyone makes that the domain of culture does not go beyond singing, dancing and masquerading, for which Oworos are well known.

“Holders of traditional authorities in Oworo land must show understanding of the historical and cultural peculiarities of the people they superintend over and rather than sit back and expect veneration from their people, they should move around and seek out their people at home and in the diaspora, mobilizing them in a dignifying way to contribute to the development of their communities.

“On the youths lies the enormous task of the revival of Oworoland. The youths must close their eyes to the stigma of the past and the petty squabbles of today to reinvigorate whatever is necessary in the land. What Oworoland needs now are people who think beyond the realities of now to the far-off world of the future.

“Oworo will not survive if we continue to leave the ship that is conveying all of us to be adrift and rudderless; waiting for benevolent winds to push us to the shore. We must be intentional and pragmatic in our handling of the affairs of Oworoland to preserve its health for generations to come,” he said.

The National Secretary of Okun Development Association, Pastor Ayo Abereoran, in a good message, called on Oworo stakeholders to be proactive on issues that affect the people.

Abereoran decried the current state of insecurity in the land and called for concerted efforts to stem the tide.

“We are free from Nupe invasion, but currently under the siege of Fulani herdsmen who have infiltrated our lands.

“We are one with the people of Oworo land. Okun is a big family,” he said.

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