Odu Community Agog As Ago Nation Celebrates Odu Day

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Odu, a village in Nasarawa Local Government Area of Nasarawa State, came alive with beehive of activity on Saturday, 12th November, as indigenes of Afo land marked the 2022 Odu Day Celebration.

A brainchild of the Odu Elites Development Association,
the event also featured an appeal fund of 55 Million Naira for the construction of a modern Palace as well as award of excellence to some deserving indigenes and personalities.

The Odu Day which is an annual event celebrated by Afo Indigenes domiciled in Odu village, was last held in 2006, and this was due to insecurity within and around the vicinity.

The essence of the celebration is to showcase and sustain the rich cultural heritage of Afo people to the world and to also pool resources together for the attainment of set goals, both for the land and its people.

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The event attracted dignitaries from all walks of life, including the Executive Governor of Nasarawa State, His Excellency, Engr. Abdullahi Sule, who was represented by the Deputy Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Agbadu Akabe.

In his address, President of Odu Elites Development Association, Mr. Job Danjuma Osu, thanked Governor Abdullahi Sule for ensuring the return of peace to the area, driving massive development to the village and enlisting indigenes of Odu in his administration.

“Without peace, this event wouldn’t have been possible. We thank God Almighty and our amiable Governor for ensuring the return of peace to our locality.”

He equally appreciated the Paramount Ruler of Afo nation, His Royal Highness, Alh. Halilu Bala Usman(Osu-Ajiri) and Village Head of Odu, His Highness, Yusuf Sani Owuna, for their fatherly role in ensuring that their subjects live in peace with one another and trigger development in Afo land.

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“This day will remain ever remarkable in the history of our community because it’s the first time in the history of the Afo nation that our Village Head will be having a befitting Palace, aside the Palace of our Paramount Ruler, the Osu-Ajiri.

“We desire to build this Palace to minimise crisis whenever any son of the soil is selected or appointed as a Village Head, and this will ensure royal and administrative convenience and disposition of duties.”

The President also thanked members of the Planning Committee, sons and daughters of Afo land as well as other individuals for their efforts in facilitating a successful event.

“When we came on board as EXCO, we drew up plans that will help unite and develop us, and the Odu Day Celebration was listed among the components of restoring peace and foster development.

“We least expected the crowd and massive turnout today.

“By the grace of God, before the end of our tenure, with the support of the community, we shall ensure rapid and positive transformation in the areas of security, education, health, cultural reorientation and infrastructural development.”

He commended the efforts of the Federal and State Governments in tackling the security challenges in the area, assuring that the entire Afo nation will continue to give necessary support to the Government to win the war against insecurity and insurgency in Afo land and Nigeria as a whole.

“We as a community, in view of the numerous benefits we are getting from the present political dispensation, have unanimously resolved that all our votes will go to Engr. Abdullahi Sule and the All Progressives Congress, APC, from top to bottom, during the 2023 General Elections in the Country.

“This is to enable us enjoy more dividends of democracy.”

Delivering the Governor’s speech, Deputy Governor, Dr. Emmanuel Agbadu Akabe, said,

“I congratulate the Odu Community and entire Afo nation for this milestone attainment.

“Anything that has to do with the Afo nation is taken seriously by the administration of Governor Abdullahi Sule, which was why His Excellency asked me to represent him here, despite our tight schedules.

“I thank the Organizers of this event and all sons and daughters of Afo land for your continuous support to this Government in terms of security, an area we take so seriously, and which is why we are able to gather here like this today.

“The Afo nation should be proud of His Royal Highness, the Osu-Ajiri as he has been in the forefront of advising this Government and ensuring that we continue to enjoy peace in the State.

“Suffice to say that the Afo people are known for success, and I assure you that you will continue to be the first to benefit from this administration, and your appeal to construct a Palace for your Village Head is a commendable decision that should be supported by all sons and daughters of Odu community and Afo nation.

“May I extend my gratitude to Nigeria’s President, Muhammadu Buhari, the Service Chiefs, our Royal Fathers and all those who have been involved in giving us the security we are enjoying today.

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“I am glad to say Nasarawa is one of the most peaceful States in Nigeria.”

In his remarks, Chairman of the occasion, Retired Commodore Yahaya Owuna, disclosed that the event was apt and timely.

“This event is timely and apt because Odu deserves the support of every right-thinking member of the society because of the valuable contributions of the Odu people in the State and beyond.

“Building a Palace for the Osu-Odu is a remarkable thought and should be supported by every son and daughter of Odu and Afo nation, regardless.

“However, I will not shy away from telling our children to embrace education and desist from relying on mining.

“We must not abandon knowledge, hard work and our rich cultural heritage. So, we must work towards attaining the three for the growth and development of our community.”

The Osu-Ajiri and Paramount Ruler of Afo nation, HRH. Alh. Halilu Bala Usman, in his goodwill message, thanked indigenes of Odu Community and Afo land for organizing the programme, stressing that it was long overdue, but worth the waiting.

“Today, I am a happy father to witness this historic day.

“Indeed, this day will help to reduce the pressure we daily witness as far as the traditional institution is concerned in Afo land.

“This further explains who and what we are. We are a progressive-minded people, and we don’t stop until we see to the end of whatever we set our eyes on.

“I congratulate the entire Odu Community,and appreciate our visitors, especially the Executive Governor, for finding time out of his busy schedules to celebrate this day with us.

“While we will continue to count on the support of the Government and well-meaning individuals to develop our land, we won’t relent to give our unalloyed support to this administration which has invested so much on the Afo nation and its people.”

Nasarawa West Senatorial candidate and Chief Launcher, Ahmed Aliyu Wadada, congratulated indigenes of Odu Community for thinking towards building a befitting Palace for their Royal Father, assuring of his unalloyed support.

“I feel so happy to be part of this historic day.

“My mother is Agatu by tribe and that makes me share a lot of things in common with the Afo nation because Afo and Agatu are one.

“So, whatever I am doing, it’s solely because I am related to the Afo nation through my mother, and I am glad to be part of this commendable initiative.”

Guest Speaker of the day and Attorney General of and Commissioner for Justice, Nasarawa State, Associate Professor Abdulkarim Abubakar Kana, applauded organizers of the event, describing it as a square peg in a square hole.

“The people of Odu Community continue to demonstrate why they are the best in everything they do.

“The entire Afo nation is proud of this wonderful set-up and the burning desire to construct an honourable Palace for our Royal Father.

“This task must be fought till the latter.

“I am proud to witness this laudable initiative, and I pray to witness its completion.”

On his part, Executive Chairman of Nasarawa Local Government Area, Hon. Sani Mohammed Ottos, described Odu as an integral part of the Governor Sule’s administration and general development of the State.

“Odu Electoral Ward plays significant roles in the socio-economic and political schemes of Nasarawa State.

“We thank Governor Abdullahi Sule for according enormous priority to Odu people and entire Afo nation, and we are unanimous in our support for the Sule Government so that we can enjoy more dividends of democracy.”

Emphasizing on the day, the Village Head of Odu, His Highness, Yusuf Sani Owuna, explained that the day was set aside to allow Odu indigenes, both at home and in the diaspora, embrace one another for the growth and development of the Community.

“This is a special day for us as it gives us opportunity to unite as a people and send a message to the world that we are a people disposed for excellence.

“We are happy for the peace and sanctity we are presently enjoying in our Community and surrounding districts.

“We thank Governor Abdullahi Sule and this administration for all they have been doing for our people and land, ranging from restoration of security to road construction and appointment of our children into various positions of authority.

“Today, we can sleep with our eyes closed, we can go to farm safely and travel on tarred roads. All these are courtesy of Governor Abdullahi Sule, and we remain eternally grateful to him and this administration.

“As a Community leader, I constantly interface with other Traditional Rulers around our community and other critical stakeholders to forge a common ground for the overall development of Afo nation and surrounding areas.”

Speaking on this year’s event and its significance, President of Omadegye Cultural and Development Association and Commissioner, House of Assembly Service Commission, Hon. Isah Obagu, noted that the day represents many things to the Afo nation.

“Today is a day of celebration.

“This is a day to re-appraise ourselves as a people and see areas we can make further change to trigger development.

“We the elites of this community have found it necessary to invite the world to assist us in terms of our proposed project which is the construction of a befitting Palace for our Royal Father which will give us a sense of belonging and value.

“This event has equally made it possible for us to meet long-lost friends and relatives, and it has also helped to encourage others to see the need for a deliberate community action to achieve common goals because ‘charity’, they say, begins at home.”

Nasarawa State Commissioner for Youth and Sports Development, Amb. Lucky Isaac Yargwa, commended organizers of the event and called on youth to value their culture.

“This event could not have come at a better time than now.

“I congratulate and commend the organizers for doing a great job.

“I also want to call on the present generation of youth to embrace their culture as that’s their sole identity wherever they go.”

Permanent Secretary, Nasarawa State Ministry of Youth and Sports Development and Secretary, Odu Elites Development Association, Isah Mohammed Eyah, described his feelings as thus;

“We feel fulfilled today because we have been planning for a very long time to actualize this historic day.

“It’s a herculean task bringing this large crowd together, and this is largely due to the teamwork in our Association.

“Personally, I am dedicated to the service of my people and community which explains why I am where I am today after starting from the classroom as a teacher, and then to being a Headmaster, to Supervisor and rose through the ranks to become a Director and now Permanent Secretary.

“Regarding the award conferred on me by the Association, well, this means a lot to me and my family, including my community.

“I thank the Association for finding me worthy, among many, for this huge recognition.

“I have vowed to continue to work hard and be different in anything I do by setting standard through excellence.

“Indeed, the award is a challenge for me to do more as my contributions and efforts are being noticed and appreciated by the society.”

According to the Board Secretary of Nasarawa State Universal Basic Education Board, NSUBEB, and Mother of the day, Hajiya Hashiya Ahmad, the gathering was worth it and called on women to embrace education for their impacts to be more noticeable.

“This event has helped to bring us together once again as a tribe to build our land and confront the challenges of the world squarely.

“This gathering will give us a sense of belonging and direction.

“As a woman, my message to my fellow women is for them to prioritize education, work hard and engage in meaningful ventures.

“I am where I am today because I got an education, and I am bold to say there is no limit to what you can achieve as a woman once you acquire education.”

Hon. Sule Ogelebe-Koku, former Commissioner, Nasarawa State, appealed to indigenes of Odu to contribute their quota to the noble cause.

“Today, we are united to build a Palace for our Royal Father. Anybody in Odu land can aspire to that position, so, we deem it fit to have a befitting Palace for our Royal institution.

“So, I am calling on our sons and daughters to contribute their quota to enable us achieve this goal.”

Senior Special Assistant to Governor Abdullahi Sule on Youth Development, Hon. Shuaibu Sani, said the event afforded indigenes of Odu to redefine their position in taking Odu to an enviable height.

“The Odu Day Celebration is aimed at preaching peace and harmonious co-existence as well as promotion of our land and her people.

“This programme will help to give better direction to our youth on the paths to take in order to become better and productive people, both culturally and according to the global trends, especially in the areas of education, science and technology.”

On her part, Margaret Ekpo and daughter of Odu Community, said she was overwhelmed to see the day come to pass.

“Today, I feel more proud to be a daughter of Odu Community.

“The turnout is just awesome. This shows that we have not forgotten our roots, and it’s an indication that whenever we are called upon, we will be available for our motherland.

“I implore our women, especially young ladies, not to forget their roots. They should value education because that’s the bedrock of any society.”

Among the awardees were Governor Abdullahi Sule as ‘Osu-Uweto Odu; Senator Abdullahi Adamu as Political Icon; HRH. Halilu Bala Usman as Symbol of Excellence; Alh. Sule Abdullahi Ogah as Outstanding Leader; immediate past President of the Association, Malam Abubakar Danladi Okonu as Ambassador of the Peace; Dr. Joseph Osu Ogbere as Outstanding Patriot and Emancipator; Hon. Samuel Egya as Outstanding Politician and True Son of the Soil; Mallam Isah Mohammed Eyah as Seasoned Educationist; Hon. Shuaibu Sani as Youth Ambassador and Prof. Likita Ogba as First Professor and Educationist.

Post-humous awards were also given to Late Mr. Amos Obere Ewa(12th Osu-Odu) as Pace Setter; Late Alh. Musa Akaki Odumu(1st Osu-Ajiri) as Bulldozer of Afo Nation); Late Alh. Abdulrahman Oto(2nd Osu-Ajiri) and Late Alh. Muhammadu Wada as Pioneer Educationist.

The side attractions included cultural parades and a novelty football match by indigenes of Odu, and cultural dance from various groups.

Different beautifully dressed masquerades in colourful costumes with various shapes of masks and jesters dressed in beautiful outfits also entertained the guests.

A day preceding the occasion, a novelty football match between Odu Community FC versus Odege FC had ended In a goalless stalement.