Gov Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa State has urged Odu Community in Nasarawa Local Government Area to ensure sustainable peace through promotion of cultural values.
Sule gave the charge on Saturday at the 2022 Odu Cultural Day celebration in Odu community.
The governor, who was represented by his Deputy, Dr Emmanuel Akabe, congratulated the community and the entire Afo nation for their contribution to the development of the state.
He attributed the peace, being enjoyed in the area at the moment, to the concerted efforts by the President Muhammadu Buhari’s administration against insecurity as well as the cooperation from the people.
“I thank 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,” he said.
Sule also lauded the immense contributions of the traditional ruler of the area, “Osu Ajiri”, Alhaji Halilu Bala-Usman, towards ensuring peace in the state.
He assured the community and Afo people of his administration’s committment to better their lots in all areas of governance.
The governor noted that the initiative by the community to build a palace for the village head was commendable, assuring that the government would render the needed support.
Mr Job Osu, President of Odu Elites Development Association, said the essence of the celebration was to showcase and sustain the rich cultural heritage of Afo people to the world.
He said that the event would also enable them to pool resources together for the attainment of set goals, both for the land and its people.
Osu thanked the governor for his efforts at ensuring the return of peace to the area, the various developmental projects as well as appointment of Odu indigenes into his cabinet.
He also appreciated the traditional ruler of Afo community, “Osu-Ajiri”, Alhaji Halilu Bala Usman and the village head of Odu, Yusuf Owuna, for their role in ensuring that their subjects lived in peace with one another.
“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.
“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,” he said.
He pointed out that the Odu Day celebration was part of his executive’s blueprint to unite the people towards restoring peace and foster development of the area.
“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.
Osu assured that the entire Afo nation would continue to give necessary support to government to win the war against insecurity and insurgency in Afo land and Nigeria at large.
Also, retired Commodore Yahaya Owuna, Chairman of the occasion, said the event was apt considering the valuable contributions Odu people made to the society.
He said that the initiative to build a befitting edifice for the village head was commendable and deserved to be supported by all stakeholders.
He, however, urged the children and youth from the area to embrace education and desist from relying on illegal mining as the means of livelihood.
“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,” he said.
On his part, the traditional ruler of Afo nation, “Osu-Ajiri” Bala-Usman, thanked indigenes of Odu Community and Afo land for organising 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,” he added.
Also, Yusuf Owuna, village head of Odu, explained that the day was set aside for Odu indigenes, both at home and in the Diaspora, to embrace one another for the growth and development of the community.
“We are happy for the peace and sanctity we are presently enjoying in our community and surrounding districts.
“We thank Gov. 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,” he said.