In Asa traditional Cum Cultural settling, the ‘Ikoro’ is seldomly beaten. It may, therefore, not be surprising to learn that a village or community within Asa Socio-Cultural Milieu could stay up to seven years without beating the ‘Ikoro’. This, therefore, means that any time the ‘Ikoro’ is beaten in Asa land, any body that hears it would spontaneously conclude that something very spectacular and uncommon has either happened or is about taking place.
When in 1964, the then Premier of the defunct Eastern Region of Nigeria; the Late Dr. M.I. Okpara, visited Asa land and was accorded a very befitting reception at the premises of Asa County Council at Obehie-Asa, the ‘Ikoro’ in Asa land was beaten.
The ‘Ikoro’ was to be beaten again in Asa land in 1982 when the Late Governor of the Old Imo State, Chief Sam. Mbakwe (PH.D) came to Obehie-Asa to thank Asa people for their support for his government.
Tomorrow, Saturday 28th December, 2013, the ‘Ikoro’ will again be sounded loud and clear to herald the presence of a quintessential Servant-Leader and a very credible friend of the people of Asa, His Excellency, Governor Theodore Ahamefule Orji (Ochendo Global), the Executive Governor of Abia State, in Asa land.
The people of Asa, who are administratively known as Ukwa-West Local Government Area of Abia State, will bestow honour that is unprecedented on Governor T.A. Orji tomorrow; Saturday 28 December, 2013 at Central School, Obehie- Asa, in appreciation of all he has been doing for them.
Asa people have had a Chequered history starting from the era of British Colonialism, passing through the first Nigerian Republic to military dictatorship and even upto the first phase of the fourth republic. It is a known fact that the second Oil well to be drilled and exploited in Nigeria, after that of Olobiri in 1956 in the present-day Bayelsa State, is that of Owaza in 1957 by the Shell Petroleum Development Company; S.P.D.C; formally known as Shell British Petroleum.
Currently-speaking, functional Oil and Gas Wells in Asa communities of Owaza, Uzuaku, Umuorie, Umuokwor, Umukalu and Umunteke are sixty while there are fifteen marginal Oil and Gas wells. Further exploration, would surely unveil many more Oil Wells in Asa land. A very unique feature of the Oil produced in Asa land, especially from Umuorie, is the fact that Asa produces a very high quality Oil used in the aviation sector. Asa, therefore, is a land abundantly blessed by God, who deliberately and divinely, made her land prolific with hydro-carbon. Of course, any one that is familiar with the Holy Scripture would not be surprised as why God generously deposited His blessings in Asa land, knowing that Asa people are descendants of the highly-piously rated King Asa of Judah, as recorded in the Holy Bible.
Regrettably, inspite of the enormous benefits previous governments in Abia State derived through the economic significance of the wealth in Asa land, no governor, in any way, appreciated Asa people as the foundation on which the economy of the State rests. Asa people had made numerous concerted efforts for previous administrations to set up a Commission or Agency that could carter for the interest of the Oil-producing areas of Abia State but their request fell on a brick wall.
But as soon as Chief T.A. Orji mounted the saddle of Abia leadership, he wasted no time in facilitating the establishment of Abia State Oil-Producing Area Development Commission; ASOPADEC. He subsequently appointed an illustrious son of Asa land as the Chairman of the Commission.
ASOPADEC has been untiring in ameliorating the economic situation of Asa people. On the instruction of Governor T.A. Orji, ASOPADEC bought and donated to each of the twenty-six traditional Rulers in Asa a captivating magnificent Jeep Car.
Governor T.A. Orji has been comparatively magnanimous in carrying along the people of Asa in his administration. Asa sons and daughters have served and are still serving in his administration as Commissioners and Special Advisers.
Before the emergence of Governor T.A. Orji, appointment of an indigene of Asa into the Board of Niger Delta Development Commission, N.D.D.C; was characterized by unwarranted obstacles, rancour and deceit. But since he became Governor, the situation has, to the delight of Asa people, changed.
Chief T.A. Orji strongly believes that for any polity to advance towards economic survival, sustenance and freedom, the health of the people must be given optimum consideration. To this effect, he has built many health facilities in Asa land and has, equally importantly, rehabilitated and refurbished the hitherto moribund General Hospital at Okeikpe; being the headquarters of Ukwa-West Local Government Area.
In his agrarian revolution currently going on in the State, the governor has established a plantain plantation at Okeikpe and his administration is presently training fifty sons and daughters of Asa in various skills of agricultural know-how in the said plantation.
His administration’s youth empowerment programme has touched Asa sons and daughters in a very special way.
As it is well known, no society can thrive well in a State of insecurity. Asa people may recall with nostalgia that in 2010, they were confronted with a holocaust that almost amounted to their extinction because of kidnapping and general insecurity. It got to an extent where Asa people had to desert their homes and painfully became worse refugees than they were when they fled their homes during the Nigerian/ Biafran war. It took the compassionate, courageous, bold and decisive intervention of Governor T.A. Orji, in admirable synergy with President Goodluck Jonathan, to restore security and safety in Asa land, as the hoodlums and urchins led by the notorious Osisikankwu were wiped out.
Asa people, by their very unique nature, are given to gratitude. They do not fail to appreciate whoever that shows them genuine friendship and love. Hence, they will tomorrow; Saturday 28 December 2013 accord a Grand ‘Oil Coloured’ Civic reception to Governor T.A Orji at Obehie-Asa.
The traditional Rulers of Asa Ethnic Nationality will, in the most glamorous paraphernalia of their royalty, confer the very unique title of Okpohuru Mba 1 of Asa, a title that connotes restoration of security and safety in Asa land and the subsequent return of Asa people from the places they had fled to as refugees, on Governor T.A. Orji.
Asa people, being the most friendly and hospitable in the South-East region of Nigeria, invite all Abians and friends of Asa people to this epoch-making occasion tomorrow; Saturday 28th December, 2013 at Central school, Obehie-Asa. It could be that Asa people, having been without one of their own as a Judge of the High Court since the death of Late Justice Emma Nwogu more than Fifteen years ago, may now have the opportunity of having one of their numerous qualified Lawyers appointed a Judge; courtesy of Ochendo. Now that Governor T.A. Orji has graciously lifted ban on employment, it is not unlikely that Okpohuru Mba 1 of Asa will, in his characteristic magnanimity, give special employment allocation to Asa youths, as the only Oil and Gas producing people of Abia State. Come one ! Come all !!
Chief (Sir) Don Ubani, Ksc, JP
(Okwubunka of Asa)
Chairman of Media And Publicity Committee
Umuiku-Isi-Asa Autonomous Community
P.M.B. 7048, Aba
19th December, 2013