It was a reunion and home coming for a good number of illustrious sons and daughters of the Ika ethnic nationality of Delta State as they converged on Palm Event Centre, Boji Boji Owa, Ika North East Local Government Area, to witness the unveiling of the Ika First Achievers and Events Book, authored by a US based son of the soil, Chief Ika Etumuse, with Solomon Omojie as co – author.
Speakers at the event, which had in attendance traditional, community and religion leaders, politicians, academics, business moguls and entertainers among others, eulogized the authors of the 245 – page book, and advocated intellectual and entrepreneural contributions towards the growth and development of Ika land.
The book, according to the author, Chief Ika Etumuse, is a compendium of Ika first Achievers in all fields of human endeavors with Dr Jim Ovia leading the pack as the first Ika Indigene to establish a bank in Nigeria, immediately followed by another banker, Mr Godwin Emefiele, the first Ika son to be appointed as Governor of Central Bank.
Two hundred and forty seven Ika sons and daughters made the list of honor, including Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, the first Ika man to be elected as Governor of Delta state and the Obi of Igbodo kingdom, Ikechukwu Osedume 1, who is the first king in Ika land to be called to the prestigious Nigeria Bar as a Lawyer.
The Dein of Agbor kingdom, Keagborekuzi Ikenchukwu 1 and the Obi of Owa, Dr Emmanuel Efiezomor 11, were described in the book as men of many first, as well as other notable giants in Ika land, who had made their marks in their chosen endeavors.
Among them are the Chief of Defense Staff, General Lucky Irabor, Mrs Priscilla Eleje of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Most Rev Nicholas Okoh of Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion, Nduka Obaigbena of Thisday Newspaper and Prof Linus Ajabor.
Chief Etumuse, explained that there was the need for Ika sons and daughters who had set records in various fields and the very firsts from the nation to be credited with such achievements.
He said the book intended to recognize and honor such persons for their great accomplishments and to appreciate them for their extraordinary and bold achievements in prism of historical perspective.
The author maintained that the unprecedented recorded feats and chains of important events had promoted the good image of Ika nation, and impacted positively on the generality of the people.
Chief Etumuse noted that the book conveyed an inspirational message on historical principles applicable to the lives of those who could be emulated by millions of younger generations in their quest for success in life.
These principles according to the author, were devotion to knowledge, commitment to excellence and courage to venture into areas that others dreaded, stressing that he had to venture into an aspect that had been neglected in Ika nation.
Chief Etumuse disclosed that the second edition of the book would be published in due course as they were still many great first achievers in Ika nation that had yet to be captured.
Chairman of the event and Professor of Physiology, University of Benin, Leonard Obika, said Chief Etumuse had contributed so much to inspiring others, particularly the people of Ika nation with the compilation of the book.
Professor Obika emphasized the need for all to imbibe the reading culture, urging Ika sons and daughters to acknowledge and appreciate the book painstakingly put together by two of their own, saying that the book would serve as a historical fiction and for academic purposes.
The Rector of Delta State Polytechnic, Ogwashi-Uku, Prof. (Mrs) Stella Chiemeke, who reviewed the book, highlighted its impacts on the Ika nation and the society in general, saying that the book was a clarion call for generations unborn to strive for excellence.
She said the work chronicled Ika historical events and captured over two hundred Ika sons and daughters identified as first achievers in their chosen careers with forty of them dead while others were living legends that had made Ika nation proud.
Prof Chiemeke noted that the book could be obtained on both soft and hard copies, disclosing that the compilation took the author and his team two years of field work before it was completed.
The academic, who also made the list of the Ika first as the first Ika Professor of Computer Science, called on others to emulate the author by contributing to the growth and development of Ika nation, even as she pointed out that being Ika first achiever called for greater responsibility.
The Obi of Igbodo Kingdom, Ikechukwu Osedume 1, who led other special guests to unveil the book, said the journey by the author in building one of Ika ethnic nationality’s most iconic enterprise was an encouragement to other indigenes.
Obi Osedume stated that the book was expected to preserve the history, cultural heritage and tradition of Ika people given the fact that many of them did not know their root, culture and tradition.
He maintained that the book would help to educate, inspire and motivate others to advance the interest of Ika nation.
The Igbodo monarch explained that the author, who incidentally is one of his subjects, had always impressed him with his many feats, especially the publication of the book, despite the daunting challenges that he and his team might have encounted during the field work.
He added that Chief Ika Etumuse possessed many qualities worthy of emulation.
Others who spoke, including the President, Prime League of Nigeria, Mr Alex Onyeabor, Justice Sylverster Ehiwario, Chief Ifieoha Azikiwe and Mr Bright Ndidi, also paid glowing tributes to the author of the book for the initiative and for a good work done in chronicling the landmark records of many illustrious sons and daughters of Ika nation both living and dead.
They called for greater unity in Ika land to engender peace and sustainable development.
The event featured beautiful musical renditions and cultural displays by various dance groups in Ika land.