It was a reunion and homecoming for a good number of illustrious sons and daughters of Ika ethnic nationality in Delta State as they converged at 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 Ika nation, Chief Ika Etumuse and co-authored by Solomon Omojie.
Speakers at the event which had in attendance traditional, community and religious leaders, politicians, academicians, business moguls and entertainers amongst others, eulogized the authors of the 245-page book, just as they advocated for intellectual and entrepreneurial contributions towards the growth and development of Ika land.
According to the author, Chief Ika Etumuse, the book is a compendium of Ika first Achievers in all fields of human endeavours 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.
125 Ika sons and daughters made the list of honour, including Senator (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, the first Ika man to be elected as a Governor of a state in Nigeria and the Obi of Igbodo kingdom, HRM Ikechukwu Osedume 1, who is the first king in Ika land to be called to the prestigious Nigerian Bar as a Lawyer.
The Dein of Agbor kingdom, HRM Keagborekuzi Ikenchukwu 1 and the Obi of Owa, Dr Emmanuel Efiezomor 11, were described in the book as men of many firsts as well as other notable giants in Ika land, who have carved niches for themselves in their chosen life endeavours, including the Chief of Defense Staff, General Lucky Irabor, Mrs Priscilla Eleje of Central Bank of Nigeria, Most Rev Nicholas Okoh of Church of Nigeria Anglican Communion, Nduka Obaigbena of Thisday Newspaper and Prof Linus Ajabor, were highlighted in the book.
Chief Etumuse, explained that there was the need for Ika Sons and Daughters who have set records in various fields and the very firsts from the nation to be credited with such achievements.
He said the book intends to recognize and honour these persons for their great accomplishments as well as to appreciate them for their extraordinary and bold achievements in the prism of historical perspective.
The author maintained that the unprecedented recorded feats and chains of important events had promoted the good image of the Ika nation, and impacted positively on the generality of the people.
Chief Etumuse equally noted that the book conveys an inspirational message on history and principles that are applicable in the lives of those who can serve as mentors to millions of younger generations on how to succeed.
These principles according to the author, are devotion to knowledge, commitment to excellence and courage to dare in areas where others fear, stressing that he had to venture into such aspects that had been neglected in Ika Nation.
Chief Etumuse disclosed that the second edition of the book will be published in due course as there were still many great first achievers in Ika nation that are yet to be unveiled.
Chairman of the event, a Professor of Physiology, University of Benin, Professor Leonard Obika, said Chief Etumuse had contributed so much to inspire others, particularly the people of Ika nation with the compilation of the book.
Prof Obika emphasized the need for all to cultivate the culture of reading, urging Ika Sons and Daughters to acknowledge and appreciate the book that was painstakingly put together by two of their own, saying that the book would serve as 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 to Ika nation and the society in general, saying that the book is a clarion call for even generations unborn to strive for excellence.
She said the work chronicled Ika historical events and housed over two hundred Ika Sons and Daughters identified as first achievers in their chosen careers with forty of them dead while others are living legends that have made Ika nation proud.
Prof Chiemeke pointed out that the book could be obtained in both soft and hard copies, disclosing that the compilation took the author and his team two years of fieldwork before it was completed.
The academia who also made the list of the Ika first as the first Ika Professor of Computer Science called on others to emulate the author is 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, HRM (Barr) 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 enterprises is an encouragement to other citizens.
Obi Osedume stated that the book is expected to preserve the history, heritage, culture and tradition of Ika people given the fact that many of Ika origin don’t 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 by his many feats especially with the publication of the book, despite the daunting challenges that the team might have encountered during fieldwork.
He added that Chief Ika Etumuse possesses many qualities worthy of emulation.
Others who spoke, including the President, Prime League of Nigeria, Mr Alex Onyeabor, Justice Sylvester Ehiwario, Chief Ifieoha Azikiwe and Mr Bright Ndidi, also paid glowing tributes to the author of the book for the initiative and for the 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 and for peace and sustainable development.
The event featured beautiful musical rendition and cultural display by various dance groups in Ika land.