By Ernest Omoarelojie
Like every community in Ewohimi, an agrarian town in Esan South East local government area of Edo state, Idumu Unegbemhen quarters has a sizeable number of her indigenes in America, Asia and Europe. Though a number of them have made their marks in their chosen areas of endeavor, each and everyone of them is guided by a unique rule in the manner they conduct themselves wherever they find themselves out the ancestral home. Among other rules, they never forget their root and have always demonstrated a level of connection that sometimes create the impression that they’d love to be home a lot more than they would their current abodes.
Arguably for that, they have maintained a strong connection with the home front, one that makes it imperative for them to take its development as a task that must be done. And they have demonstrated the commitment in sundry ways.
At every given opportunity, they are always there physically or through determined contacts, to ensure things move on back home as they should. For instance, just recently, an indigent indigene of the community passed on. Sadly so, his children were minors, not in any position to take care of Interment requirements. But his community kins in the diaspora came to the rescue as they settled all attendant costs pro Bono.
Over the years, they have left no one in any doubt that the development of their community and well being of the people must be first before all other issues. In recent times, just as they did before, they demonstrated enough commitment in that direction with the examples they set becoming the yardstick for which other nearby communities have adopted as measure for real development. There are several instances.
While the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic raged, the global community was more concerned with measures aimed at curtailing its spread. To that extent, it created and sought to enforce certain prescribed social order that largely restricted movements and confined people indoors. In following the rules, economic activities took a bad hit leaving most people at the mercy of the very inadequate and insufficient handouts from governments, non governmental organizations, NGOs and the like.
But Idumu Unegbemhen community in the diaspora would have none of that or indeed leave their kins back at home at the mercy of happenstance. So, they rallied as always and delivered not just adequate food to the people but also enough cash to every household, particularly those badly hit by the prevailing economic downturn, including widows and the indigent. They kept the flow until relative normalcy returned. Others nearby communities tried the same initiative but ended in chaos.
Not long after, they became settled on the need to electrify their community. The initiative was greeted with encomiums following years of darkness ocassioned by the largely politicized power project in Ewohimi. Before neighbouring community could say Jack, all the nooks and crannies of the entire Idumu Unegbemhen quarters became electrified courtesy the disporan indigenes’solar light initistive. Right now, no one is in any doubt that Idumu Unegbemhen community in the diaspora have the will ot whatever else it takes to make a difference in the life of both their home quarter and kins via real time, people-oriented development. At least, the area is lit from 6pm to 6am every other day. And the people are happier for it.
At the moment, Idumu Unegbemhen quarter is playing host to yet another development initiatives. This time, it is about human capacity development. While the major thrust is still being fine tuned, the first phase has teed off have taken off with women, who had a bad hit from nature, losing their husbands and breadwinner in the process receiving seed money to help shift them away from their dehumanizing toil and till. Now the affected widows can embark on any specific economic activity through which they can transit from living from their current hand to mouth living conditions. And the community is agog over the gesture.
In the main, the real selling point for Idumu Unegbemhen indigenes in the disporan is their ability to team up with any one of their own to undertake development projects for their kins back home. In that way, it is hardly possible for outsiders to realize that most of the projects are actually individual initiatives. The philosophy is basically one for all and all for one given that no individual can do it all.
Not surprisingly, one of their own, Gary Ifada, has been the man hugely responsible for mobilizing his other disporan kins for the greater part of what’s being done. But quiet and unassuming, he would rather wave all off as a token of what God planted in his heart to do for his own people. That much he volunteered in a telephone conversation with this writer.
But one of his coordinators, Wilson Aimhiokhabhor, volunteered more insight. According to him, Gary has indeed, been the man behind it all, adding that he is already making plans for more life changing human capacity development initiatives.
“The widow’s project is just the beginning. He is already planning an education trust fund from which indigent but brilliant young people will be given scholarship to further their education dream while at the same making it possible for others to learn a trade.
Look at what’s going on in Idumu Unegbemhen, Godday is the one leading, from the street light round the community to this widow’s initiative. The rest, including a borehole for the community, will come soon,” Aimhiokhabhor said.
While the plans unfold, one thing is certain. Idumu Unegbemhen community in the diaspora is setting the right examples others want to follow. Except that no other has mastered neither the sense of oneness that exists among them nor the logistical finesse with which they handle projects meant for their community and or kins back home. They hold the ace.