Our Editor-In-Chief, Yusuf Ozi-Usman, who authored Standard Egbira-English Dictionary and participated in the translation of the Holy Qur’an into Egbira language, among others, took his time off to carefully translate the words spoken in Egbira language, by Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State, to the people of his country home, the Ihima community at a function, on Saturday, September 3, 2022. The speech has been twisted in many circles and has created controversies and generated outcries.
Because of the unique nature of the language, the translation slightly contravenes the English grammatical rules. The tail end of the speech is not included.
Please, read on:
God, God, God, it is you I always lean on, uptil now and till tomorrow. After calling God, we would call the gods: that is why I’m shouting (the name) of the gods of Ihima. After calling God, the Earth, the gods, we would call women. The right way to climb a tree is the right way (I am climbing it).
When you are doing the right thing, you would be courageous. (This is) the first time I’m stepping into the Technical College, first one in Ihima; the land of gods. Therefore, the good tidings we brought are the good that would follow us back to our houses. We will complete the beneficial project we brought (to Ihima) to its logical conclusion and will spread (the project) to Ihima crevices, as well as the Kogi State as a whole, with Nigeria benefiting (in one way or the other).
I want you to deny bad people the pleasure of enjoying their lies.
A few moments in the past, there was misunderstanding. I want (you) to prove that the Ihima we knew, are made up of people that love themselves; bring that glorious moment back and henceforth. I want you to show that Ihima people love themselves, and (I want you to) support Didat, who I chose to be the leader in Okehi, politically, in my cabinet. But administratively, the Executive chairman of Okehi local government area is number one. The two are working in synergy.
Before I continue, I heard a whisper from somewhere that (turned to singing) ‘our Ihima fellows, if I were to say, are the sensible, kind ones, why don’t we imitate them; the rest of Egbira people? Ihima insists that they love themselves. They don’t hate themselves.’
When this government came, I discovered that there was hatred (amongst the people). The issue of clan should not be used negatively. Even if you resort to clannish leaning, it should not be the basis for division, to the point of killing one another, as it was done in the past.
When this government came, we were constructing roads, providing water, electricity, schools, hospitals and the rest.
Other governments before my government did not achieve one-third of my achievements, especially, in Egbira land. It is a truism that if you don’t have executive power, even if you are a Senate President, you cannot do all such developmental infrastructure.
Therefore, the power which God gives me is meant to develop the state and in doing so, we have heard all sort of criticisms. Some of our detractors were pointing dangerous fingers at us. We ignored such criticisms that are not justified. I continued to caution my people to ignore such critics because they didn’t know what they were doing.
But from henceforth, we will not tolerate dangerous fingers being pointed at us. This time around, even a bad finger pointed at us from the distance, we will chop off such finger. We will seek God’s backing, put our feet firmly on the ground and call to the gods and cut off the finger. It is not because of us; it is because we will not allow anybody to take us back to the bad past. God will not allow it.
We must complete our good plans for the state. We will not beg anyone to ask us to do the good thing we set ourselves to achieve. We must do it.
Therefore, the upcoming politics (campaign) will be hot for those who want to prove difficult; the good ones have no problem. For those who want to play hot, I will personally give them fire. I will personally be in the forefront with firelight to touch the side of the body of such bad people. Whoever survives should thank God. To be forewarned is to be forearmed. Before now, we used to appeal but now we are warning, not begging.
After seeing what we are doing and what we have achieved, whether you are a man or a woman or Egbira or none Egbira, and you don’t acknowledge them, I’m ready for such people squarely. I expect all the traditional rulers, who are the owners of the communities, to begin to call everybody in their domains to caution their children that are bad. No father should allow his child to call him, because when a child is calling his father, it is a sign of bad omen.
May God grant our prayers in Mosques, Churches and through herbalists for good thing for us, because what I wish for myself is good thing. My mother asked me all through her life to be doing good and that is what I will continue to do. My mother did not wish bad for other person’s child, so anyone who wishes me bad, such bad thing will go back to him. Such bad person will go and lie with my mother (in the grave) and be serving her till we join them.
I’m fully ready from now on. If I send a message through anybody and the person delivers wrong message, he will see the other side of me. Even if you murmur inside your room and I ask that you should be brought to me and whoever fails to bring you should be ready to be dealt with in lieu of you.
That’s why I am saying it loud and clear for all the people in Kogi. The bad people who are determined to continue in their bad ways, some of them older than me, will see the other side of me. Let them know that I can handle “weree Chimengwu” (reference to gun in a slang) more than them.
I want you to record and play this message, and send it far and wide to them to hear me out. We have done good things and will continue to do them. Those bad people want to continue in their old ways and if I cannot defend the good things I have done in Kogi, then I will consider myself a failure. And I am not a failure.
When it is time, we will hand over to whoever we like, for them to continue with our good work. Whoever has bad habit, no matter how small, should stop it or be ready to vomit it by force.