” Men make history and not the other way round. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better”. —Harry S. Truman
The quintessential and erudite Gen. Ede Gabriel Ode (Rtd) whom has graceously harkened to the call for the emancipation of the Igede people was born on the 15th September, 1963 to the family of Mr. and Mrs. Ode Ede of Ameka-Owo, Oju Local Government Area, Benue State. He attended the Wesley Transferred Primary School, Ameka-Owo from 1969 to 1977. Upon the completion of his primary education, he proceeded to the prestigious Wesley High School Otukpo, from 1978 – 81 for his secondary school education and, upon completion, he gained admission to the Nigerian Defence Academy in 1983 as a member of Regular Course 34. He was commissioned 2nd Lieutenant on 4th July 1986 and posted to the Nigerian Army Engineers Corps.
In the course of his military service, Gen. Ode (Rtd) attended various development courses, to wit: Infantry Young Officers Course; Engineer Young Officers Course; Anti-Tank Platoon Commanders Course; Engineer Officers’ Equipment Course; Engineer Officers’ Squadron Commanders Course; Construction Management Course; Junior Division Course GAFC, Teshie, Ghana; Senior Staff Course AFCSC; Higher Defence Management Course; National Defence College, Nigeria, Strategic Disaster Management Course, CMC, Lagos, among others.
Furthermore, beside the courses, he attended while in the military and his high-flying military career, Gen. Ode (Rtd) also has Masters of Science (MSc) in Strategic Studies from the University of Ibadan; MSc in Strategic Management and Policy Studies from the Nigerian Defence Academy in 2020. He is also an alumni of Harvard Kennedy Business School. Recently, he was conferred with an Honorary Doctorate Degree by EDEXCEL University.
Poitions held while in service
While in service, Gen. Ode (Rtd) held several appointments, including Platoon Commander, Military Assistant to Commander Corps of Engineers and Customs Administrator during the Abacha years, Company Commander, Regiment Commander, Engineer Brigade Commander, Directing Staff Senior Staff Course AFCSC, Jaji, Public Relations Officer and College Spokesman AFCSC, Chief Instructor Combat Engineering Wing Nigerian Army School of Military Engineering, Makurdi, Chief Instructor Junior Division AFCSC, Jaji, Directing Staff National Defence College Nigeria. Others include Deputy Commandant Nigerian Army School of Military Engineering, Makurdi, Director Nigerian Army Transformation Army Headquarters, Abuja, Director Engineering Services Defence Headquarters, Abuja.
The Last 3 appointments he held before retirement from active Service of the Nigerian Army on the 7th August, 2020 include:
*Deputy Commandant/Director of Studies, National Defence College Nigeria
*Rector, Nigerian Army Institute of Technology and Environmental Studies /Coordinator Nigerian Army University, Biu and
*Coordinator, Nigerian Army Special Projects, Office of the Chief of Army Staff (COAS)
Honours and decorations
Gen Ode (Rtd) has the following decorations and honours:
General Service Star; Field Command Medal; General Service Medal; Pass Staff Course (+); Fellow Defence College Medal (c +); Chief of Army Staff Commendation Award 1991; First in Order of Merit in a class of 210 participants; Captain to Major Practical Promotion Examination; Chief of Army Staff Commendation Award 1993; Best Foreign Student and Second in Order of Merit, Ghana Armed Forces Command and Staff College Chief of Army Staff Medal 2017; Invention of Ode Rechargeable Blasting Device used in Reserved Demolition/detonation of explosives; Nigerian Army Research Medal of Honor 2018; and Invention of Ode Rechargeable Blasting Device. It is interesting to note that the Device was named after him as the lead researcher in the innovation.
Ode Rechargeable Blasting Device (ORDB) is used in the Nigerian Army in place of the British Dynamo Condenser Exploder for demolition activities. The Device is made of locally sourced materials. So far, a total of 210 pieces have been fabricated at a cost of N24,000,000.00. If imported, the 210 pieces are estimated to cost the Nigerian Army the sum of N252,000,000.00 at N1,200,000.00 apiece. The innovation has saved the country substantial amount of foreign exchange and improved operational efficiency in counter terrorism operations. The device has both civil and military applications.
Gen. Ode (Rtd) is a Visiting Lecturer, Army War College, Nigeria; Visiting Lecturer and External Examiner, National Defence College; Consultant, Nigerian Army Resource Center; Associate Member, Harvard Business School; Fellow, National Defence College; Fellow, Nigerian Army Resource Center, Member, National Institute of Management.
In recognition of Gen. Ode (Rtd)’s contributions to community development and quality representation in Igede nation, he was conferred with chieftaincy titles, including:
*AKWUMADA 1 IYECHE (1st Shied of Iyeche)
*OMAGA I AINU (Ainu 1st Warrior)
*INAWUOBAHI 1of Igede Land
As Lao Tzu said, “a leader is best when people barely know he exists, when his work is done, his aim fulfilled, they will say: we did it ourselves. Gen Ede Ode( rtd) is a community man who is well committed to community service. His personal philosophy is “doing good without announcing your deeds” . This is a brief highlight of some of the contributions that Gen. Ede Ode (Rtd) has made for the development of Igede nation and human society in general:
a.Granting of non-interest loan to 270 market women and widows in Oju Local Government Area, Benue State to boost their small scale business and petty trading;
b.Sinking of boreholes in many communities in Igede, including Ameka-Owo, Ukpute-Ainu, Opirikwu, Onyike/Ihiejwo Market, Imoho, Ibilla, among others;
c.Commissioning and recruitment of some Igede indigenes into the Armed Forces of Nigeria as well as facilitating employment into FIRS and Defence Intelligence Agency;
d.Conducting a seminar to address the challenges of substance abuse on youths with representation from 14 secondary schools in Oju and Obi Local Government Areas;
e.Construction of a state-of-the-art hotel at Oju Local Government Area for hospitality and good accommodation for tourists and other visitors to Igede nation;
f.Contribution to Igede Health Insurance Scheme to address critical health issues in Oju and Obi Local Government Areas;
g.Contribution of funds and palliatives to IDPs in Igede as a result of communal clashes;
h.Contribution of funds for the rehabilitation and rebuilding of damaged houses in Ukpute-Ainu;
i.Contribution to the construction of Omi Ny’ Igede Hall in Makurdi, Benue State;
j.Contribution of funds for the rehabilitation of Alaide-Itogo-Obarike Road being handled by Igede in 2023 Movement to ease the sufferings of Igede people and other road users due to the closure of the Awajir-Oju Roads by the Government of Benue State as a result of Bonta-Ukpute Boundary Dispute;
k.Facilitation of goodwill donation of a whooping sum of N1,500,000.00 by the League of Idoma Retired Generals for the rehabilitation of Alaide-Itogo-Obarike Road that is being handled by Igede in 2023 Movement;
l.Collaboration efforts at addressing security issues in Benue State in general and Igede in particular. Undoubtedly, Gen. Ode (Rtd) is a stakeholder in security and military intelligence and his contributions to peace-building are timelessly needed, notwithstanding his retirement from active service.
m.Bringing the League of Idoma Retired Generals and some political heavyweights to Igede nation to celebrate Igede New Yam Festival, popularly known as Igede Agba. The event was organized by Gen. Ode (Rtd) to showcase Igede rich culture and tradition to his friends and colleagues from other tribes to attract tourism to Igede land and to also draw their attention to some of the challenges facing his people-Igede nation.
After 37 years of meritorious Service to the father land, General Ode has gathered great experiences with solid network both within and outside the country. He intends to leverage on his Service knowledge and experiences to network and attract policies that can impact the development of Igede land. This is against the background of poor development of Igede nation comprising Oju and Obi Local Government Areas.
According to Gen. Ede Ode (rtd), “we cannot afford to stay aloof while our people continue to suffer as according to Walter Rodney, He who sits on the fence is either a traitor or an ora saboteur”. The House of Representatives through the PDP in 2023 provides a credible platform for General Ede Ode to leverage his experience and status for the development of Igede nation.
It is our expectation that if Major General Ede Ode (Rtd) is elected into the House of Representatives in 2023, he will focus on the following:
*Work towards sustained security and peaceful co-existence among Igede people with deep respect for traditional rulers that remain the eternal signatures of our race.
*Occupy a platform in the House of Representatives that will make Igede race visible in national political consciousness.
*Network to attract policies that would impact infrastructural development including roads, electricity and potable water supply through integrated bore hole system in communities.
*Ensure transparent and judicious use of funds released for community projects through consultations including frequent town hall meetings.
*Sponsor Bills that address peculiar challenges of the minority ethic tribes in Nigeria.
*Speciﬁcally work to ensure the construction of Otukpo-Obi-Oju- Agbe federal roads ,Aliade – Oju Road, Aliade Obarike Ito Road and other community Roads.
*Work to ensure establishment of good hospitals in Zones A, B and C councilwards.Work with Igede Health Insurance stake holders to expand their services to communities.
*Assist in the construction of lockup stores for farmers to store farm produce to minimize losses
*Attract foreign investors to establish industries based on comparative advantage in mineral and agricultural resources.
*Development of Onyike/ Ihejwo and Obarike Ito Markets to become daily markets as nodal business centres.
*Establish synergy with Igede sons and daughters in diaspora to attract investments through collaboration with NGOs and other corporate donors.
*Lobby for employment of Igede sons and daughters State and Federal appointments.
From the foregoing, it is needless to say that Gen. Ode (Rtd) is a trailblazer, a pathfinder, a harbinger of hope, a generational military ace and a cerebral Igede personality .Undoutedlly, he is not only a gift to Igede nation but also to the entire country.
With his tall credentials, competence, track records and rare personality of class and distinction, I can categorically say that Gen. Ode (Rtd) is a man of *3c – character, courage and charisma.He is an epitome of excellence, humility, deligence, pragmatism and nationalism.
Giiven the above qualities of this great son of Agba and the huge respect he commands across the country, It is my conviction that, Gen Ode (Rtd) has the capacity, the charisma and all the necessary negotiation skills of a good leader to present/represent Igede’s position/interest before other ethnic nationalities, for fair and equitable distribution of political positions in Benue State, come 2023 and beyond. His experience, capacity, connections, resources, track records and excellent character are, in my view, crucial for Igede nation at this moment of our political and developmental life.
To this end, I propose that Igede nation should deliberately and unreservedly, as a matter of necessity, support him in his quest to present good represention. For him, it is service and just service. He has gladly harkened to the call to join politics and to provide leadership and representation to Igede. Let us therefore leverage on his rare antecedents and leadership qualities to foster qualitative representation come 2023. Igede should get it right this time.
It is therefore imperative that all men of goodwill should support Gen. Ede Ode(Rtd) for House of Representatives, Oju/ Obi Federal Constituency come 2023. He has very practical and potent strategies to fostering the development of Igede. He promises to use his wide and varied network, contact and experience for the common good of the Igede nation. He shall effectively mobilize and lobby Government agencies and institutions for the attraction of opportunities for our youths.
Andyson Iji Egbodo
Gen. Ede Ode Campaign Organisation