Contributor's Opinion

The Wholesale Politics of History of Destruction of Lou Ariik County: Who wants to change history of 13th century only in 21st century?

By Ariik Atekdit

Local residents celebrating creation of Arik Lou County in Tonj(Photo: supplied)
Local residents celebrating creation of Arik Lou County in Tonj(Photo: supplied)

April 9, 2017(Nyamilepedia) ——- Last year Tonj State lobbied for the creation of more counties and the intellectuals indeed projected the long existent chieftaincies (traditional administrative units) to be promoted to administrations in order to qualify for more counties. Lou Ariik happened to be one of the localities that have emerged into county status with its correct name and its administration at Alabek Headquarters.

Tonj State considers itself the biggest among the newly created 32 states in South Sudan; it does this by reflecting on its historical localities that had existed before the arrival of British Colonialists to the Sudan, these localities includes Lou Ariik area. And Lou Ariik had existed before the creation of the former Tonj District in Bahr el Ghazal region.

Upon the announcement of counties an unidentified complaint arises in the far north of Tonj State among some individuals in Lou Ariik County who wrestled their phones to conduct a downbeat campaign that should disqualify Lou Ariik as a name of the county. These individuals abused our history and cheaply preach for hatred against a particular clan/family and nag that the county’s official name must not contain the name of a person (the name of a person being Ariik in this case).

In the recent time other clans took a negative campaign that has set Pateek Clan a total victim of the money influenced movement against the clan and the name of the county. The campaign was (is) strongly funded by the profound businessmen from Lou Ariik Community. Almost all the businesspersons from the community who happened to be from non-Pateek Clan spent a lot of money to divert people’s minds from their originalities, some members of the community were made to hate their own history that makes them as Lou Ariik.

Most of the people that opposed the name of Lou Ariik County have continued to suggest that our county’s name should be officially called: Alabek County. For quite some times we have been telling guys that Alabek is one of the many villages in Lou Ariik locality which has just grown into a small town centre and cannot take over the geographical capacity and territory of the whole Lou Ariik region to deserve county’s name.

It is Lou Ariik that has the vast territory and geographical recognition; bordering Nuer (Kuac & Gok) of Northern Liec State in the north, Gogrial State to the northwest, Konggor to the west, Awan-Parek to the south and Apuk Padoc to the East. Alabek is a mere village like other villages at the central of Lou Ariik County and it will serve as the Headquarters and the seat of the Administration, there is nothing wrong about that. An administrative centre cannot take up the name of a greater region.

In a similar situation we have the Republic of South Sudan with the capital in Juba. South Sudanese cannot change the name of their country to be called as the Republic of Juba just because Juba serves as the government administrative headquarters like what Alabek does for Lou Ariik people. What if we decide to change the county’s Headquarters to Majak or Ayod areas? Shall we continue to change the name of the county as we relocate the county administrative centres? The County’s Headquarters can be movable but the county’s name and the people always remain permanent. This is what we must understand as soon as possible, to avoid any misunderstandings ahead of us. Our unity must be protected in Lou Ariik County.

Severally we have explained it again and again that our identity as a people is not vested on Alabek Village which has currently turned into county’s Headquarters. We are all over the world being recognized as the People of Lou Ariik for hundreds of centuries. What is the problem today? If we had been very popular in greater Rek of Bahr el Ghazal region and beyond for this name, then what is particular today?

Various governments emerged and perished and left this region behind with its correct name of Lou Ariik. The British Colonialists get us as the people of Lou Ariik and left without editing out any single letter. The Jalaba administrations of Sudan left us as Lou Ariik. And moreover, the SPLM administration in the bush had governed the same territory and population using the name of Lou Ariik? What is being disputed now is truly vague. What are these people trying to correct today? What is offensive in this name that some people want to correct? And until when did it turn offensive?

To the best of my knowledge there is nothing wrong with the name of Lou Ariik because we have been referred to this name for so long and we had pronounced this name proudly to other communities as our identity during several introductions with our new friends. Who can untie what Agak and Ariik Nyirkuac had tied during their covenant (godly agreement) in nearly 13th century?

The business community of Lou Ariik can correctly tell us what is behind their interests of this afflict chase to change the name of Lou Ariik. Is it that they have thought to themselves that it is not any possible to call this great region after the name of Ariik? What gain will they make out of that? These businesspersons from Lou Ariik have many times forged visits to President Kiir in order to lobby for contracts and indeed they have become rich. We thought that the wealth can be turned positively to develop our new county but never did I know that they would demand a change of history and identity in order to erect themselves in history of 21st century in Lou Ariik area.

It became bold and clear when our businesspersons assigned and earmarked Mr. Abur Achol Chol to stay committed to change the name and history of Lou Ariik County. The heavy usage of money to mobilize the illiterate and local population to blindly dislike the name of Lou Ariik and shift for Alabek can tell us that the availability of money in the hands of these individuals is really very dangerous.

But can you change histories because you are rich or because one has gained powers and certain authority over a community in our modern days? Recently President Kiir Mayardit has decreed his own birthplace as Awan Chan County in Gogrial State.

Awan is the name of the region while Chan is the name of the ancestral chief to whom the locality has been historical named. Why hasn’t President Kiir changed the name of his county from Awan Chan County to Akon County because indeed Akon is the administrative base of Awan Chan County? President Kiir is just an honest man and doesn’t want to delete the ancient history of Awan Chan community. Our rich community in Lou Ariik must equally adopt what President Kiir has done in his county.

We can easily know that because we have Lou Paher, Lou Noi, Lou Aguer Geng and Lou Nuer; it is not any suitable to name our county as merely Lou County. Why? Because the question of specification will still remain unanswered. Which Lou in particular? Ours in this case is specifically Lou Ariik County.

One of the businessmen from Lou Ariik community has said that “regions cannot be called after the traditional founders/leaders”, making him to aim for the renaming Lou Ariik County to only administrative centre because he knows in the modern times it is money and riches that talk louder than anything. If this is the case; will Donald Trump change the name of Washington DC?

For we know indeed that “Washington DC” is named after an ancestral American President of old days. It was previously named as the District of Columbia. Will Donald Trump change the name of Washington DC into something else just like what Mr. Abur Chol and Mr. Kuolmanut Kuol Dau are trying to do in Lou Ariik County? For we know that Donald Trump is rich and at his capacity as a new President of USA, he can have an authority to carry out any alteration.

In 2012 Lou Ariik people elected Abur Chol as the community chairperson but he was not to go as far as changing our identity of Lou Ariik to Alabek town centre. I don’t think that we can afford to let go our history and identity with Lou Ariik and cheaply change for Alabek village.

The name Lou Ariik County is not meant to promote Pateek Clan as others currently assume, the history vested in Lou Ariik is not only for Pateek Clan but for the entire members and other clans that are found in the county. The name has come in a similar situation that has allowed Awan Chan County to exist in Gogrial State and Machar Tong County in Aweil East State. These counties bear the names of counties compounded with their respective founders/chiefs and it has nothing to do with the family and descendants.

Most of us today live in Juba city in Jubek State. In reality Jubek is an exact name of a particular Bari Chief that had lived along the Nile River in the current Juba city. The state now is being called after his name and the Bari Community have not staged any protest against the naming. Similarly we have read it in various history textbooks that there was a King name as Gbudue of the Azande people of Sudan. Today we have Gbudue State with its capital at Yambio.

By the way South Sudanese need to be informed that Yambio was a son to Gbudue and was killed and buried in the place we currently called Yambio. Nobody among the Azande people have stage a protest against the name of Gbudue State with its capital Yambio (the father and the son). Tombura, the other son to King Gbudue who was killed and buried in Tombura town has now being promoted to Tombura State and we have heard no complaints among the Azande Community. What is wrong with Lou Ariik County? All these names of the states and counties were decreed by the same President.

The author is a concern South Sudanese. He can be reached at ariqdudic@gmail.com

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