To the country he is remembered as a principled man who rose from a hitherto obscure background to one of the prominent sons the region has ever produced.
Mr Gaspero Oda, as he was commonly known, was born in 1916 shortly after the last borders of the country were drawn between the Belgians and the British.
Mr Oda, who qualified as a Vernacular teacher from Lodonga Vernacular Teacher Training College in 1946 rose to become the Assistant President General for the Democratic Party (DP) and its National Chairperson latter in the year.
But it’s his steady fastness to stand for what he knew was the correct line, at the time of pre-independence when politicians were switching sides in the legislative assembly, that he is known for.
He was assassinated on the night of 15th September 1979 by unknown gunmen whom up now no investigations have been carried out to find out the facts.
Early Childhood Education
At the age of -5years, he started sneaking from the animal grazing ground to begin interacting with the White Missionaries which was contrary to the will of his parents; because the ancient Lugbara people strongly believed that the Whites had purely come to eat human flesh and that the African flesh was the most delicious for them.
His late father could cane him whenever he came home late. When he was 7years old, he left home to stay in the Mission with the White Missionaries as the Missionaries learned the local language through interacting with children.
He continued studying up to Seminary in Lacor (in current Gulu district) where they used to walk all the way from Arua district with luggage on their heads.
He joined Katigondo Seminary (Buganda Central region).
At the time of being made a Deacon, his late mother pleaded with the missionaries and discouraged him from attaining Priesthood as he was her only son whom she relied on.
His close friend and contemporary, the late Mossinour Alule Isidoro Boroa tried to convince him to continue pursuing the career of Priesthood in vain as he had already taken his mother’s view strongly.
He later joined the Vernacular Teachers’ Training College (V.T.T.C) at Lodonga from where he qualified as a Vernacular Teacher in the 1946.
His teaching career started right from Lodonga in the year 1948, later in 1949, he was posted as a Headteacher to Ediofe Boys’ Primary School.
He became a Research Assistant to John Middleton Murry, who was an anthropologist based in Vurra Sub County, Arua District.
He also worked as a Librarian in Arua Public Library, but was later posted to Adumi Sub County as a Sub County Chief.
Shortly after, in 1953, he decided to join the Native African Government (NA) as Secretary General and this NA later became the current District Local Government (DLG).
In 1954, he joined active politics and rose to Uganda’s Legislative Council (LEGICO) Representative for the Central Nile (the current West Nile) Constituency as part of the first 30 Members of LEGICO in the Country.
From 1956-71, he was the 1st MP for the Central Nile (the current West Nile) Constituency.
In 1961 he was on the Chief Minister’s Delegation to London to negotiate for Uganda’s self-rule.
After independence, he represented Central Nile Constituency in the first Parliament of Uganda on the Democratic Party (DP) ticket.
He also served as the Parliamentary Secretary in the Ministry of Natural Resources.
He was later re-appointed as a Parliamentary Secretary/Deputy Minister to the Ministry of Health and later to the Ministry of Internal Affairs.
Mr Oda was the mover of the Motion to establish a Starch Factory which was later constructed in Lira District, being a nationalist; it did not matter to him in which part of the country the factory would be established.
He was at it again at another time as he moved the Motion to establish the East African Distillery which up to now produces the Uganda Waragi brand. At the time, this product was on high demand and the American market demand could not even be met by the level of production at that time.
He was a principled member of the DP, a nationalist and a unifying factor, so much so that, at one moment in Parliament during a controversial debate, when other members of the DP walked out of the House, he remained in the Parliament, determined to bring unity and harmony in Uganda.
He was married to the (late) Dorotia Ndunzia Oda and the two were blessed with the following children; Martin, Sr. Obetia Anna Opu, Omba Vincent, Alawu Rejina, Totia Charles, Olikuru Duminika, Obideti Gaudensio, Driciru Nikolina, Andrionzi Albet, Obitre George.
Currently, the late Hon. Gaspero Oda is survived by 3 children and a total of 25 grandchildren and several great grandchildren.
He belonged to the Ombaci Abira-Aluru Sub Clan in Cinyara Village, in Manibe Sub County, Ayivu County in Arua District. Mzee Ombadro and Maria Egaru were his father and mother respectively who died later after he had joined school.
As a member of the first Parliament of Uganda, Odaa was among members of parliament who were honoured posthumously for their contribution to Uganda’s independence, he also received the medal of Uganda @50 and the independence medal.
Odaa was a lover of football where he was a goalkeeper at all the institutions he went to. He also loved reading as it always informed his reasoning and debates in the parliament. Infarct, he had a home library where up-to-date, some of the books he used to read are still there.