Friday, 24 October 2014


Chief Abu Shuluwa has always been steadfast in his stance on the Idoma-Tiv dichotomy. He has always been an Apostle of the Tiv position in the divide between the Two tribes and therefore cannot be seen in other lights. The Chief has always made himself the usually available vehicle for expressing Tiv sentiments especially against power shift between the Idoma and the Tiv in Benue State.

Abu King Shuluwa believes he can only be relevant in Tiv land if he projects and propagate the Tiv-Idoma hate syndrome.

It is however surprising that he should come out to seek a way for the Idoma by exposing the secret of why the Tiv would not want to shift groundfor the Idoma in Benue State. He must have either been bugged by new Idoma syndrome or has become an Idoma Man himself.

Every Idoma Man knows about the Tiv fear of the Idoma Man: that the Idoma Man if given the opportunity, would outclass the Tiv Man!

Chief Shuluwa affirmed this when in his interviews of 30th January 2014 in Daily Trust Newspaper and in Daily Sun Newspaper of 6th October 2014, he acknowledged that the Idoma people have credible candidates to be Governor of Benue State and their only crime is that they would take everything and forget the Tiv completely! He also acknowledges that "as it is in the state today, if we want to strictly follow zoning, we will say the governorship slot should go to Idoma." This acknowledgement more than anything, is the crux of the matter. No-one especially no 'reasonable' Tiv person would want to strictly follow zoning when the Idoma tribe is under consideration. The Tiv must completely forget the Idoma and go for "Ya na iangba".

It is in this light that the politics of Benue has always been played! In the Civil Service, junior officers of Tiv extraction are often brought in and super-imposed over their Idoma seniors because of the fear exposed by King Shuluwa. For instance, in the Judiciary where seniority and ranking were most respected, Justice Eko was the most senior Judge in the State Judiciary when Justice Terna Puusu retired as Chief Judge. In Shuluwa's mindset, Eko is the Idoma Man who if given a position, will forget the Tiv Man completely. So, Eko was bypassed for Justice Iorhen Hwande, his Junior who will not forget his Tiv people to take over!

Similarly, Mr. Augustine Ode from Oju was the most senior Permanent Secretary when Mr. Iordye, a 'loyal' Tiv Civil Servant on grade level 12, was uplifted and made Head of Service. Mr. Emmanuel Okpe was the only Director at the Benue Internal Revenue Board when Mr. Andrew Ayabam was sacked. Because as an Idoma Man, Okpe will forget the Tiv Man completely if we agree with Shuluwa; an Assistant Director, Mr. Asen was made his Boss. Thus it is to protect the Tiv Man from being forgotten that no Idoma Man can earn promotion to the rank of Director or Permanent Secretary in the Civil Service.

Conversely or in absolute contrast to Shuluwa's contention that "when the Idoma Man is at the helm of offairs, he forgets the Tiv Man completely, the Idoma instead forgets the Idoma Man in favour of the Tiv Man. In 2003, Senator David Mark incurred the wrath of his kith and kin when he stood solidly behind the re-election of George Akume as Governor. Then, the Idoma Man in the person of Senator David Mark and the teaming voters of Zone C who tilted the votes in favour of George Akume must have become Tiv. If not, why did they not forget the Tiv man completely at such a crucial time?

When Senator Mark ascended the President of the Senate, he included the Tiv in his team by appointing a Tiv Man from Tarka Local Government as one of his Special Assistant. He also facilitated the appointment of a number of Tiv on Boards of Federal Government Parastatals and Institutions. Everyone knows that the current Minister of State for Trade and Investment, Drzm Samuel Ortom was Mark's candidate. May-be these Tivs are now Idoma because they benefited from Mark's largesse.

The late Deputy Governor, Chief Ogiri Ajene and former Deputy Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly, Mr. Ralph Igbago must have been Tiv Men when they 'donated' votes cast in their favour at the 2006 Governorship primaries to enable Gabriel Suswam defeat Chief Mike Onoja, an Idoma Man! In the 2011 general elections, the entire Tiv nation voluntarily rejected Gabriel Suswam who then had to fall back on the Idoma to scale through his re-election. Was Gabriel the Idoma Man that the Tiv were afraid of?

Comrade Abba Patrick Moro is the Minister of Interior. He did not discriminate between the Tiv and Idoma in appointments and awards of contracts. Ask Mr. Mathias Buyan, a Tiv Man from Gaav in Konshisha Local Government area. Abba Moro, as an Idoma Man who the Tiv should fear would forget them when at the helm of affairs, did not block the award of the most outstanding contract given out by his Ministry to Mr. Buyan. May-be, the Minister mistook Mr. Buyan as an Idoma Man from Okpokwu Local Government Area.

At the Federal Medical Centre, Makurdi, Dr. Mathias Oyigeya was Medical Director. All his top Management Committee members are Tiv whom he personaly selected. His Secretary and technical Assistant or right hand man are Tivs. He also did not think and act like the Idoma King Shuluwa was afraid of when he established outreach stations in Guma and Konshisha Local government areas. He could have decided that the outreach of Efekwo, Otukpa is sufficient because of the distance from there to Makurdi. May-be, he is tiv from Katsina-Ala Local Government area. When he was leaving office, he handed over to a Tiv man Doctor Peteru Inundu contrary to the notion of Abu King Shuluwa who is so afraid of the Idoma Man usurping everything.

Even thos we as Idoma have collectively or individually assiste or supported, do not acknowledge our deeds. For example, George Akume not only reneged on his 2003 gentleman's agreement with Senator David Mark, but came out in full Force to fight the re-election of Mark in 2007. He even took the fight to the National Assembly where he fiercely challenged David Mark in the contest for the Presidency of the Senate. Similarly, Gabriel turned his back on the entire Idoma who have nothing but woes to show for their massive support in returning him to the Government House. This is why the Headquarters of the Idoma people, Otukpo has been without water for the past Fifteen Months because the Suswam Government refused to pay the contractors. Instead the same Suswam Government. Is going ahead to award new water contracts in Makurdi.

It is however consoling that through Chief Shuluwa, the Idoma nation now know the mindset of the Tiv people. No one expects to be bestowed the Governorship ticket on a platter of Gold and without a struggle. The Idoma traditionally acknowledge that leadership is always a contest and are ready to contest. We want to fight and win and prove we are the best and not just waiting for the crumbs that would come from the Tiv Table. Those who are afraid of the Idoma must realise that it is because of their handicap and weakness. They want to hide under the apron of tribalism and not because of the fear that the Idoma Man is greedy! Our antecedents has shown otherwise. History does not lie; it only exposes the lies enacted in the past. Every Tiv Man who has worked with an Idoma Man can attest that it is the Idoma Man rather than the Tiv, that is more trust worthy.

Former Deputy Governor, Late Chief Ogiri Ajene served George Akume diligently for Eight years and without the usual rancour that characterised such setting both at the Federal and States. Our Tiv Brothers can even attest that governance was more felt during the Akume period whenever Ajene acted as Governor.

Chief Steven Lawani OFR, despite his age gap has served and is still serving Gabriel Suswam diligently. Through out Akume and Suswam's regimes, the State coffers have been effectively managed by Idoma Men. If the Tiv thinks the Idoma Man is greedy, why did the Two Governors chose to stick to having those Idoma as Commissioners of Finance? Dr. Chris Obute kept that office for Eight years while Mr. Omadachi Oklobia has been on that seat for Seven Years now.

This is not the time to fan tribal sentiments but time to seek and pick credible and forward looking Men for the job of leading our people. There is no way the Idoma Man can not acknowledge and seek the support of the Tiv if he were to succeed; the same goes for the Tiv. This is the genesis of the Birth of Benue State today. Unless we see ourselves as partners, we can not forge ahead and it is on this basis I support Abu King Shuluwa's statement: "we want a detribalised person, someone who will look at Benue as a unit and pick up his team on merit". This is therefore the era when we must all yield ground for that right candidate!

The Tiv should now realise that they too need the Idoma to be Governor. They too need the Idoma to be the majority that they claim to be. The Tiv also need the magnanimity of the Tiv to succeed. May God save us from the hands that fan the embers of tribalism for self aggrandizement.

Extract from Dan Eka. P.R.O. Idoma National Forum.
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