Promises legislation to end violence

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Dickson displaying his nomination and declaration of interest forms

Former Senior Special Adviser on industries to the Benue state governor, Mr. Dickson Tarkigh today picked his nomination form of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP),  to contest for the right to represent Makurdi/ Guma federal constituency at the House of Representatives.
Dickson who was flanked by his supporters and party elders and faithfuls from the constituency thanked the party for providing a level playing ground for all aspirants while also pledging to adhere to party guidelines.
The business mogul turn politician, while suing for the party leadership’s continued advise and counsel, informed that his desire to contest is based on the need for proper legislation especially at time of crisis as this when proper legislation seem the only panacea to finding peaceful living in the constituency.


Part 2 ( contd from last week’s http://wp.me/pR7qc-CX)

By Ati Kenneth Kengkeng

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It will be fool-hardy to attach any form of saint-hood to the Idomas considering the submission in part 1 ( see http://wp.me/pR7qc-CX). It is necessary to state here that the 2 Igede speaking Local Governments in Zone C have witnessed garguantuam levels of oppression by the superior Idoma folks. I’m aware that the Adutu Igede, the highest ranking traditional ruler in Igede land was consecutively frustrated by the Idoma counterparts in the quest to be upgraded to a first class chief. His silence and obscurity is obviously pleasing and is seemingly no threat to the Idomas. In many cases, Igede people are often bundled up as part of the Idoma tribe and one might hardly know that a tribe exists like Igede owing to the supremacy of the Idoma and not necessarily the low population density of the Igede tribe. Having produced an Och’ Idoma and a Deputy Governor in the past, the Igede people are not mere push-overs. I’ve listened to several Idoma folks who expressed openly that such feat will never be achieved by the Igede people ever again. Some referred to it as a demonstration of the freedom and friendship that exists between Idoma and Igede while others spoke of it as the foolishness of the Idoma people. In both cases, one thing remains sacrosanct; No igede man will ever ascend the throne of Och’ Idoma ever again. At least, this point was driven deep down to the ground by the discussants on both sides, something every sincere Idoma person will concur. As it stands today, every little spark of development that is meant for Zone C ends up in Idoma land. Igede people are the worst hit as regards underdevelopment in Benue State. In my opinion, the Adutu Igede and the highest ranking traditional rulers of the other minority tribes are supposed to be upgraded to First Class status like the Tortiv and Och’ Idoma. This will beautify tribalism and give all tribes a sense of belonging and also make the Benue State Traditional Council stronger, unlike the unpopular plan of increasing the number of First Class Chiefs in Tivland. I heard a fellow Tivman say “Untill an Igede man becomes Senator of Zone C, an Idoma man will never be Governor of Benue State”. Somewhere in PortHarcourt, I mentioned that I was from Benue State and the first response was: Oh he’s an Idoma man. This is an expression of the popularity and domineering stature that Sen. David Mark presents to the world by the efforts he has made through the appointment of Idoma folks in key positions in Federal parastatals. With his protégé Comr. Abba Morro serving as Minister of Interior, virtually all parastatals in the ministry and beyond have been invaded by Idoma people including the Nigerian Army, Navy and Airforce. A visit to any NSCDC office nationwide will convince you. I was at the ministry to personally deliver a letter to the honourable minister and from the entrance to the top floor, I was attended to by Idoma folks, some of whom treated me like a brother and others like an infidel. This demonstration of core tribalism by Senator David Mark has sent shivers down the spine of the Tiv nation, something many refer to as an indication of what to expect if peradventure power shifts to Zone C. More often than not, comparison has been made between Sen. Mark and Dr. Iyorchia Ayu who also served Nigeria as Senate President and three time minister, thereby making him the highest political office holder in Tiv land. He has been bitterly berated repeatedly in arrears over his inability to act like todays David Mark, be it right or wrong.
It is disheartening when I observe our division at the appearance of tribe. Tribalism lost its grip on me when I got to discover the extent and resultant effect of clashes in our various tribally autonomous communities. Back in our various enclaves, we have all exhibited deeper evidences of a worst aspect of selfishness and nepotism than my lamentation can contain. In my interactions with my Idoma friends, they lament bitterly how an Idoma man does not have value and appreciation for  another Idoma man. So also, we lament in Tivland how the pull-him-down-syndrome is killing the tiv nation. This is another pointer to the fact that we have not been, are not and don’t look like one. Just like we remember we are Christians at the mention of Islamic invasion or muslim incursion, so also Tiv folks look so united at the mention or allegation of Idoma interest or wrongdoing and vice versa. This is tantamount to living a lie. We must de-emphasize our tribal affiliation in matters of governance. While we may not be able to change our mother tongues, we are equally not empowered to express our differences to the ruin of our state and nation. The onus lies on our generation to undo this anomaly. Under the present circumstances, the possibility of an Idoma Governorship remains a mirage. The attitude and manifestation of Sen. David Mark will further entrench tribalism, encourage disunity and buttress our differences. My generation must decline from admiring this display of segregation. If nepotism was a positive attitude, we would’ve been all applause for Sen. David Mark. The Tiv nation must also get it right. Enough of the political brutality. Let us permit development to take centre stage in Benue State. As we continue to demonstrate our political supremacy, let common sense, equity, fairness guide our every action. Benue has suffered too many setbacks from our consistent hold on power. This has created a sort of legitimacy in the agitation for power shift. Idoma folks have the right to govern Benue but not through tribal sentiments. There is nothing wrong about a Tiv person deputizing an Idoma Governor or even standing aside provided we will have jobs, roads, bridges, culverts, basic amenities and all round development of the average Benue dweller will be uplifted. I actually don’t care who delivers the goodies, so long as the entity called Benue is the ultimate beneficiary. Tribal affiliation is not a barometer for good governance.
This brings to my memory a wedding between a Tiv brother (Omobo, Emichi) and an Idoma sister (Akpoto, Amahwegh) which was contracted in our church. Comr. Abba Morro was in attendance and was all smiles, be they real or pretence. Brethren and guests made faces over the tribal imbalance but there was a greater force from heaven that ensured a balance beyond mother tongue. We shut down the voice of tribalism that attempted to hijack that union for ulterior motives. My generation is obviously one that will rise up and kill the roaring voice of tribalism and ensure that the best hand available is elected to govern Benue irrespective of tribe and it’s affiliations. Benue needs an improved version of Late Aper Aku, whether he will be Tiv, Idoma, Igede, Etulo, Nyifon, or Abakwa.


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Former Chairman Benue Internal Revenue Service (BIRS), Mr. Andrew Ayabam today was registered as a card carrying member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), in Mbaagir council ward of Ushongo Local Government.
Ayabam was registered after a meeting with political leaders and stakeholders of Mbaagir discussing his decision to contest for senate position to represent Benue North East senatorial district.

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Ayabam at the event

Led by former commissioner for Justice and Attorney General if the state, Bar. Joe Abaagu, the tax guru informed the elders of his council ward of his decision to throw in his hat for the race to offer quality service for his people and Zone A at large.
Speaking to our correspondent shortly after the event, Ayabam decried the lack of federal presence in the senatorial district even as the state governor was a constituent.
According to the consummate banker who is popular for his sterling achievements at the BIRS and the private sector, his desire to delve into politics is premeditated on the lack of employment to youth and poor infrastructural condition of the senatorial district, promising to use the position to impact on the common folk especially in the area of employment and attraction of federal projects.
He however flayed allegations that his decision to run is an attempt to challenge the state governor whom hitherto they enjoyed a cordial relationship.
photo credit: Lee Ahenjir
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All is set for this year’s Benue Youth Cultural Carnival. Gee Lo Events Organisers of the biggest carnival portraying undiluted culture, has unveiled the events outline as follows:
. Rehearsals @ IBB Square, Makurdi From1st Nov-27th Dec 2014
. Carnival Village Opens From 1st-30th Dec 2014 @ IBB Square
. Cultural Week Starts 16th to end 22nd Dec @ IBB Square
. Benue Youth Carnival Beauty Queen Pageant will hold 23rd Dec (Forms are on sale @ Royal Plaza Shop B18 For just N 10000 only)
. Carnival Jam which features different Nigerian leading music acts will hold on the 27th Dec @ IBB Square
. The over 3,000 participant Benue Youth Cultural Carnival Procession will hold on 29th December 2014. The procession starting point from Benue State University 2nd gate to IBB Square.


Part 1
By Ati Kenneth Kengkeng

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Ati Kenneth Kengkeng

Countless times as I sojourn on Social Media I come across various submissions seeking to entrench the dichotomy that exists between the Tiv and Idoma people in Benue State. If one is not questioning the tribal inclination in the quota allocation of Federal job slots and appointments to Benue State, then it will inevitably be the quest for an Idoma person to be Governor of Benue State. This anomaly took a voracious dimension shortly after the 2007 elections when the Idoma tribe commenced a robust campaign for power shift. Friends who have no dispute whatsoever soon begin to poke hands into eachothers faces at the slightest dint of tribal inclination in any activity. I know a Pentecostal church where some Idoma folks don’t respond to Tiv songs and vice versa. The advanced level of this dichotomy is the movement for the creation of Apa State. This divide is raising its head in almost all facets of our daily lives.
Benue State has an uneven population distribution among its tribes. Tiv, Idoma, Igede, Etulo, Nyifon, Afia and Abakwa are the indigineous tribes resident in the State. Of the 23 Local Governments in the state, 7 are Idoma speaking, 2 Igede speaking and a highly populated 14 are Tiv speaking areas with a massive spill-over into Taraba, Nassarawa, and Plateau states. Etulo as an entire tribe has only one council ward to itself while Nyifon, Afia and Abakwa exist in total obscurity. They are all found within or around Buruku, Katsina Ala and Ukum Local Governments. In this distribution, half of the Tiv speaking Local Governments (Logo, Ukum, Katsina Ala, Vandeikya, Konshisha, Kwande and  Ushongo) represent Benue North East (Zone A)with Chief Barnabas Gemade as Senator. The other half (Makurdi, Guma, Gwer East, Gwer West, Gboko, Tarka and Buruku) represent Benue North West (Zone B) with Senate Minority Leader His Excellency Sen. Dr. George Akume as Senator while the remaining 9 (Apa, Agatu, Ado, Oju, Obi, Ohimini, Otukpo, Okpokwu, Ogbadibo,) represent Benue South West (Zone C) with the Senate President David Bonaventure Alechenu Mark as their representative.
In the above explanation, one thing stands out: The supremacy of the Tiv nation. No doubt, the Tiv population outweighs that of Idoma and all other tribes combined. This numerical strength is by all standards the greatest asset of the Tiv tribe. Could this also be the undoing of the Tiv tribe? Has it been or is it a tool for oppression of the minority tribes? How well has this numerical strength cum political supremacy helped the Tiv people and the state? What is the story in Zone C? How well has the Idoma tribe (Second largest) handled their own end? At the same time, do they have a noble case in their quest to Govern Benue? What has been the opinion of the seemingly non-existent tribes? Do they have equal rights as the major tribes in this game of numbers?
I want to state emphatically that the lack, failure and derogatory state of affairs in Benue State is totally the doing of the Tiv man. If Benue State has had any indigenous Governor from creation in 1976 to date, he is a Tiv man. In the line of succession excluding Military intervention are Late Mr. Aper Aku, Late Rev. Fr. Moses Adasu, Dr. George Akume and Dr. Gabriel Suswam, all of whom have spent a cumulative minimum of 23 years out of the 38 years of our existence as a state. Since tribe is the bone of contention here, it is almost needless to point out the achievements and failures of individual administrations. However, I will be doing my conscience a disservice if I fail to mention that Mr. Aper Apollos Aku of blessed memory has been and is still the Best Performing Governor that ever ruled Benue. I was born 7 years after he took his first oath of office and I was 2 years old when he died but today, over 25 years after his demise; I walk and drive smoothly on roads and streets he paved; I’ve built structures with the cement from the factory he built; I grew up eating foods cooked with oil extracted in factories he built; I drank from water treatment plants he established; I buy and sell at the modern market he built; My mother just retired as a civil servant and was well accommodated in a befitting secretariat he built; and a lot more too numerous to mention. Lots of the achievements of his administration have suffered loss due to neglect by successive governments while others were deliberately surrendered on unworthy platforms to gain selfish political and financial advantage. Since the exit of Aper Aku, the abysmal performance of successive administrations has made his achievements enigmatic and beyond the comprehension of todays “super performers”. No civilian Governor, in essence, nobody has measured up to the standard he left behind. This is no doubt one of the sources of the agitation for power shift to Zone C. It is beginning to look as though the Tiv nation is lacking the capacity to select and elect their best brains into positions of authority to at least match up with the level Aper Aku did. The situation is not as though we don’t have the brains but the system we have on ground today has been doctored to attach value and generate appreciation for mediocre personalities, something Iorliam Shija captured perfectly when he wrote:
“In 2004, the same society that honoured men like Jerome Tilley Gyado, that great Industrialist and men like JS Tarka, the minority rights activist for their achievements and contribution to the development of Tiv society is honouring SPACO, OSAMA, SHORTMAN and John Akperashi. My people, what is the common denominator of the former and the latter? That’s why I say honour is cheap in Tivland today…”-Iorliam Shija 2014.
He stated again: “I know that today, unlike in the past, people that are honoured in Tivland are known murderers, criminals, cultists, thieves and the likes. So how can we develop as a people?”- Iorliam Shija 2014.
At the same time, in a rare case where the “going” began on a good note, same elements within the Tiv nation instigated enmity or confusion in the political system which stimulated a turn-around in the original mindset of the policies and programmes of the government of the day. Governor Gabriel Suswam started on a handsome note. The “Our Benue Our Future” policy document was a water-tight manifesto for a united and prosperous Benue. Half way into his first term, we suddenly did not know where we were heading. Petitions were flying in and opposition to programmes of government became the order of the day. Politics took centre stage and development was relegated to the back-burner. This is not an attempt to hold brief for the Governor but an exposition of one of the factors that entrench under-performance in government. As a matter of fact, I expect my Governor to be loaded with the capacity to work under tremendous pressure and deliver with utmost exactitude. This attitude has cost the Tiv nation tremendous losses at all levels of our human existence. The death and burial of the movement for the creation of Katsina Ala State is one example too many.
To further buttress the quest for power shift, the Idoma tribe has suffered a lot with underdevelopment and neglect. Passing through Otukpo as I sojourn to PortHarcourt, I posted a comment on my facebook wall which spoke of the level of backwardness in Zone C. Otukpo, the most developed town in the entire Zone is a haven for dust, mud, laterite, filth, smoke and brown zinc roofs. Zone A and B have not benefitted much but the story in Zone C is worse. Virtually all functional industries and agencies built by the detribalized Aper Aku regime have been abandoned. Otukpo Burnt Bricks is a simple case study. Zone C fits the perfect description of a dead zone. This is enough for anyone to excuse every explanation and opt for a tribal shot at Benue State Government House. Many have argued that Senator David Mark is expected to ensure infrastructural upgrade and the all-round wellbeing of his people using his office as Senate President. Whether he has that capacity and has failed or he doesn’t have that capacity remains a topic for another day.
To be continued…


As Ayabam joins race

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Mr. Andrew Ayabam

The percieved smooth sail of Governor Gabriel Suswam to the senate may have hit rocky waters as former Chiarman of the Benue Internal Revenue Service (BIRS) and seasoned banker, Mr. Andrew Ayabam  has joined the race  to slug it out with the erstwhile acclaimed unopposed candidate.

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Gov. Gabriel Suswam

In an exclusive chat with atiterkula, Ayabam, who is from the favoured Kwande/Ushongo Federal constituency which was popularly touted for loaning the position to SANKERA and specifically Suswam, said his decision to run was an indication that the Kwande/Ushongo people had not loaned anybody their due.
According to the banking czar, his joining the race was not in antagonism of his erstwhile boss but out of the need to bring the needed development to his people.
Refutting the rumour of alleged loaning of the position, Ayabam described the purported loan as a hoax by a mischievous lot to extort money from the governor.
Lamenting the lack tangible government presence in the entire federal constituency, he further wondered why it will be believed that in a federal constituency which prides itself with professionals and technocrats, there will be a lack in someone capable to represent it at the senate.
It will be worthy to note that according to the zoning formula, Ushongo is favoured to clinch the seat being the other half of the Kwande/Ushongo federal constituency, as such with Kwande in hot contest for the House of Representatives,the Ushongo half has been favoured to pick the senate.
However prior to this endorsement, a group of politicians and traditional leaders had in a controversial ceremony, declared their decision to loan the position to Suswam on the grounds of want of candidate to fill the slot.


. As Catholic Priest Host Football Tourney

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Rev. Fr. Solomon Mfa

Daudu a town only a few kilometres away from Makurdi the Benue state capital is already on the part to rehabilitation after violence occassioned by series of attacks from Fulani herdsmen.
The town situated in Guma local government was ravaged by the recent Tiv/Fulani crisis and has been rid of it livelihood.
In a bid to return peace and livelihood to the crisis bedeviled town, the priest in charge of St. Francis Catholic Mission, Daudu, Rev. Fr. Solomon Mfa, has instituted a tournament tagged “Bishop Usuh peace cup” to help reintergrate the youth.

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The trophy

The priest who is known for his youth advocacy and promotion peace has slated the tournament which will also mark his 10th priestly ordination, to begin 9th-24th October.
According to Fr. Mfa, the tournament was chosen because football is a unifying factor all Nigerian youth as such, the youth being the tools for violence and also those on its receiving end, it was only right to host such a tournament.
The events lined up for the 10th  priestly ordination also include a Free Medical Outreach and a fund raiser for the construction of a clinic in the area.


Governor Gabriel Suswam has launched a free medical outreach aimed at offering free medical treatment and consultancy service to the the people of Benue.
The programme tagged “Gabriel Suswam free Medical outreach (GSM),  has so far begun at the General Hospital Vandeikya with a team of doctors led by Dr. Terver Tule, the Executive Secretary of the Benue State Hospitals Board.
The first phase which started on the 19th September 2014 and is intended to hold all across the state, witnessed 2900 people treated and 110 had operations also had two ambulances donated.
See pix below:

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Gov. Suswam at the event

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woman delivered of twins at the outreach

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Dr. Tule addressing participant

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Atoza Ihidan at the event

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cross section of attendees

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The National Democratic Front (NDF), has described the recent wave of endorsements of candidates is an impediment to Nigerian democracy and if not discouraged may continue to deprive the people the right to choose their leaders as practiced in true democracy. Addressing pressmen during an interaction in Abuja, the National President of the front, Comrade Agbese Philip, said the recent endorsements of candidates in Ebonyi, Enugu and Kwara states which have a tendency to spread throughout the country is undemocratic and anti-democratic. Agbese who spoke on behalf of the other twelve political pressure groups present at the interaction, said the present endorsement has already truncated real democracy in the various political parties where other interested contestants had been denied due democratic process. The front which called on the leadership of the respective political parties to look into the matter and curb the repetition of such undemocratic practices and also hasten to revert or refute the said endorsements saying they portend to mean the zeal to rig in the forthcoming polls. “we hereby call on the stakeholders and leadership of the respective political parties to show their commitment to the continued practice of democracy by publicly denouncing these endorsements and further put deterrent measures to further happenings as this is an evidence that the forthcoming elections will surely lack transparency”. Agbese lamented. Meanwhile the group has threatened that if the said endorsements are not denounced and withdrawn, they alongside other interest groups had vowed to stage a peaceful protest to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), to press home their demand.


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President Goodluck Jonathan

A political pressure group, Nigerians for Transformation without Terrorism, has advised on President Goodluck Jonathan, to denounce his association with former Borno state governor, Sen. Ali Modu Sherriff to prove his desire to fight terrorism.
In a press statement signed by the group’s president, Mr. John Daramola, the group called on the president to further show his desire to extinguish terrorism by renouncing Sen. Sherriff and distancing himself from the governor whom the group accused of being a major sponsor of violence in the north.
According to Daramola President Jonathan’s constant association with the Senator “who has been known all round the nation as Boko Haram’s major sponsor, will further undermine the nobel steps of his administration even as it  puts a serious dent to the president’s known zeal for transformation.”
“we consider the president’s constant hobnobbing with Senator Ali Modu Sherriff as a counterproductive measure, since the Borno Senator is the father of those fighting our great nation and so if the president continues to trot the nation and world at large it puts a great dent on his image.” He noted.
The group which praised the president in the recent sustained assault on terrorists in the North East, further encouraged the president and the Nigerian Armed forces to never rest on their oars in the bid to combat terror and liberate Nigeria from unrest.
The group further expressed optimism that the president “will cease to identify with the senator and face squarely all who have soiled their hands with innocent blood”.
“ It is our honest belief that Mr. President will heed to ours and the call of the crying North Easterners who have severally frowned at Sherriff’s relationship with Mr. President to cease to identify with the senator and face squarely all who have soiled their hands with innocent blood”. It read in part.
The statement also commended the group, Transformation Ambassadors of Nigeria for their successful rallies around Nigeria nd drive to return Goodluck Jonathan as President of Nigeria, a drive they described as nationalist.