By Tor, Shiekuma Felix
The Idoma people take up residence from south senatorial district of Benue State; they are the second most populated and widely spoken language after the Tivs. These great aborigines are instrumental in the political geometry of the state, and are ably represented in every new government. Still and all, these autochthons detest being marginalized. This is exemplified when Benson Abounu, Deputy Governor of Benue state, vowed to wind down marginalization in Benue State.
When the erstwhile governor of Benue State, Dr. Gabriel Suswam, was heading towards the edge of his administration; the media – both print and non-print was saturated with innuendoes from the well meaning people of Idoma that they should be given wheel of fortune to steer the state machineries.
According to them, the immediate past governor pledged to hand over the state supreme office to them, because they have been marginalized for quite a protracted time. I think this was cupboard love!
To me, I was tempted to come to terms with their plea so that “chop and give brother” principle would be brought to spotlight in our democracy. The political Tiv giants at the helm of affairs rather turned down their diplomatic solicitation. The justification for this reaction remains anonymous to me. However, I overheard some Tiv political big cheeses backing up their reactions that Idoma’s demand was tribally inclined. According to them, domineering spirit prompted their action; not that they have wrapped packages to unveil for the benefit of the Benue people.
Since blind eye was turned on their request, this incidence alone stands out as Pandora’s Box to verbal wars that transpired within the state for a prolonged time. These democracy giants took to social media and other platforms sore messages, expressing their displeasures.
Notwithstanding, let us revisit reality once more; if the good people of Idoma felt being marginalized, do they care to fathom how adventurer David Mark, their messiah, backstab and defamed the Tiv people at the federal level? – Federal marginalization. During his reign as the senate president, all the Tiv slots in military, Para-military and other federal commissions were silently hijacked, and no Tiv man had ever expostulated. Indeed, don’t be surprised to see “Ameh” from Gboko on military recruitment final list. This is a clear indication that the Idomas who accused Tivs of marginalizing them are in turn reciprocating the gesture.
Recently, Dr. Samuel Ortom made his first political appointments, after he assumed office on 29th may 2015; namely: Barr. Targema Tarkema as Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Mr. Terwase Orbunde as the Chief of Staff, Mr. Iwanta Adaikwu as Head of Service, and Tahav Agerzua was elevated as Media and Publicity Adviser – all of Igede and Tiv extractions. This was pronounced by the governor at the caucus of his party, APC, at the Banquet Hall of Benue Peoples House.
Howbeit, these political appointments raised the hackles of the great Idoma people; they nearly took Chief Dr. Samuel Ortom to the Golgotha for crucifixion, for excluding them from key political assignments. The secretary to the state government that used to be their default political post was zoned to another tribe. This impelled them to put on twisted face and engaged in verbal expostulation using every digital community. Moreover, they threw defamatory statements upon their sons who cast their weight behind Ortom during electioneering process for selling them, and that this occurrence would serve as an eye opener to them.
I however resolved that secretary to the state government is not their birth right; it has no constitutional basis. Verily, occupants of offices of such magnitude are selected base on competence, prescient and administrative experience, not by mere zoning. Moreover, zoning is the polished avenue of introducing quackery into governance. So, my good brothers of Idoma extraction should politely fall in line with this development.
Other factor that informed political appointments is votes. The good people of Idoma were busy dancing with umbrella while the wind of change was blowing. To this end, they did not pool meaningful votes for the incumbent governor. So how do you expect the governor to embrace you at the expense of people who helped him to climb the corridor of power? Let us understand this political arithmetic for the sake of Benue unity.
In case they are blindfolded by tribalism, the secretary to the state government this around came from Gboko because they pooled the highest and incomparable number of votes for Gov. Ortom, and this a way of saying thank you to them.
The Idoma people are not the monopoly of Benue south senatorial district, the humbled Igede people are part of it. Nonetheless, since we graduated from unfriendly military regime in 1999, none of the Igede son has had an opportunity to serve the zone at the red chamber under the capacity of a senator. So, can Idoma claim to be free from marginalization? Why do they not present themselves as sheep before the Igedes? May be this one is dominance, not marginalization.
This is to say that in the kingdom of the blind, one-eyed man will always be the king. The fact that they formed majority in the zone is a yardstick to pocket the Igedes, who are the minority. Perhaps this is the reason that propelled Ortom to wipe away their tears that is gushing out of their eyes by appointing their son as Head of Service.
The same David Mark who is forcing himself to be an exponent of peace formed intrigues that frustrated Sen. George Akume’s senate presidency ambition. He preferred to strongly underpin an outsider for the plum office than Akume, who is sharing the same shelter with him. So if anyone is pointing accusing finger at Tiv people for making the Idomas voiceless, such person must revisit realities.
However, if the Idomas are addressing the Tivs as sinners for marginalizing them at the state level, I therefore call them righteous sinners for marginalizing Igede at local level and attempting to slay the Tivs federal standing.
Tor, Shiekuma Felix can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org