In this part 2, we continue with our series, Helping To Set the Agenda For The Next Tor Tiv. It is the yuletide when we are celebrating and reflecting on the significance of the birth of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and it is a good time for the Tiv Nation to use the occasion to also ponder an issue that may as well birth a new era of strategic engagement with Nigeria. And here, we look at the next item i.e.
3. The Tor Tiv As (V) A Mobilizer And Unifier
Tor Tiv (V) must fit into the two-fold ministry of a mobilizer and a unifier. As a mobilizer, the new Tor Tiv will have to rouse his subjects from dangerous slumber/complacency, and mobilize them to engage Nigeria more imaginatively than the clumsiness that now subsists.
Right now, there is no concerted mobilization for a Tiv, strategic national objective/interest; in fact, there is no Tiv national objective or strategic interest: it is rather, what the yahoo generation calls, “Everyman for himself.”
We are running our little races, on our little roads, and expending much energy to build our small, Animal-Farm empires, but a German proverb is asking us: “What is the use of running if you are on the wrong road?”
Leadership is very crucial. And the truth may be told: we, Tiv people, are deficient in this department. When you are driving on our roads, a point comes when you stop looking at the road per se; you start following the car in front of you. If it veers left, you do; and if it swerves right, you follow suit. This is particularly so at night. You are not blind or lazy, but since he/she is in front of you, you believe he/she knows the way better. And normally, such a driver does. When you follow him/her, you avoid many pot-holes, you protect your shocks, and you arrive safely and on time too.
This simple illustration powerfully captures both the symbolism and the significance of leadership. It is sad, but in Tivland, especially as of late, we have not had such foresighted, political drivers. This is why the ones, who insist on leading us, have led us to another cul-de-sac, after a labyrinthine route.
Compared to our numerically-smaller Idoma-neighbours, Nigeria has abandoned us at the cross-roads. Just look at this: There is an Idoma-service chief; an Idoma-cabinet minister; who supervises an Idoma-Federal Permanent Secretary; in a city protected by an Idoma-Police Commissioner; and whose sole Federal university is vice-chancellored by an Idoma-professor! All these are besides the plurality of Idoma-professionals heading extra-ministerial departments and agencies around the country. And it promises to only get better for them!
Nigeria’s 4th largest ethnic group is not only in a political quandary; worse, it is in economic quagmire. The Tiv Nation has been disconnected from the grid of Federal political power. As to the grid of economic power, in all fairness, we cannot say we have been disconnected: we were not connected in the first place! I believe people like Manz Denga, Peter Chieshe, Andy Ayabam and Dr. Son Igyoh, Prof. Tarhule…who know this very well, will but agree with me.
And because of these two grave injustices from the Nigerian Nation-state, there is discontent at home. I do not know if I can also call it: Ijen! But the manifestations are as similar as they are foreboding: a surrender of hope, a propensity for Tiv-on-Tiv jealousy, a short fuse for Tiv-on-Tiv (communal) violence, desperate competition, the blame-game, and, the most dangerous of them all: sycophancy. Funny enough, sycophancy, which used to be the pastime of village laggards, is threatening to become the full-time occupation of even the intelligentsia.
This is why today, in this 2015, Wantaregh Paul Unongo’s question: Where Do We Go From Here? is as important as when he first asked it decades ago. Yes, Where Do We Go From Here?
I believe whether we have read the book or not, the question should engage us because we need to go somewhere from where we now are. But to go somewhere, to go there, we need three things: the right attitude, the right strategy and the right tactics.
China’s best-known military strategist, Sun Tsu, said in the days before yesterday that: “Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory; and tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat.”
Right now, we do not have any: not the strategy, not the tactics, and certainly not the attitude. Any surprise then why the Tiv man is on the retreat from the centre, and those doing very well back home (or so hoping) are the new breed of Tiv people who are honing their skills in unbridled, sycophancy or building their capacities in obsequious, hero-worship?
The new Tor Tiv must quickly show himself a great mobilizer. Since the political class has failed us, he has to show leadership by helping all of us to get: the new attitude, the strategy and the required tactics so that we can, as nation, re-invent ourselves for a purposeful, forward march.
He will also have to rise to the challenge of unifying us so that we can know the value of numbers, and, hopefully, begin to enjoy the blessing of same. Our numbers must add for our good or they will add to our doom.
One example of our corporate loss is this. Even the once vilified first military Head of State, Gen. Johnson Thomas Aguiyi-Ironsi, who was overthrown and killed, has been completely forgiven and rehabilitated. He has a street in the centre of Nigeria’s Federal Capital City – Abuja, and his son has sat in the Federal Executive Council (FEC) as a minister! But what about Col. Joseph Akaahan, Gen. Yakubu Gowon’s first Chief of Army Staff (COAS)? Even the secessionist-leader, Chief (Col.) Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, and the young man, who unbottled the genie of military coups in Nigeria, Major Chukwuma Kaduna Nzeogwu, have better entries in Nigerian history than our own Akaahan.
And yet we have produced generals in all the services, including Chief of Army staff, Chief of Air Staff, GOCs as well as Principal Staff Officers in the presidency; ministers, national chairmen of ruling parties, chairman of chairmen, executive governors, senators, speakers of the House of Representatives…!
No. 3 Takeaway: Massively mobilizing the people towards attaining strategic “National” interest.
Imobo-Tswam, a media consultant, author and public speaker, writes from Abuja. He can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org