Archive for the ‘political’ Category

By Iorliam’Amo Shija

The year 1951 is important to the political history of Tiv people of Benue State because it was the year they first participated in an “election” in the emerging nation .

The then Tor Tiv, HRM Makir Dzakpe and notable Tiv men who then belonged to the social cultural association, Tiv People’s Union (TPU) gathered and selected people on non-partisan basis to represent the Tiv people at the Northern House of Assembly in Kaduna. The 8 representatives to the Northern House of Assembly were Pagher Mue, Gbile Gundu, Yough Gera, Wuam Gambe, Akiga Sai, Ayila Yough, Chia Aka and Makondu Igbon. This began the first exposure of Tiv to politics.


The Tiv, a migrant people according to legend finally settled around the banks of River Benue without Kings but guided by wise elders based on seniority prospered for years in various clans.

Along came the colonialists with their inward incursion into the hinterland and the ultimate amalgamation of its Northern and Southern protectorates to form present day Nigeria.

Not possessing the manpower to directly administer this territory, the British intuitively had to rule and form a governing arrangement with the existing Caliphate Sultanate system to administer the Benue valley.

In return for the collection and remission of taxes to the Crown, the British left the domineering administrative structure of the Islamic caliphate intact thereby giving the caliphate administration control of its northern protectorate province finalized by the citing the location of the headquarters of the protectorate in Kaduna.

Through this administrative conquest, Fulani Administrative officers descended on the Benue valley to rule as administrative offices. By the time the Tiv were self aware the were already fully subsumed into the Northern People’s Congress dominated by the Islamic and Northern politicians.

A great patriot, JS Tarka emerged to try and extract the Tiv from the stranglehold of the Northern region and the Tiv nation exploded in riots between 1960 and 1964 ruthlessly suppressed by the northern controlled federal Nigerian Army. So bloody was the suppression that the first ideas of a coup were formed in the minds of young impressionable officers of the Nigerian army of mostly Igbo extraction more sensitive to northern control and intent on controlling and maintaining power.

However over the years the unsophisticated Tiv people formed an alliance with the Hausas and fulanis through shared commerce on the basic individual level and were equally welcomed in Kaduna and the north even though they were catholic (because the British got to the region first) and affectionately termed “Munchin” and the Tiv adopted some of the lingua into its language blissfully unaware of the invasion while letting the politicians tackle high level northern Islamic domination at the highest levels, a fight that involved uniting with the yorubas and the NCNC in attempts to extricate itself from the vice grip.

The Igbo boys struck with their coup in January 1966 and because of the seemingly oneness with the North, the Tiv allowed itself to be entranced by the outrage of the Islamic north against the attempt by the Igbo to seize power from the caliphate. Suddenly, the Tiv turned on the Igbos viewing them as enemies and contemptuously joined in nyamirizing Igbo people even though there was no apparent history of animosity between the two people.

In the prelude to the war, Benue served as the interdiction point for the apprehension of fleeing Igbo people and thousands were shot at the Makurdi bridge and others allegedly lynched by the Tiv, again allegedly. The Tiv benefitted from an airforce and airborne base on tiv land.

The Tiv also adopted the philosophy of dealing with Igbo people and flooded the army at the onset of the war and were the first set of troops led by Fulani officers to engage the minorities of the east.

The middle belt was at the peak of its power as seeming equal partners as even Tarka was conscripted into the government, Gowon a middlebelterner was Head of State, ColonelJoe Akahan was chief of staff and the tiv and middlebelt dominated the enlisted and junior officer Corp of the army.

Aided by the numerical support of middlebelt minorities, the northern led coalition defeated eastern minorities and for its troubles even got a whole new Benue plateau state.

A few subtleties went unnoticed as Akahan died mysteriously in a plane crash and many of its soldiers were decommissioned after the war, the few left were stuck as sergeants and of the officers many except for a few never got past the rank of Captain. Tarka was forced to resign removing him as a focal point of Tiv resistance.

The middle-belt influence was cut down to size after the coup that killed murtala Mohammed as middle belt officers were flushed from the army.

In the return to democracy the Tiv opted to join the NPN against all reason and due to a strategic misadventure by JS Tarka into the ruling party probably as that was the only party were he could attempt a run for the presidency eventually denied him, but by default and due to his leadership pitched the Tiv again in union with the core north, while Plateau reverted to the side of the eastern minorities in the NPP.

Benue had real access to the resources massively annexed by the north from loans and grants from Bank of the North to multi pipelines to higher education at ABU and University of Jos as well as by the creation of FUT Makurdi. Legacy brigades of the Nigerian Army and the Airbase at Makurdi, the cement factory at Yandez and the second Benue bridge was built along with generous federal allocation.

The euphoria was short lived as the northern controlled army returned with a vengeance and decimated the last of the Langtang mafia and retired several Tiv officers and suddenly the middlebelt was in decline through administrative negligence and concentration of resources in the core north.

Tarka had died in the interim and the default leader Aper Aku was humiliated and hounded into jail dying a few years from the shock of it all, and all of a sudden Benue was in the political wilderness.

Through the years despite this oppression the Tiv had cause to riot against the igbos and eastern minorities in its midst, contemptuously and humorously referring them as as “oh Igbo” with sufficient inflection.

In the run up to independence, the northern region renowned for its agricultural production and the tiv valley were relatively wealthy because of its abundant produce earning it the food basket moniker. However the discovery of oil shifted the focus away from agriculture as people acquired expensive tastes and the produce of the middle-belt was being purchased for pennies on the pound fueled by oil sales.

During the Babangida regime the region got grinded ever more slowly into poverty as the federal government neglected the state not used to survival other than by federal subvention.

During the maradonic attempts at a transfer of power to civilian rule and after the misadventure of Gowon the middlebelt and none of Nigeria’s Minorities were in line for the presidency and the power was again handed back to Obasonjo.

During this run up the Tiv resisted all Persuasion to align with minorities and majority minorities, no minority party APGA or AD or APP could penetrate the tiv hinterland and neither did the Tiv form their own party to wrest control; they pitched their hopes again in the northern Muslim controlled PDP against the Yoruba and the struggling majority minority Igbo.

The devastation under Obasanjo was more pronounced as the gains of the tiv for their votes were reversed suddenly as General Malu was removed as COAS followed by reprisals massacres at Zaki Biam. PDP chairman Gemade was replaced albeit by the rival Idoma and the crown jewel of the Tiv nation, Benue cement was destabilized, taken over and sold to an outsider, still the Tiv supported Obasanjo by default to get re-elected.

The rebels of the niger Delta also ramped up their activities of sabotaging oil refineries to bring attention to the plight of the region, but their militancy was downplayed as area boys looking for handouts in-spite of the overwhelming environmental devastation of the region, but nothing was amiss as Benue still collected its allocation.

The support for the core north continued with massive support for Yar Adua inherited by Jonathan albeit against Buhari perceived by all to be a Islamic irredentist.

During these years the steady encroachment of the Fulani continued with a few massacres of the Tiv here and there, but the Tiv were largely insulated from the mayhem between the plateau and the Fulani house communities.

Good luck Jonathan benefitted from the wish to continue with the Yar Adua presidency and he scaled through in 2011 despite being considered a vassal of the north below Tiv people which voted for him.

Jonathan the accidental president lacking the power base nevertheless realized the need to restructure the country and constituted a conference roundly condemned as a waste of resources with a plan for restructuring and needed another term to implement it.

The Fulani militia encroachment and assault continued and got more intrusive but was subsumed by boko harem and the niger delta on the sidelines.

In 2015, the north reasserted its claim to the presidency based on the unofficial PDP power sharing arrangement and the minorities and majority minorities both in the Christian north, south east and south south were again faced with the threat of a return to the status quo of neglect in all areas of federal administration and the evils of domination and marginalization under the Muslim/northern/caliphate.

The Tiv and Benue insensitive to the fact that it is a majority minority suffering from a history of neglect and marginalization and despite having a senate president overwhelmingly voted out a fellow minority in favor of the vested ruling class and old money and administrative dominance personified by Buhari.

Benue joined in celebrating its apparent wisdom in siding with the winning team as the minorities and majority minorities lost the fight to keep power and right Nigeria from less of a north centrist to a more national administration.

No sooner did the north return to leadership and due to its disquieting silence, it’s militia launched a large scale assault on the Benue valley resulting in mass casualties causing terror and devastation in the farming economy of the Benue valley.

The region has also experienced extreme neglect and lack of support from prior and present administration leading to most of its industries closing down even as the Muslim north revives its agriculture and economy with railways and international trade fairs in Kaduna.

The airwaves are now alive with rumored plans by the government to create grazing colonies and Benue is up in arms against this massive potential seizure of its land and consequences on its way of life.

The Tiv have vowed to vote out Buhari for his seeming complicity through his silence and seeming insensitivity to their plight and genocidal assault on the Tiv nation.

It initiated a ban on roaming cattle and pulled its ambassador to the Muslim dominated think tank “Northern Elders Forum” and has began reprisal attacks against Fulani.

The Benue needs to understand that its sudden cries defy understanding as the resources of the delta have been annexed by the government (northern controlled) for the enjoyment of Nigerians and it is time for Benue to pay the supreme price of giving up its arable land for the better good of all Nigerians and for itself in being able to have zege Nyam for its luam.

With the 2019 elections looming, it will be interesting to see whether the Tiv are prepared to go against the tidal wave of support that will re-elect Buhari and play opposition politics for the first time in its history as it fights a strategic battle for its very survival that may entail aligning along with the minorities and majority minorities of the Niger delta and South East.

Only time will tell

Msugh ne chi

Terhemba Osuji, the M’lumun Ga Tor Tiv and deputy Commander Tiv Native Authority Militia Command hails from Mbayion

By James Ibechi
Sorry to say this, and no grudge against any man meant here. No wisecrack either. But to say the truth, in David Mark-controlled Benue South Senatorial District, Igede truly died in all ramifications of the word. Our elders who aided the killing of Igedeland using the PDP, we’re just told, will this weekend change the party. They’re defecting from the PDP to APC in the wake of the broom revolution in the state and in the country in general. Good development. Isn’t it? It is.


Most of the decampee-elders were the reasons the infamous ‘Otukpo Mafia’ became strong and stradled Idomaland like emperors because these elders caressed and nearly idolised and worshipped Mark, especially during the era of the politics of the stomach, first epitomised by the late strongman of Ibadan politics, Adedibu. 

No time had Igedeland faced relegation to the backwaters of the state and national politics than when these decampee-elders, under the tutelage of Mark, acted like demi-gods in Igedeland.




Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State has said that his administration will not stifle the opposition in the state so that democracy can thrive at its best.

Ortom made the remark while delivering his speech at IBB Square in Makurdi, during a fb_img_1447969382720.jpgreception held to celebrate his victory at the Supreme Court.

“Let me assure that we are not out to stifle the opposition. Democracy thrives best in the face of a vibrant opposition. Let all citizens of the state, however, drop political cleavages and focus on the Benue project for the future of our present and children yet unborn,” he said.


By Odeh Ageh

The preparation for the senatorial re-run election for Zone C of Benue State that has Sen. David Mark and Mr. Daniel Onjeh as contenders is reaching a feverish pitch.

many commentators have gone to town with the tale of how highly experienced Mark is in legislative matters. In fact, some fell short of calling him Mr. National Assembly or Mr. Know-all of law making.


Other commentators, when making a passing remark about Onjeh, call him a greenhorn, a journey-just-come man and somebody who is aiming for something that is way beyond his reach.

While the import of this piece is not to gain-say the near appropriation of the National Assembly as it concerns Zone C by Mark, I will suggest to the promoters of his candidacy not to gloat over the many near-wins of the distinguished senator.

Before we delve into the undistinguished performances of Sen. Mark, it will be nice we take a peep into his background and how that has come to play in his quest for the office and his activities in the National Assembly.