This thing is getting out of hands and I think if it were not quickly addressed, it would degenerate into something else. Is it not enough that we cannot be the Governor of Benue State even as the second largest tribe in the state?
Have the Benue State government controlled by Tiv elite, not done enough by ensuring we do not become the Speaker of the State House of Assembly?
How about the Chief Justice of the State, even when Justice Ejembi Eko was naturally and constitutionally due to be appointed the Chief Justice of Benue, as the highest-ranking jurist in Benue State, Akume as the sitting Governor ignored him and went and appointed his junior.
The only offence Justice Eko committed was to have come from Idoma land, the ethnic group that Akume hates with a passion. As a Senator representing Zone C, Dr. David Mark took Ejembi Eko to the then President and his friend, Chief Obasanjo and complained about this injustice. It is on record that the President drew the attention of the Governor to it.
I could still remember how Obasanjo commended the peace and tranquility that exists between the two major ethnic groups in Benue. How he advised Akume to be non-sectional in his dealings in other to appreciate our mutual coexistence in the state.
The oracle also cited the tribal and community wars that were pervasive then in Ife vs Modakeke; Umulerivs Aguleri; Elemevs Okrika etc. Our Governor returned home and pretended he had heard the wise counsel of the President, but his operational tendencies were less pretentious.
He continued with the exclusion of the Idoma people and the people of zone C. As the sectional man he is, he swore in Justice Iorhemen Hwande on April 5, 2006, from his Zone B as the Chief Justice. He overturned the time-honoured seniority at the bench to achieve this. He created indiscipline in the judiciary in Benue State just because an Idoma man happened to be the next in line!
All throughout his tenure, he instituted the rule, which others are following, that the people of Zone C could only be second best. Thus, he ensured we were never speaker of the House; never majority leader of the House of Assembly; never held any position of real world significance in his cabinet. Yes, according to his worldview we could only be deputies to anyone from either Zone A or B. The Benue State government under the control of the Tiv elite has not looked back since. When he was moving out of Government House in 2007, the man suddenly turned to our friend (maybe working on the advice of Obasanjo that he should return power to Idoma land). He became humble and was seen to be working for Idoma agenda.
But that was on the surface!
George Akume was sponsoring late Ogiri Ajene, his deputy from Igede land while he also promised he was going to handover to Comrade Abba Moro. He encouraged Prof. Jerry Agada to resign as Permanent Secretary and on the other hand, he gave his friend Chief Lawani assurance that he would win.
All these assurances made it impossible to come to a consensus even when David Mark, working in collaboration with President Obasanjo wanted the seven aspirants from Idoma land to bring out a candidate.
To cut the story short, on the day of the primaries, when it was obvious that Chief Mike Okibe Onoja was pulling through from Idoma land and nobody could garner the required 50 per cent votes from the Tiv axis (as it were in the PDP guideline) and that run-off election was becoming imminent; Akume quickly asked his beneficiary, Ogiri Ajene to step down for Suswam, a Tiv man and add his votes to Angel Gabriel. The rest is now history.
The same Akume is still calling it shot and happily presiding over the marginalisation of Idoma people in the state where God collectively gave to us in 1976. In Benue State, it is very much easier for a camel to pass through the eye of the needle than an Idoma Professor to become the Vice Chancellor of our own State University.
Idoma as a people have over 70 professors that are doing greatly in their respective lines of duty. Those who have served and are still serving as VCs of federal, state and private universities across Nigeria are not doing badly. That alone has shown that we have capable hands and we can contribute to making other universities great, even though we are precluded from presiding over our own institution.
That is not even enough for our Benue State government. It also makes sure it perennially influences the election of the Student Union of the same university from Government House, just as Akume brought the new VC and installed him like a transformer to continue doing the hatchet job.
It is not also enough that Idoma students cannot ascend the throne of SUG Presidency of our own state University, whereas we had been SUG leader in various institutions in Nigeria and ruled the entire Nigerian Students in the past.
Right now Akume has opened a new frontier in his crusading warfare against the people of Zone C. He is through the VC he manipulated into office systematically excluding the people of Zone C from being admitted into the Benue State University, a school funded with the allocation from the federation account due to every part of the state! His fell aim is to put a damper on the educational aspirations of the people of the Idoma and Igede. Just as the Nazi in Germany failed in their bid to exterminate the Jews, Akume will fail in this and with a loud thud too.
However, we will not lie low and take this lopsided way, Akume’s VC is handling this 2015 admission into the university. The Idoma candidates seeking admission into their own state university are crying every day since the process started. They are being shortchanged and denied admission though they are qualified, whereas people from other states enjoy the magnanimity of the VC. I am aware of over 20 people related to me who scored far above the JAMB cut-off points and performed well in the Post-UTME, but were not admitted.
A niece of the Och’Idoma who applied for law and had relevant requirements in place ran the whole Makurdi without seeing anyone to help her. She ran to the Och’Idoma palace and the Agabaidu used his phone to call the VC directly, but the man could not even respect the stool of the Idoma monarch, the list came out but the girl was not admitted.
It’s regrettably shameful that the Och’Idoma, who is a Chancellor of a federal university, cannot influence the admission of his niece into a university owned by the state where he is the acting Chairman of the State Traditional Council.
The VC brought by Akume could not even give a slot to Och’Idoma whereas I know of 2 Idoma ladies who had to pass through their Tiv boyfriends and they are happily admitted now. Do not ask me if they are qualified.
As we speak, one John Sunday Ogah, an Idoma chap who score 242 in JAMB and also pulled 60 points in the Post-UMTE is being denied admission; simply because he is an Idoma boy and has no Tiv girlfriend to lobby the admission for him.
This is very sad and condemnable! How long shall we continue this marginalisation under our own brothers? Is it a crime that we are joined together as one entity by God and states creators, where do we go from here? What shall we do to be liberated from the shackles of Tiv neo-colonisation championed by Akume and his goons? Are the crises in Modakeke and Ife; Umuleri and Aguleri; Eleme and Okrika as cited by Obasanjo, not enough lessons for us? Can’t we learn from the civil war and the continuous agitation of people of Biafra? Can we afford to carry arms against ourselves in this age of civilisation? God forbid!
But let it be known to all concerned that we too are humans and we cannot fold out arms until we die.
Itodo is a public affairs analysts and writes from Abuja

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