PRESIDENT Bola Ahmed Tinubu that I know in the past has a deep sense of fairness, egalitarianism and justice in dispensing political judgement. He is a democrat to the core and promoter of social justice and civility. Fair-minded Nigerians who observed President Tinubu from the past will certainly fall in line with me in this description of Mr President. But it baffles me, and I am still astonished, and yet to come to terms that the political judgement dispensed in Benue State in the choice of ministerial position was actually done with the awareness of Mr President, if he does, then, this is an unknown part of Mr President coming to light. It is indeed still unbelievable!
I am of the school of thought that believes that power and truth should be mutually constitutive to reflect effective social transformation in the society. But a society where people in power undermine the social reality, social order and national ethics that promote effective social relationship, equality and social justice, then anarchy looms as the society is still in search of significant leaders.
All Progressive Congress as a party and the President and the block of his advisers should think justice first in any decision that is worth taken before taking it. I am still not believing that the President is aware of the social injustice and anomaly in the context of the political block he nominated the incoming Minister representing Benue. If he does then the democratic sensibility of President Tinubu well-known in the past might have been tampered with and winkled and replaced by unfair disposition which is at variance to democratic principles. I know bringing this to his knowledge will certainly initiate correction because he is a listening leader and can still effect the necessary decision from this misinformed decision taking on Benue State.
For me, I will continue to be a strong supporter of my party APC, the government and my leaders but will not hide my reservations or opinion against any perceived injustice and anomaly or any form of political violence against any part of our country as has been done to Idoma nation by the current APC government under President Tinubu. It is not a hidden track that the beginning of this government is politically injurious to the Idoma nation as it stands.
What is the gain of Tiv political domination of Benue State? Aside His Excellency, the late Aper Aku and the brief government of Rev. Fr. Moses Adasu, all the governments formed by the Tiv in Benue State had ended in failure. I have not seen the relevance or benefit of Tiv domination in even Tiv land or it’s people. Therefore, the overall impact of Tiv rulership of Benue amounts underdevelopment and leaving the peoples’ hope of development a perpetual mirage.
Historically, the agitation for the creation of Benue State from old Benue Plateau, was borne by Idoma people. But since the creation of this state in 1976, no Idoma man has been allowed to lead the state as governor. No Idoma son seems to be worthy to be speaker of state House of Assembly for the past 47 years. And since the establishment of the Benue State University in 1992, no academic of Idoma land seems worthy enough to be Vice Chancellor.
Since the creation of Benue State, Idoma has managed to be a Chief Justice of the state once as no effective administrative power seems to befit Idoma people of Benue State than being in spare tire positions. But with all this horrible margination, no meaningful development is taking place in Tiv land to reflect Tiv political domination in the state.
Benue State at inception was a marriage or federation of three nations, the Idoma, Igala and the Tiv. The Igala left with the creation of Kogi State leaving behind Tiv and Idoma as major ethnicities. The Tiv has 14 local government areas while Idoma occupies nine local government areas. But our neighbour and brother, the Tiv, with 14 LGAs and numerical advantage, sees nothing wrong in their political dominance, political suppression and marginalisation of their Idoma neighbour and brother.
What instructed the agitation for the creation of APA State is inclined by this primitive sense of domination of the Tiv, as state creation in Nigeria was one of the prominent factors that is a solution to minority agitation against obvious marginalisation like the one in Benue State.
As it is, in this dispensation, Idoma nation is politically caged both at home and at the centre. The only office left for Idoma nation in this government is the deputy governorship position as the APC Chairman in the State was just a pencil in the hand of the dictator, and a further means to undermine the Idoma nation in the politics of the state. Governor of the state, the Speaker of the state House of Assembly, the Chief Judge of the state and the Secretary to the State Government are perpetually grabbed by the Tiv as Idomas are now permanently condemned to play second fiddle to their Tiv brothers.
Can this be fair and just in this modern society where social inclusion has become a mandatory norm? Where is the social order founded on the ideals of freedom, equality and justice? Where is the national ethics that is based on social justice as dictated by section 17 and 23 of Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria?
Idomas are peace-loving people, hardworking and among the most civilised and sophisticated societies in Nigeria; very submissive and with little or no trace of rebellion. It is obvious that these qualities in the Idoma persona have been erroneously construed as cowardice. No, it is not; it is essentially the originality and the uniqueness of Idoma society. But the perpetuation of this senseless, uncultured, nasty and unethical marginalisation of Idoma nation is building up to a keg of gun powder. To prevent its explosion, there is the need to take precaution to prevent an inevitable explosion.
The President of a nation is the father of that nation, the people and societies in the nation are his subjects and enclaves. The President owes Nigerians the duty of maintaining orderliness, ensuring social justice and equality of all constituents in the nation being the father. It is in his character and an obligation for him to show compassion, empathy, passion and remorse for victims of marginalisation in the country and not to fuel it.
It is quite unfortunate that President Tinubu subjectively and condescendingly compromised to the linage of oppression instead of finding corrective measures. The seeding of ministerial position to the Tiv that already hold the lucrative position of Secretary of the Government of the Federation (SGF) remains the high point of marginalisation of the Idoma nation since the advent of Nigeria as an Independent nation in 1960. All sons and daughters of Idoma consider this as political violence them. Morally, this is unacceptable! It is the height of political inflammation and marginalisation against politically active Idoma nation and move to whittle down its political significance in Nigeria. It is saddening, offensive and amounts to a deliberate putdown.
There is tension in Idoma land and to douse the situation arising from this callous political subjugation demands a proactive action. I therefore call on our democracy-loving leader, President Tinubu, to as matter of conscience and in the interest of peace and unity of our nation expediently institutionalise an ideal that will engender equality, fairness and inclusion which are the hallmarks of a plural, just and decent society.
In other words, there is the urgent need to retrieve the nomination of the Tiv man as the incoming Minister representing Benue State and cede the position to Benue South as a mark of socio-political justice and inclusion.
Mohammed Umoru Bravo writes from Abuja.