By Awo Whiskeys
After what looks like the end of appointments and formation of government in Benue State for the next four years, many voices are pointing fingers in diverse ways as to who is to be blame for the failure of the government to include Igede people in one of the strategic and influential positions in the present government
I am as sad as every Igede person, and those who also have sympathy for us. Governments have been closed and the door is shut against Igede people. Dr Ortom’s government has sent a massage and it is a very clear massage: no Igede man worth included in his government’s strategic positions.
Before we move further let me give you the list of some of the strategic positions I am talking about here. In any government, the following positions are considered very important: governor, deputy governor, speaker, deputy speaker, chief judge, secretary to state government, head of service, chief of staff to governor, house majority leader, and the list go on.
These positions spread across the three tiers of government: executive who the Governor is fully in charge of, Judiciary which is headed by the State Chief Judge who is appointed by the Governor on the recommendation of the NJC and the legislative which is headed by the Speaker who is also elected by other members. To be fair right away, these positions are shared based on political arrangement sometimes.
I know that some have placed the blame squarely on the head of the governor already. These people may not be far from the truth. Governor himself raised some issues that suggest he is complacent in the omission of Igede people from key offices in his State. He was said to have told some people that the Igede people would be punished for not voting him. That to me is not correct. If Igede did not vote for him, he would not have won the election. So what happened to the large number of people that voted him in Igede? How can he separate them from others?
So the argument that Igede people did not vote Governor Ortom and have therefore shoot themselves in the leg is not tenable. Was it only Igede people who did not vote for Ortom? How many people vote Ortom in Tiv and Idoma land apart from the margin of victory he got from his local government, Guma and Suswam’s Logo? The victory of Ortom was the aggregation of votes from across the 23 local government areas. When you remove his votes from the local government he did not win outright, he would have lost the general election.
It is wrong to judge the entire Igede from the slim lose he suffered in Oju and Obi. It was the same story in other local government in zone C and other zones. Picking Igede out for punishment is ungodly and inhuman, highly repugnant and illogical.
As for me, the decision to exclude Igede people from the political leadership in the State is a willful and calculated plan and a conspiracy within the State. Some people do not want Igede people and they are conspiring and providing a new narrative to certain powers in Tiv land to justify their quest. But this will backfire one day. No injustice last forever. Very soon Igede will sing a new song of victory.
However, Igede people are not without their blame for allowing this conspiracy and willful plan to hold ground. Some of the reasons for their dismal position which I stressed in the past are still useful here.
Frankly speaking, we have not done enough as a people, a fact that has brought us to where we are today. We, I mean every Igede man, have not been united enough, we have not been persistent enough and we give up easily in the face of obstacles. We have not been supportive enough. And I know that our level of solidarity to the nation of Igede and individuals in leadership position is very weak and self seeking. This is the weakest point of Igede people. Instead, we like bringing down ourselves through blackmails. Everyone outside the corridor of power seems to know even more than those inside. We castigate and dismiss their achievements or at most attribute them to others. Now failure has come. Where do we run from and to?
Another reason why everything has slipped out of our hands can be attributed to our selfishness. How can a selfish man achieve greatness? Some of our elders and elites are so self centered that they hate to give others chance. And it seems we have not got it right yet. We are still fighting and demonizing one another. A people cannot achieve anything where everybody is after personal interest. Collectivism is the answer.
The truth is that Igede as a nation will be better if we are united and sincere in our actions and play a supportive role towards each other. For instance, our representative at a point may not be the best socially, culturally, politically and educationally but with unity and cooperation, we can achieve greatness through them. When we celebrate, perhaps because we thought somebody was out of power, then we are postponing the evil day. We should first appreciate every little effort our brother or sister has made then he or she will have the reason to be fair, just and truthful toward making Igede a great nation.
Another dark side is the emergence of high level of criminality in the land which little or no attention is paid. Many parents are less bothered about the activities of their children. For the first time in our history, there is an emergence of what I call home grown economic, social and cultural terrorists. What used to be a peaceful crime free Igede land is now a shadow of itself. Criminal activities have exploded beyond control in the land. Every night, houses are raided and motor cycles stolen on broad day light. These now are stack realities that our people keep contending with.