By KATOR KATYO
Many people sometimes can develop bad eye sight without actually knowing until an orthomologist diagnoses and tells them what their visual status is. For those who have had the opportunity of having their eyes examined by an orthomologist, the main purpose is to correct the problem so that the patient can have 20/20 vision to enable him/her see and feel much better.
The Tiv Taraba have been living with defective political eyes sights for quite sometimes now, perhaps without knowing what to do to correct it. As a result, some have stumbled and fallen, thereby bruising themselves. Sometimes the bruises affect the entire Tiv Taraba socially and politically.
At times, the poor political vision had resulted into following some wrong and unworthy politicians who have mislead them into a deep pit of political mud!
However, as the Bible says, “there’s time for everything under the sun”. Thus, the election of Arch. Dickson Darius Ishaku as the Executive Governor of Taraba State in 2015 should be considered the time that, the best laser technology has been applied to the political eyes of the Tiv people of Taraba State. Undoubtedly, the governor’s actions or lack of it, by now should be clear to every single Tiv man to give him/her the correct political vision 20/20 in this year 2020.
While many may have seen it coming right from the inception of Arch. Darius Ishaku’s administration in 2015, many were still politically blinded perhaps until this year 2020!
Invariably, when Arch. Dickson Darius Ishaku contested election in 2015, many Tiv people massively voted for him because he is an in-law, believing that, as someone married to their sister, he would extend to them the hitherto political status that eluded them since the creation of Taraba State in 1991. However, to their greatest amazement, Governor Ishaku’s administration has demonstrated outright disdain to the plight of the Tiv person in Taraba State!
It is surprising that right from the ascension to the mantle of leadership in the state, several policies, actions and or lack of it, from the governor have mostly been against the peaceful existence and progress of a Tiv man in Taraba State.
In his first tenure between2015 to 2019, he started performing his laser operation on Tiv as to give them political vision 20/20 by doing the following:
- Appointment of three (3) commissioners from Wukari LGA where Tiv are the dominant ethnic group without consideration to any Tiv person except for one position of an advisor.
- Forceful change of Tiv community names such as Dan Anacha to Kwararafa.
- Creation of sixty (60) chiefdom in Taraba without considering to appoint even one single Tiv person, whereas Tiv are found in over eight (8) out of the sixteen (16) Local governments areas of the state.
- Whereas, the governor elevated several village heads to District heads, third (3rd) class and other higher ranking chiefs, he did not consider elevating a single village head of Tiv extraction to any level at all!
- The Tiv from Takum I State Assembly constituency pleaded to be considered as a replacement for Hon. Hosea Ibbi, the deceased member from that constituency, they were told in unequivocal terms that, the Tiv should forever, forget about an elective position in Taraba State!
- When APC considered the Tiv’s request and fielded a Tiv candidate to contest the bye-election, the Governor himself re-located to the constituency and together with the PDP Chairman Hon. Victor Bala Kona of Jukun Kona, and they did everything possible to ensure that, the Tiv candidate did not win!
- Between 2015 ton2019, Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku, appointed only one Tiv Commissioner in the cabinet, two Advisors and three Special Assistants. He subsequently classified or referred to the Tiv as “Oliver Twists” who are never satisfied, but always want more and more!
Despite all these political surgeries applied to the eyes of the Tiv people by the Governor in his first tenure, majority of the Tiv Taraba still do not have their political vision corrected to 20/20 to enable them realize that, Governor Ishaku had NO good intention nor cared about Tiv Taraba! Although the handwriting on the wall was very clear, Arch. Darius Ishaku was again massively voted by the Tiv people, resulting into his re-election in 2019!
Immediately after his re-election in 2019, it became clear through series of events that followed that, the agenda of Governor Darius Ishaku and his kinsmen to wipe out the Tiv people from Taraba State was no longer hidden! The Governor and his kinsmen embarked upon the following actions:
- Before the governor could be sworn after his re-election, the Jukun militia in Wukari Local Government, unleashed a massive wave of attacks on the Tiv people of Taraba State! What began as a very small misunderstanding between two individuals in Kente village of Wukari LGA turned out to what they were anxiously waiting for? They launched a massive and coordinated attacks on the entire Tiv people within Wukari Local Government under the leadership of the Governor’s appointed Chairman of Wukari LGA.
- The Tiv within Wukari LGA were killed, their houses burnt, and their property looted to the surprise of everyone!
- After that the Chairman of Wukari LGA personally exported the carnage to Donga LGA and the Jukun in Donga teaming up with those from Wukari Local started similar pattern of killing the Tiv people, burning their houses, and looting their property in Donga LGA.
- Without any provocation again, Takum Local Government, the home LGA of the Governor was on fire! The unsuspecting Tiv people again, were massively attacked, killed, houses burnt and property looted.
- While all these killings, burning and looting were going on, Governor Darius Ishaku stood by and did nothing to give the Tiv any form of protection. Thus, it became very clear to everyone that, Governor Darius Ishaku and his kinsmen’s agenda of wiping out the Tiv in Taraba State was and is still on at work till today!
- Governor Darius Ishaku as a Governor of the state, has openly supported the agenda of his Jukun kinsmen which is to continue frustrating the Tiv and subsequently, eliminating them completely from Taraba State. This became crystal on September 4th 2019, when President Mohammadu Buhari summoned the governors of Benue and Taraba States to look into the Tiv Jukun crisis and proffer solutions.
The two governors met at the Yar’Adua centre in Abuja under the Chairman of the President of Federal Republic of Nigeria, represented by the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Boss Mustapha. While the Governor of Benue State, Dr. Samuel Ortom called for a commission of inquiry into the crisis, the Governor of Taraba, Arch. Dickson Darius Ishaku, vehemently opposed the call. He shamelessly, suggested that, the matter was not above his capacity and he would resolve it internally forgetting that the crisis had lingered on for over 6 months while he stood by.
- At the Yar’Adua Centre, Governor Ishaku showed his utmost disdain and pungent hatred for Tiv when he told the audience of how ineffective the Nigerian constitution was and how his Jukun kinsmen’s tradition was superior, thus a Tiv man should never dream of elective position in Taraba, but should focus on Benue only, emphatically stating that, Ortom could not be a governor in Benue and expect his son to be a governor in another state in Nigeria.
- Governor Darius displayed his utmost high level of disrespect for the Tiv in the presence of HRM the Tor Tiv and other illustrious sons of Tiv and Idoma such as, the former Senate Presidents; Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, David Mark, Professor, Ambassador Iyorwuese Hagher, Prof. Daniel Saror, Sen Gemade, Sen. Jack Gyado etc. the Deputy Governors of Benue and Taraba states. He shamelessly told the audience that he has often yelled at his Tiv wife, the mother of his children, and told her to “shut up” each time she tried talking to him regarding the Tiv Jukun crisis!
- His present cabinet appointments from the respective Local Governments shows: i. Wukari LGA, 3 Commissioners; ii. Takum LGA, 2 Commissioners; iii. Donga LGA, 2 Commissioners. iv. Ussa and Yangtu (Kuteb) Commissioners and v. Ibi LGA, 1 Commissioner, making a total of 7 Commissioners from Southern Taraba. None of them is of Tiv extraction, whereas, Tiv are majority ethnic group from the same Southern Taraba! Probably, his thinking is that, the Tiv in Southern Taraba have all been wiped out, hence there is none left to be appointed in the cabinet office.
- Governor Ishaku recently appointed 13 Permanent Secretaries without consideration to any single Tiv person.
- While in office Governor Ishaku ensured that, the positions of the Senator; Two (2) House of Representatives members; Seven (7) State Assembly members; Chairmen, Vice Chairmen, and Secretaries of all the Local Government Areas in Southern Taraba, are all of Jukun extraction, although Tiv are the major ethnic group in this area!
- Governor Ishaku had vowed that, no Tiv man will ever hold an elective position in Taraba State as he abundantly demonstrated in the Takum I bye-election of 2018 and the general elections of 2019.
- As a Governor, in conjunction with other elected members of various Federal and State houses, he has influenced employment of hundreds of Jukun youths at the Federal parastatals and state government’s levels without consideration to the hundreds of unemployed Tiv youth.
- As a governor of Taraba State, he has ensured that young Tiv people from Taraba State are often denied consideration for Federal and State recruitment exercises on the pretext that, Tiv are not found in Taraba State.
- Governor Ishaku has encouraged soldiers of Operation “Ayem a Kpatuma” to harass the Tiv youth by classifying them as bandits and kidnappers. As a result, no single Tiv person is yet to return back to his/her ancestral home in Wukari Local Government Area! Those who have returned from Donga and Takum LGA are constantly been harassed and their houses randomly searched for no good reason by the Ishaku induced security operatives.
- The Governor has directed that, soldiers should be stationed only in Jukun towns and villages to provide them with protection, but not in the Tiv communities thus, making the Tiv vulnerable to attacks by the Jukun militia. As a result, many Tiv have been unable to return to their ancestral homes, particularly in Wukari LGA.
- Governor Darius has encouraged and sponsored the Jukuns in Benue State to become very disobedient, arrogant and take up arms against the Tiv within Abintse to the extent that, they ‘ve burnt down the Tiv people around Abintse without provocations.
- Governor Darius Dickson Ishaku is a great orthomologist that has carefully applied the laser technology on the political eyes of the Tiv people in Taraba State.
- Now that Governor Darius has given the Tiv vision 20/20, it is believed that every Tiv person has a corrected political vision in this year 2020! With this corrected vision, the Tiv of Taraba will never again blindly follow a wrong ploitician. They will never again fall into political mud pit! They will never be deceived and mislead by some unscrupulous politicians again. Hope in 2023, every Tiv person in Taraba would have a corrected vision 20/20 to clearly see and know where to go and or the right thing to do come 2023!
- Kator Katyo is the Convener, Coalition of Tiv Conscience and Awareness Forum. Taraba State.