AYACASODI Appreciates Gov Kefas for Appointing Hon James Philip

  • Appeal for Justice to Tiv people

Emmanuel Awari – Jalingo

A Tiv Cultural and Social Development Association, Ayatutu Cultural and Social development Initiative (AYACASODI) Worldwide, have appreciated Governor Agbu Kefas for appointing one of their illustrous son, Hon. Habu James Philip as the Commissioner, Ministry of Cooperative and Poverty Alleviation.

The National Secretary of the Association, Comrade David Nyiagee, stated this while interacting with Newsmen in Jalingo.

“Ayatutu Cultural and Social Development Initiative (AYACASODI) Worldwide is an organization that is duly incorporated with the Corporate Affairs Commission (CAC) with the sole aim of promoting the culture, peace, unity, development, and social values of the Tiv people worldwide.

“As a body, we had formally congratulated His Excellency, Dr. Agbu Kefas, the Executive Governor of Taraba State, and would like to congratulate him once again over his victory at the polls; and now we wish to publically commend his leadership style which has so far given hope to many residents, and indeed Nigerians that a new sheriff is in town to change the narrative of the way things were done in the past.

He salute the efforts of the governor for the good governance in the state.

“It is on record that in less than three months in office; the Governor has redefined governance through mind-blowing reforms.

“The declaration of free primary and secondary education, the reduction of tertiary institutions’ school fees by half, the setting up of committees of enquires to suggest solutions to ending some perennial tribal crises in the state, the implementation of the new minimum wage, the appointment of youths into key offices, and the rolling out of palliatives are some of the uncommon steps of this administration. These steps signify hope, unity, and inclusion of the people of the state.

“I want to specifically thank the Governor for the appointment of one of our illustrious sons, Hon. Habu James Philip as Honourable Commissioner, Ministry of Cooperative and Poverty Alleviation and we appeal to him to consider more Tiv sons and daughters for appointment in his government.

“In a very special way, we also wish to appreciate H.E. Dr. Agbu Kefas for his continuous assurance, through Hon. Jethro Yakubu (the Majority Leader of the Taraba State House of Assembly) that, the Tiv people will soon return to their ancestral homeland, safely and peacefully, especially in Southern Taraba and plead with him to ensure that this hope becomes a reality.

He said that the Association welcome the creation of the Ministry of Social Justice and Reintegration; the prompt and decisive way the Governor has handled the crisis in Karim-Lamido over the Chieftaincy tussle; which is one of the land mines planted by Arch.Darius Ishaku, the immediate past Governor of the state.

He pointed out that the former Governor, Darius Ishaku melted so much injustice to the Tiv people in the creation of Chiefdoms and Districts.

“He also illegally confiscated land from our people who are the rightful owners for himself and others; and we wish to call for a review of the process in the interest of justice, peace, inclusion, and development.

“In 2018, the immediate past Governor, Darius Ishaku created and upgraded 54 chiefdoms in Taraba State, and since then, Ishaku had further created chiefdoms and districts in almost every village and hamlet in Taraba State, but he never deem it fit to create even one chiefdom for the Tiv people in the entire Taraba State, despite historical records that clearly favour the creation of Tiv Chiefdoms and districts.

“The exercise led to the creation of Chanchanji Chiefdom in Takum LGA, which is predominantly Tiv but named after Chamba name. It will interest you to know that, Chanchanji as a village has its small territory with a culture totally different from the Tiv culture that is in the majority.

“It is also on record that Chanchanji ward which is 98 percent Tiv with over 38,000 registered voters has barely 2% Chamba population. However, we did not protest in public because our people from that area had also submitted a proposal for the creation of a Shitile chiefdom with headquarters at Peva.

“In the same Takum LGA, the Gara of Chanchanji appointed and tried to impose Chamba district heads on the people of Mbajir and Mbatyula clans under the Chanchanji district; and the Mberev, Kwan-Yongo, Mbadyugh and Shiakpev clans under Tse-Amadu Districts before the Government’s circular banning the creation and installation of district heads in June this year. Meanwhile, over 98 percent of the population of both Chanchanji and Tse-Amadu Districts are predominantly Tiv people; with few Chamba and Hausa. We challenge anyone with counter facts to present the same to the public.

According to him, apart from the submission of a proposal for the creation of a Shitile Chiefdom in Takum, the Tiv people in Donga LGA also submitted a proposal for the upgrade of the already created and gazetted Ugondo district to a Chiefdom with headquarters at Tor-Damisa.

“A similar proposal for the restoration of the Shitile district was also submitted, with headquarters at Ananum.

“It is worthy of note that the Shitile village area was created on the 1st of May 1961 and approved on 6th January, 1962, alongside four other village areas of Ugondo, Gidin Dutse, Gayama, and Suntai.

“The Barde administration in 1981 also made use of these units in creating Local Government Areas and districts in the defunct Gongola State.

He disclose that all the other village areas created the same day with the Shitile village areas have become districts except the Shitile village area, a clear case of exclusion and injustice taken too far.

“While we were waiting for the Governor’s action on these requests, Governor Ishaku shockingly approved the creation and renaming of that same Shitile district (a Tiv and the legitimate name) to Wetibi district (a Chamba name) with headquarters at Ananum, with 99% Tiv population; and Samgambe district (another Chamba name) in the place of the already created and gazetted Ugondo district (which is a Tiv and the legitimate name) with headquarters in Tor-Damisa with 99% Tiv population. This is a clear case of historical distortion and colonialism in the 21st century.

He further disclose that Wukari and Ibi LGAs, many village areas were created for the Tiv people by the Colonial masters, alongside for other tribes.

“Almost all the other village areas have been upgraded to districts and chiefdoms, except the ones from the Tiv-dominated areas which are still village areas and are not even recognized.

“It is instructive to note that Tiv’s existence in those communities predates the coming of colonial masters and there are historical and archival documents to back up this fact.

“Strangely, the Darius Ishaku’s administration had abysmally distorted both the pre-colonial and colonial historic records which are visible in national archives.

“Recall that the Darius Ishaku administration had changed the name of Dan-Anacha in Gassol LGA to Kwararafa and created a Chiefdom, which is causing tension in the area to date.

“It will shock His Excellency, Governor Agbu Kefas to know that, Arc. Darius Ishaku took this injustice against the Tiv people of Taraba State to another level, by illegally confiscating lands which rightfully belong to the Tiv people who were displaced due to crisis, for himself and his loyalists. It is believed that he even obtained Certificate of Occupancy for some of those lands, especially in Southern Taraba.

“It is unbelievable that Governor of a State will make the environment unsecured for the citizens for them to flee for safety so he could grab their land to himself.

“In all fairness and Godliness, what is the justification for the appointment of Chamba people as District Heads of Chanchanji and Tse-Amadu over Tiv people? What is the justification for the renaming and appointment of Chamba people as district heads over Tiv people of Shitile and Ugondo districts? What is the justification for denying the Tiv people of Wukari and Ibi LGAs the rights of upgrading their village areas to districts as was done to others? What is the justification for renaming Dan-Anacha, a Tiv-dominated town to Kwararafa and appointing a non-Tiv as head over the Tiv people? What is the justification for illegally grabbing land from Tiv people who are the rightful owners, and even obtaining C of O for same lands? These were some of the ticking time bombs and seeds of discord that were deliberately planted by former Governor Darius Ishaku for Governor Kefas.

“This injustice and maltreatment of the Tiv people should be looked into. This act of slavery in this 21st century should be totally condemned by all peace-loving and well-meaning individuals. It is obvious that Governor Ishaku’s actions were geared towards permanently erasing Tiv’s identity and enslaving our people in this 21st century. We rejected this before, under the watch of Darius Ishaku in the twilight of his administration and we humbly call on Governor Kefas to look into these injustices, because we trust him to being a man of justice.

He humbly appeal to the Governor of Taraba State, Dr. Agbu Kefas who has so far demonstrated courage and all-inclusive leadership, to set up an independent and neutral committee to review the creation and appointment of non-Tiv as District Heads in Tiv-dominated areas of Takum, Donga and Gassol LGAs, adding that the deliberate refusal to upgrade the long existing Tiv-dominated village areas in Wukari and Ibi LGAs to districts and chieftaincy status accordingly; and the forceful land grabbing from the Tiv people who are the legitimate owners by the immediate past Governor and his loyalists.

According to him, the immediate past Governor, gave them the assurance that the Tiv people will soon return to their ancestral homeland, a reality; with a view to addressing the injustices for the sake of peace, equity, justice, and fairness, but to his surprise it was not accomplished.

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