Tiv seek emergency rule to restore peace in Taraba
• Reject PDP’s governorship candidate, endorse SDP’s
THE need for both the federal and Taraba state governments to as a matter of urgency declare a state of emergency for the immediate return of displaced Tiv people back to the state has become a source of concern to the leadership of the Tiv community.
Sad that the people are at the verge of being disenfranchised from voting in the forthcoming polls, government, they said, must evolve ways of ensuring that displaced Tiv who are presently taking refuge in the neighbouring states of Benue, Nasarawa and Plateau come back to the state before the February 14 elections.
The people, who stormed the premises of the correspondent chapel of the Nigeria Union of Journalists (NUJ) under the auspices of the Tiv Cultural and Social Association, said over five hundred thousand Tiv people from the state have been displaced from their natural areas of domiciles.
Flanked by both the executive and some elders of the community, the President-General of the association, James D. Nungwa, said that the authority concerned had not deemed it fit to roll out relevant machineries to “bring back our displaced people.”
Noting that both the farmlands and the houses of the Tiv people have been occupied by the Fulani, the need for the authority to assist in chasing away the Fulani and perfect ways to return the displaced Tiv to their home, they said have become relevant.
In the said upheavals, no fewer than seven hundred persons as well as villages were said to have been killed or destroyed by the herdsmen who invaded the state through the neighbouring Nasarawa State.
They also urged the people to disregard the rumours making round that the Tiv elders had endorsed the candidacy of the governorship candidate of the Social Democracy Party (SDP) in the state.
According to him: “The exco members of the association or the congress have at no time in a meeting of the association taken a decision to endorse a particular candidate in the forthcoming governorship election in the state.”
He said that the Tiv “are free-minded people and can individually decide to throw their support to any candidate of their individual choice and such support should not be construed to mean the collective decision of the Tiv people of Taraba State.”
The Tiv, which The Guardian learnt is one of the largest ethnic groups in the state, are presently scattered all over following the numerous attacks that were visited on them by the herdsmen which led to massive destruction of lives and property.
In another development, the Tiv communities in Taraba State had earlier collectively resolved not to vote for the governorship candidate and all those seeking elective positions on the platform of the ruling People’s Democratic (PDP) in the state.
Not comfortable with the governorship candidate, Darius Ishaku whom they said was imposed on the party and the people of the state at large by Gen. T.Y. Danjuma (rtd), they reiterated their determination to work tirelessly round the clock to mar PDP’s victory at the polls.
The people, who converged at Tor-Damisa in Donga Local Council, frowned at the way and manner PDP government had in the past 16 years sidelined the Tiv people in the state.
Speaking, the chairman of the Tiv Elders in the state, Atem Ansho, said the “ill-activities” of both Danjuma and the former Minister of Water Resources, Obadiah Ando, towards the Tiv community in the state, compelled them to withdraw their support for PDP.
Ansho said: “With T.Y. Danjuma and Obadiah Ando behind the PDP governorship candidate in Taraba State, we believe that nothing good will ever come out of PDP and its governorship candidate.”
Describing PDP as an “Ebola”, Ansho noted with dismay that “ for the past 16 years that we have been in PDP, we have nothing to show because we were not recognised by them.”
Sad that PDP governorship candidate is being “sponsored by the enemies of Tiv people in the state”, relevant strategies to discourage Tiv eligible voters from voting for PDP, as stated by Ansho, have been mapped out by the elders.
The refusal of T.Y. Danjuma and Ando to support the candidacy of the governorship candidate of the Social Democracy Party, David Sabo Kente, before defecting from PDP, was another major reasons they said discouraged them from backing PDP.
Stressing that “ can the Tiv man have any stake in PDP”, Ansho said: “We have decided to follow David Sabo Kente because if elected, he would make things easy for us in this state.”
Also speaking, Elder David Mtuhwem, whom The Guardian learnt was once a member of the House of Assembly in the defunct Gongola State, said while Ando kicked against the appointment of a Tiv man as the registrar of the Federal University in Wukari, T.Y. Danjuma, he said, has being using his position to halt the appointment of Tiv people in the state and the country jury at large.
Citing the imposision of candidates on the people by the PDP, they are of the view that development would be far from the state should PDP emerges victorious in the polls.