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» » » » » » » The Task Of The Newly Elected Tor Tiv

This interesting piece was written by Terhemba Osuji on the 17th of December 2016, before the emergence of His Royal Majesty, Tor Tiv V, Orchivirigh Prof. James Ayatse. Since it covers the tasks that the new Tor Tiv is to face i say let me share. PLEASE READ; 


It is troubling that a new TOR TIV has not been crowned since the demise of Orchivirigh Dr. Alfred Akawe Torkula IV back in November 2015.
Kwagh chier mer yo!

It remains a mystery to me why our great Tiv natien has been without a TOR TIV to lead us through these dark times when it took just a few weeks to select Orchivirigh James Akperan Orshi III after the death of Orchivirigh Gondo Aluor II in 1978. 

Nevertheless, we are heartened and I congratulate everyone including Governor Ortom for joining hands in organizing the selection and appointment of first class chiefs for Lobi, Gwer, Sankera, Jemgbagh, Jerchira, and Kwanda.
By all accounts these new Tor’s are all men of proven integrity and character and it is my understanding that these appointments are some of the final steps in the process towards selecting the new TOR TIV who is scheduled to be announced on December 20.
Notwithstanding this unusual delay in selecting our new TOR TIV, we still must use extreme caution in undertaking this all-important exercise. I am alarmed that these new tor’s who were only just appointed in November are now scheduled to meet at the Council Chamber on the 19th to select the new TOR TIV after just a one day meeting. I believe the Tiv natien and Kingmakers need to take stock of the state of the TIV natien at this very critical point in time and allow for extensive consultation among the Tor’s and the clans before making such a monumental leadership decision that will shape the TIV natien for a long time.
Because of the presumption that everyone is aware of the problems facing the TIV natien, it would be best to clearly state the issues facing the natien so everyone can understand they type of TOR TIV Benue needs to select to deal with present and emerging threats; 

1.       Presently, the TIV have been carved out into different states with the majority living in Benue, but several others are caught in neighboring Taraba and Nassarawa state. As far as we know this has not untowardly affected Tiv unity, but it is not ideal to have our people split into different states under different state and local government councils. The Tiv’s in Taraba and Nassarawa states are vulnerable to marginalization and discrimination as they are not the dominant tribe in those states or local governments where they find themselves. As a matter of priority, resources need to be directed towards petitioning the federal government to redraw the border lines to bring those communities back into Benue State, it is a novel idea, but with persistence, I believe these prayers can be answered. The new TOR TIV must be the chief and untiring advocate for furthering this goal and must constantly act to ensure those Tiv people are treated fairly in these neighboring states.
2.       The most obvious existential threat to the TIV natien presently is the rampant and steady attacks by Fulani herdsmen who have rummaged through our farmlands in their quest to feed their cattle. Over time, they have broken century old unspoken codes and agreements and have migrated en-masse inwards with their cattle protected by armed bands of terrorists and militia attacking and destroying host communities to possess our land. Presently Fulani herdsmen have occupied the Tiv clans especially in the Moon district of Kwande local government. This siege and onslaught has led to some actions like the Movement against Fulani Occupation and online campaigns which has sensitized Nigeria to the plight faced by some of these communities. Many Tiv leaders including Governor Ortom have appeared on Channels TV and diplomatically explained the menace of Fulani herdsmen and has variously appealed to the president and military commanders about providing better security. It appears in the interim, that these calls have been somewhat heeded as there are fewer reports of bloodletting and slaughter in the land on a grand scale, but nevertheless the fact remain that the TIV natien is under attack and occupied by Fulani people who have seized the land and polluted the waterways with cow dung from feeding their cows.
3.       These attacks have caused social upheaval in several communities and turned once productive and peaceful citizens who had to flee their communities into refugees at the various internally displaced people’s camps in the state. The situation has deteriorated over the years and is slowly overwhelming the resources of the state government and it looks to get worse as there appears to be no permanent solution or plan to remove these occupiers from seized lands and communities.
4.       The Tiv despite being the 4th to 6th largest tribe in the country has not fared politically in this dispensation and currently there is no Tiv minister at the federal cabinet level even as the TIV massively voted for the APC including having two APC serving senators. The TIV are also losing the competition for induction into the armed forces within Benue State as most intake reports clearly show. The TIV are also are not faring well with employment into the Federal Civil service. Even as these events are unfolding no major infrastructural project or road has been proposed to run through the TIV hinterland. Despite our size and according to the order of precedence of chiefs of Northern Nigeria house of chiefs, the TOR TIV ranks as the number #15 behind most of the he Emirs of several northern states made up several smaller tribes. A new, powerful, and assertive TOR TIV can reverse this perception by strident advocacy about TIV independence and superiority.
5.       In the areas of business many of the industries located in the TIV hinterland are comatose and in a state of disrepair and the Benue Cement Factory located in Yandev belongs to foreign interests. All hands must be put on deck towards reclaiming this industry back to the hands of TIV merchants and business men.
6.       At the federal level, the government has several solutions to the problem of settler herdsman many less memorable than they most notable which is to create grazing routes and cattle ranches for these herdsmen within the state on TIV land. This plans involves divesting communal Tiv land from the Tiv which will be allocated to these Fulani herdsmen and under new legislation circulating within NASS it appears that the Federal government would gain the right to seize, compensate, and allocate any land to these herdsmen within the state and the natien at large. Unlike days long gone, it is clear we Tiv no longer have less land to farm due to our population explosion much less to lose in trying to help Fulani herdsmen settle down forcefully on our communal land. This evolving situation presents a grave danger to the Tiv natien.
7.       The looming issue if this legislation gets approved is to work at extracting the right amount of compensation and mix of trade-offs to compensate Tiv people for being forced to give up their communal land and the rules and tenancy of such an agreement. Another related issue is the need to not only direct more federal attention to compensating victims of previous attacks by Fulani herdsmen but also demanding an official apology from and getting compensation for the deaths inflicted by the Nigerian Army on the people of Zaki Biam in 1999.
These are some of the few but very serious problems facing the Tiv natien and it is with this perception and appreciation of the problems facing the natien that the kingmakers must use in selecting the new TOR TIV.

Before tackling these issues the fight for relevance must begin from within and we TIV must choose a TOR TIV who is committed to reviving and promoting the use of Tiv language which is in decline. It must be noted that TIV cultures and traditional practices have been under assault from using English as the official state language, westernization, and the invasion of Abrahamic religions.
Many Tiv scholars would agree that the TIV had a unique culture and history before being first colonized by the British and through that colonization being subverted under the old dominant northern Nigeria region, which represents an ongoing a two-pronged assault to TIV language and culture. Presently most Tiv primarily identify themselves as Christians which run in some instances contrary and in most cases, supersedes native tradition and practices, even to the point where there is a debate about how to swear in the new TOR TIV.
It is imperative that the new TOR TIV signal to the world and most especially to TIV people that he is determined to promote TIV culture above everything else. Ideally he should renounce all other religions and at worst agree to be being sworn into office with the Swem. This is very necessary as it will signal the revival of TIV culture and put to rest the supremacy of TIV culture over all foreign influences and return the TIV to its original pre-colonial roots.
The new TOR TIV must be shrewd. He must be diabolical and must be willing to listen to his subjects and consult all forces and mediums in the spiritual realm for his invocations to be viewed with extreme trepidation followed by the ultimate compliance. His words must be law and his presence viewed reverently and in awe especially by external aggressors or oppressors for fear that his pronouncements will unify the TIV people to action against them. He must be a diplomat able to cut deals and unite the various clans for the common good. He must unite all the Mzough U Tiv’s in the diaspora and within Nigeria and unify various causes like the Movement against Fulani occupation under a single banner.
He must be a very wealthy man whose exploits around the world are well documented and a man not easily intimidated. He must be wealthy to the point where he becomes altruistic and charitable for the common good. If the best qualified candidate is not a wealthy man they TIV must tax themselves mercilessly to pay him tribute, so he can live a lifestyle over and above all TIV people so his office can command the respects it deserves. In that vein, I must commend the efforts of Governor Ortom at rehabilitating and upgrading the TOR TIV's palace at Gboko in preparation for the new TOR TIV. A majestic palace and the grandeur of his court will encourage all people to listen to edicts from his office.
In that vein the new TOR TIV must be above petty politics and must only be summoned to issue rallying cries to TIV people to assert the power and enduring culture of the TIV people. He must lead new initiatives and mobilize all TIV people to form new alliances to gain the TIV more power and sound the clarion call to end old alliances that have marginalized TIV people akin to being taken for granted with a view towards channeling the population and influence towards producing the first TIV president.
Among his personal attributes, he should be of pure and noble lineage from one of the royal houses and he must be predisposed to polygamy in-order to marry and unite all the clans.  

Presently, all qualified sons from Jemgbagh, Sankera, Kwande, Jechira and Minda are can be selected as the next TOR TIV, however due to the origin of the previous TOR TIV’s and they need to rotate the stool it appears that candidates from Kwande or the ipusu of Sankera are the most likely candidates I urge the kingmakers to not allow this criterion to be the overriding factor, and if none of the candidates meet all the criteria that the kingmakers throw open the contest to all TIV sons. In that same vein, all the clans must present their strongest candidates before the council and I urge the kingmakers to allow each of the candidates to address them directly about his plans for the TIV natien. This procedure is very important as they most overriding qualification besides some education is the need for the next TOR TIV to have the strongest and most superior control and command of the TIV language including its local vernacular and dialects beyond passable and adulterated TIV.
During this exercise, each of the candidates must talk about the history of the Tiv and explain why his clan must produce the next TOR TIV, he must comprehensively discuss Tiv oral tradition and trace and explain the descendants of ipusu and explain why Mbaiyor are believed to be the custodian of Tiv culture and traditions and settle the raging Mbakyorites Ichongo or Ipusu controversy among other scholarly exercises.
Most importantly this man must explain to us why he will swear the oath of office on the bible or  SWEM. He must explain his views on Aondo and how he will handle tsav and mitigate akombo. He must explain how he will keep the akombo repaired and what special prayers and processes he would use to prevent them from prospering. Lastly, he must explain his views about marriage and life and death given the frightening and inflationary cost of these events in TIV land.
I am sure his explanation will display his knowledge of TIV cultures and traditions and his use of native vernacular will clearly tell the assembled King makers who should be the next TOR TIV. 

Msugh ne chi

Shagbaor Terhemba Osuji hails from Mbayion

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