Igede: Problem of Leadership and question of Rightful Position (2) By Ijuo Okpe
The saying that no one can make a person inferior without his consent is true. The followers expect boldness from the leader. Indeed lack of good leadership compounded the problems of Igede in 1987 when two States: Akwa Ibom and Katsina were created by the administration of Gen. Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida. Then some local government councils were created in all the States of the federation without Igede benefitting.
In 1991, the same Babangida government created more States and local government councils; whereas other ethnic groups benefited again from that exercise, Igede was left out. It was not the fault of other tribes in Benue, but the political leaders from the Igede who lacked wisdom to decipher the degree of damage their indecision would impact on the entire Igede nation. Instead of forwarding two or more names, they were squabbling over whether Ito or Oyongo should be submitted.
If Ito and Oyongo were submitted in 1987, perhaps one of them would have been considered, while the second name would have also been created council in 1991. These feeble-minded leaders allowed the golden opportunity to elude the Igede.
In 1996 when the administration of Gen. Sani Abacha decided to create more local government councils, the mathematical formula adopted by that government did not favour Igede with only one local council – not even when up to four names were submitted. But for lack of foresight, Igede would have had at least six local government councils today. Indeed this generation and future generations to come shall not forgive the elites for shrugging off things of great benefit.
It’s an insult on our sensibilities for the political leaders to treat as achievements the few boreholes they have provided with the constituency allowances given to them by the government; ironically these allowances are meant for those projects in the first place. The pertinent question is: Is all the money received as constituency projects used for the projects?
Power is transient and no condition is permanent. It is expected that whoever is fortunate to assume a position of responsibility should not abuse the privilege. A leader is under a bond to provide amenities for his people. The obligation and duty to uplift the standard of living of the people rest on the leader. It’s amount to a betrayal on the part of a leader if he does not speak against injustice; yes if he lacks vision to initiate fruitful ideas that would bring development; he must have plausible and executable agenda capable of ameliorating the living condition of the people.
Benue State is made up of different ethnic groups, but one ethnic group, the Tiv has been producing governor of the State; Tivs have the Speaker of the State House of Assembly; a Minister appointed from Benue is Tiv; an Ambassador is a Tiv; State own University’s Vice Chancellor has always been a Tiv and this intolerable action is peculiar to Benue State.
In Edo, Delta, Kogi, Akwa Ibom, Rivers, Cross River States just to mention few, one ethnic group has not amassed all juicy political offices to itself. There shouldn’t have been any need for the agitation for more States if we imbibe the principle of power sharing.
Our linguistic and cultural differences are supposed to be exploited for the benefit of the society. The majority have it all syndrome is the reason for the agitation for more States, as if it possible for all the over four hundred ethnic groups in the country to have their own States. To think this is possible is tantamount to calling for the creation of about four hundred States.
There is trouble where a leader is bereft of ideas. A person that has no ideology, a person that lacks knowledge is no different from a traitor. Frankly speaking, we need committed leaders – people with refined minds. We want people who shall stand up for the rights of the oppressed; those who shall see injustice in the of the Benue State government to install a first Class traditional Ruler for the Igede.
We want people who shall never be happy and comfortable that Igede is producing only one Commissioner. We want those who shall table our problems to both the state and the federal governments without fear, and pursue them doggedly. We want those who shall see something wrong in Oju local government that used to have two members in the State House of Assembly now having only one member, whereas some local governments in the State have two members. Igede, therefore, is not maintaining the status quo in the distribution of appointments to political offices.
It’s unfortunate that natural population has become a weapon in hands of the majority to cause disaffection, alas to fan the embers of discord.
This concluding part of the article was published in November 2009 edition of The Congress Magazine. The Author, Ijuo Okpe was also the Publisher of the Magazine. Some of the injustices mentioned in the article have been addressed.