The Idoma people resident in the 19 states of Nigeria have thrown their weight behind the 2023 gubernatorial bid of the Benue South Senatorial District.
They have promised to do everything within their power to enable the Senatorial District, otherwise known as Zone C, actualize its dream of occupying the position of Benue state Governor in 2023.
They made this promise in Kaduna, July 3, when they received a delegation of Benue South Senatorial District under the umbrella of Benue Rebirth Movement (BRM) which paid them an advocacy visit in the capital city of the defunct Northern Region.
BRM is the body that is leading the agitation for zone C to produce the Benue state Governor in 2023.
The BRM delegation was hosted by the Forum of Presidents of Idoma Community Development Association in Northern Nigera (Opiatoha Kai Otreyi Idoma K’Enochi Nigeria) during its quarterly meeting.
The Chairman of the Forum and Ad’Idoma, Plateau State, Chief Leo Adejoh, said: “I have never voted outside my village before and I have always been in the vanguard of the struggle for the political emancipation of zone C. So, on our part we will give our 100% support.
I urge all my people to give the needed support.
The chiefs will give you their blessings and pray for your success wherever you go on this mission. We will take up the challenge you have thrown at us.” All the members of the Forum who spoke pledged their support and emphasized the need for unity within the ranks of the political elite, traditional institutions and the various subunits of Zone C so that, this time around, the agitation does not suffer the same fate as previous efforts.
The zone has never produced the state Governor since it was created in 1976 while zones A and B combined have had six Governors.
Earlier, in his address, the BRM’s Administrative Officer and leader of delegation, Hon. Gabriel Olofu, gave the background to zone C’s agitation for the state governorship position, formation of BRM and the visit to Kaduna. He said the Movement had planned to take its advocacy to major cities with large and organized population of Zone C people across the country beginning with Jos about a month ago.
According to him, the coming together of Idoma Chiefs from the 19 States of the North was a sort of divine purpose to ease and fast track BRM’s assignment.
The delegation leader narrated how Zone C has been marginalized with respect to the position of Governor of the state in spite of the fact the zone has the capacity to excel and has indeed excelled in all fields of human endeavour.
He recalled how, in 2007, when Zone C’s bid for the governorship failed, many thought it was impossible to keep the zone out of power until 2023 when all the five ruling families of the Tiv would have completed the rotation of the office among themselves.
“What was thought impossible in 2007 has now come to pass and we fear that if another round of rotation to begins in 2023, it could take another 40 years for Zone C to become Governor, hence the seriousness attached to the current agitation,” he said.
Olofu said what was required of Idoma and other Zone C indigenes resident outside Benue State is threefold: First, they should participate actively in the current Continuous Voter Registration exercise by getting all adults without voter’s card and teenagers who have attained voting age to go to their villages and register.
He also enjoined all those with voter’s cards to transfer their voting points to their villages.
The other two forms of support include spreading the campaign to friends, relatives and other Benue indigenes in their various locations and back home, as well as financial contributions, individually or collectively.
BRM’s Head of Risk Management and member of delegation, Kelvin Odatse-Peters, summarized the content of the project document, The BRM’s Strategic Road Map to enlighten the forum on the framework, objectives and strategies of the agitation.
He said the document prescribes the use of persuasion rather than aggression and violence as the best approach to achieve the objectives of the agitation. He urged the Forum to circulate the 21 copies of the document freely as it was a public document designed for the betterment of Benue state as a whole, emphasizing that the crowd funding being solicited by BRM was to ensure that no individual or group claims ownership of the project.
The Media Relations Officer of BRM and delegation member, Hon. Joseph Ode, told the gathering that back in the state, the Idoma, Igede and other groups were united in the struggle and urged the Idoma resident outside the state to bring their counterparts from other groups to join the agitation. He said that a number of pitfalls that caused the failure of previous attempts were being addressed to ensure success this time around.
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