The paramount ruler of the Idoma in Benue State, the Och’Idoma, Dr. Elias Ikoyi Obekpa, has pleaded with his Tiv counterpart and Chairman of the Benue State Council of Traditional Rulers, the Tor Tiv, Prof. James Ayatse, to advise politicians from the Tiv kingdom to give the Idoma an opportunity to be Benue State Governor in 2023.
Dr. Obekpa who is also the Chairman, Idoma Area Traditional Council, made the plea Tuesday, July 13, when he led the traditional rulers from his domain on a visit to the Tor Tiv in Gboko.
The meeting between the two paramount rulers and their chiefs took place behind closed doors after an open welcome reception by the host. However, the inclusion in the Och’Idoma’s delegation of AVM Monday Morgan, National Coordinator and a few leaders of the Benue Rebirth Movement (BRM), the organization which is leading the agitation for Benue South Senatorial District (Zone C) to produce the Benue State Governor in 2023 led to speculations that the visit was in connection with the 2023 Governirship election.
Although there was no post-meeting press briefing, a copy of the speech delivered by the Och’Idoma, obtained by newsmen, confirmed the speculations. In it, the Och’Idoma requested the Tor Tiv to use his position as the father of the Tiv nation to prevail on his subjects to concede the state Governorship position to the Idoma in 2023.
“We are here with open hands and this is our request: that the Tiv nation will…let Idoma have the opportunity of producing the executive Governor of Benue State come 2023,” the Och’Idoma said.
He told the Tor Tiv: “I know your stand and revered position can be overwhelming and uncommonly influential in this wise. Many of your children are disposed to this deep-hearted desire. Speak to your children both at home and in the diaspora to reckon with this passionate appeal and grant our request. I know this can be done.”
It was not clear what the Tor Tiv’s response was. However, reliable sources close to the meeting qouted him as saying that Zone C has a strong case and that traditional rulers in his domain were passionate about zone C’s predicament. According to the sources, Prof. Ayatse drew the attention of his visitors to the fact that as traditional rulers who are statute-barred from politics there was little they could do unless their children sought their advice. He, therefore, reportedly advised zone C politicians to reach out to their counterparts in Tiv land and also to put their house in order.
Categories: James Ibechi