By: Shola Akingboye
Contrary to the maxim that prophets are not valued at home, but reverse was the case recently in Gboko, the ancestral capital of the Tiv people in Benue state of Nigeria, as son and daughters of the land converged at the palace of their King, not for the usual palace call but in honour of one of their son, Amb.
Tiv, the undisputed fourth largest ethnic group in Nigeria may have risen from its slumber, having played ostrich in the political equation in Nigeria since the era of the icon, the Benue born middle-belt first republic politician, J.S Tarka.
But the failure of the majority ethnic groups that held power since independent but failed to deliver good governance to the people of Nigeria, particularly at the advent of the post military democracy in 1999, may probably have prompted this largest ethnic nationality in the North central part of Nigeria to take the bull by the horn, as they have unanimously presents one of their son, Prof. Iyorwuese Hagher to the Nigerian nation ahead of the upcoming presidency in 2019.
Known for his political plays and diplomacy as well as an advocate of good governance and leadership, Iyorwuese Hagher has earned for himself a household name in the Nigerian political space and academics.
Only the deep can be call to the deep they say; as a Professor of letters, Iyorwuese writing career spans over 40 years and mostly focuses on the subject of bad leadership and corruption in Africa, hence his recent endorsement by the Tiv nation, which would not have come as a surprise to many Nigerians.
His coming into the mainstream politics have been largely described as a round peg in round hole by some political pundits, particularly at the august endorsement organized by the Benue state royal fathers in council, headed by the chairman of the council, the Tor Tiv, on Saturday 5th, 2018, to fathom an elixir to the protracted economic imbroglio that has bedeviled Nigeria in recent past.
While playing host to Prof. Hagher at his Gboko palace with leaders of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) present, the traditional rulers endorsed Hagher for the presidential race, said it was the turn of the north central part of Nigeria to produce the President and to occupy the seat of power after many years of sacrifice to unite and stabilised Nigeria.
Tor tiv speaks: “Even though, Prof. Hagher is running on the platform of the Social Democratic Party (SDP), all political parties must unite and adopt him for president in 2019.”
Tor Tiv specifically lamented the sacrifices of blood made by the Middle-Belt since the 50s in uniting Nigeria but with nothing to show for it. He said that the geopolitical zone had continued to suffer persistent attacks without the protection of government.
“We have been on our own for over 50 years; the Middle Belt has suffered for the unity of Nigeria, yet power continues to rotate between the South and the far North, power has not resided with us in the Middle-Belt under any democratic settings. So I think it’s about time for a Middle Belt person to lead Nigeria.
“Election in Nigeria is not all about money; there is something Nigerians are looking for. They are looking for who will take them to the promise land and they see that Hagher has such qualities. I therefore implore Nigerians to do the needful and support Hagher to become Nigeria’s president, come 2019.
“Even though he (Hagher) is running on the platform of the SDP, all political parties must unite and adopt him for president in 2019. He appealed.
As he administered royal blessing on Prof Hagher, the royal father expatiated further that, Iyorwuese’s blessing to join in the race for the 2019 Presidency is not as a native of the Tiv land, but as a tested and trusted detribalised Nigerian, that have acquired wherewithal in academics, public service and as a diplomat of note.
“Prof. Hagher is essentially qualified for the job of the Nigerian President. He has more than required that qualifies him for the office.”
“All those things that others have done, he too has done even more. He has been a Minister, Senator, Ambassador, author and university professor, so he won’t be learning on the job”, the monarch admonished.
Heralding his blessings, the King once again welcomes his fellow scholar (Iyorwuese) to his palace. Tor Tiv, who until his coronation in 2017 as the paramount traditional ruler of Tiv federation was the Vice Chancellor of the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi, he was quick to admit that, the coming of Prof Hagher to serve the nation as Presidential aspirant for the 2019 poll was timing. Ayatse said there would not have been any better time than now when Nigeria is in dearth need of academic brain who is capable to rescue the nation out of its present socio-economic doldrums, which the former university don blamed on bad leadership at levels of governance.
However, it was indeed a fanfare home-coming for the two times Ambassador of Nigeria to Mexico and Canada respectively. Not a few among the council of traditional rulers in the state eulogized Iyorwuese at the endorsement as a mark of honour.
In his reaction, the immediate past Pro-Chancellor of Afe Babalola University, Ado Ekiti, Prof. Iyorwuese, minced no words while expressed his delight at the call to serve. The presidential hopeful noted that, he will not be a Tiv president but the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria where equality, justice and fairness will be his watchword.
According to Hagher, “before I take any step in my aspiration to the highest office in the country, I feel it is imperative for me to meet my royal father, the Tor Tiv for a royal blessing.”
Hagher who declared his intent to run on the platform of Social Democratic Party, SDP, said that the poor state of the nation compelled him to seek for the nation most exalted office.
“As an academic, I will place more emphasis on functional education of Nigeria, improved the health sector, focus on infrastructural development and turn the nation to food basket globally.”
“I will lead a country that Nations of the world will respect us, it is unfortunate that Nigerian youths are made slaves in other countries, many have died.
“Many nations look up to Nigeria but if we fail as a nation to get it right, Africa too has failed but there are some countries waiting to see Nigeria.
Meanwhile, the endorsement was anchored and dominated by the youths of the land, clad in the popular zebra attires of the Tivs as they entertained participants with cultural dance steps to match.
The weekend endorsement coincidentally graced the coronation anniversary of the famous paramount ruler, His Imperial Majesty, the Orcyingh (iv), Prof. James Ortese Iorzua Ayatse.
- Sola Omosola Akingboye graduated from Lagos State University, Ojo and also an alumni of International Institute of Journalism, Abuja. The Abuja based Media Consult is a member of NUJ, FCT Chapel; Member, Nig Energy Correspondents and affiliate of other proffesional bodies such as Believe in Nigeria Initiative (BINI); Change Agent for Positive Transformation (CAPT); OSHA Association for Industrial Safety in Nigeria. He is currently an Associate Editor and Chairman Editorial Board Informavores.com.ng.