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Benue State: Unity cap parade caricatures


By HRH Dr. Sabo Azyjidoku Emmanuel

One spectacular feature about Benue State, is, the presence of River Benue, which is blessed with the riches of Rivers Gongola, Taraba, Donga, Katsina-Ala, Water Falls, Streams that end their journeys and empty from the source into this trough-The Benue River Valley. As the river meanders slowly down, it grudgingly box-itself in an X (eks) letter shape at the shores of the State capital-Makurdi, then, as if it is demotivated, it gathers enough courage, strength and vitality to journey down to the great Sea. At Makurdi, the narrowed X shaped river is flanked by Double Bridge across, from the Northward to the Southward directions, on an express way from the Northern to the Southern parts of Nigeria. 
Benue State has as its slogan “The Food Basket of the Nation”. The State government for now, recognizes only 3 (three) major tribes, as bonafide indigenes, viz:Tiv, Idoma and Egede. Tribes like Agatu, Ufia-Akwaya (Utonkon) are being subsumed under Idoma and Egede. The Aboriginals like the Jukuns, the Etulos, the Nyifons, the Abakwas etc do not earn any sympathetic treatment. Those trinitised tribes dwarf the compact aura of the residue suppressed conglomerate of other tribes in Benue State. The Jukuns, the Etulos, the Nyifons etc are gazetted, non indigenes and therefore do not merit any State recognition. They are not even on the reserve, but sadly, do clamour for recognition to fun run. 
The political hangers-on, conspicuously among the Jukuns, in particular, promote the wearing of the Benue State Unity Cap or Hat, even more than Governor Ortom, himself. It is indeed sad, a denial of ethnicity, a perpetual enslavement of a people whose self burial anniversaries are being retailed unconsciously or ignored. Omigod! The Big Three tell you that you do not belong, yet you promote this damned idealogy by parading the so called Unity Cap or Hat on your troubled head; saturated with agonies of discrimination, denial and neglect. What a pity! What a shame! If one knows the context of something, then contentment at last. In this case, these characters are ignorant of this bizarre phenomenon and by their actions are making jest or caricature of themselves. 
A surgical operation on this pathological hatred Unity Cap or Hat shall reveal the angle of diversity in unity and (not Unity in Diversity) that has been ‘cushioned’ by the crafty handiwork of Governor Samuel Ortom and his cohorts. Excuse me; is the State truly united to guarantee or wave the flag, expressly, the use of Unity Cap or Hat? What are the parameters to buttress these claims? Perhaps, the unity of cat and rat sharing or staying under one roof; the unity of a winner takes all; the unity of group dynamics, the unity of numerical standard (population) or determinism; the unity of aggressive aggrandizement and adventurism; the unity of marginalization, assimilation and annihilation; the unity of power strangulation and mutilation orchestrated by celebrated corruption, ethnic chauvinism or nepotism by despots. If all these, symbolize the so called Benue State Unity Cap or Hat, and all that it stands for, then evidently, their you find apartheid, ethnic cleansing with a guillotine machine to perfect the job.
It is funny. Even the triumvirate tribes of Tiv, Idoma and Egede are always entangled in the sharing games of what supposedly is considered their own. In that theatre of conflict, one finds the Wild Beasts of the jungle by comparison: The Elephant, the Buffalo and the Lion all fully charged to outdo one another. The lesser animals as usual shall resign or retire to fate or providence and keep distance and watch the fight of the titanic power struggle of the trio. Are not all these uneasiness’ amongst these co-heirs of the State comfort particles embedded in the Benue State Unity Cap or Hat? Then what is the joy, parading and celebrating the wearing of the emblems, cap or hat during State functions, electioneering/campaigns, public outings, social gatherings and other engagements, when in the true sense, there is nothing like unity in the State. Unity, per se, is not a by-product of callous advertisement on a coded Cap or Hat. Unity indeed is an innate. It is inborn, it advertises itself through one’s sincere and genuine actions, attitudes or behaviours that are homely. 
Can one truly define Unity, when the Number 1 (one) seat of the State, is an exclusive reserve/preserve of a particular tribe? Where is that Unity, when juicy appointments are heaped on a dominating power structure control of State affairs? Where can one find this Unity when developments in all facets of human endeavours are jam-packed in a particular location? Definitely, this Unity Cap or Hat being promoted by the hawkers is in no doubt a parade of caricatures. The Tiv, the Idoma and the Egede tribes; if only they can be sincere with themselves; where is the escape route? It would be better for them to clad themselves in their tribal emblems than to load themselves by masquerading about with the so called unity cap or hat that has no Unity Spirit, nursing and nourishing the corporate existence of the hawkers; the propagandists. That unity cap or hat needs to be exorcised; for, it portends evil. After all, former Governors of the State (Benue) who were Tiv, wore the Black-White colour stripes cap or hat and there was relative peace enjoyed in the State. Besides, the Idoma people who are proponents of the so called Unity Cap or Hat should know that some members of the Kwa group have been denigrated in the State, which is nauseating; a sour taste. But remember, what goes around, comes around. 
As you clad yourself with the so called Unity Cap or Hat, you reproduce graphically, Candido (the man behind the mask) or a masquerade; ‘Ajigbe’ or ‘Alekwu’. It is a scenario of the more you see the less you understand; hopis-copis abracadabra. In this case, there is no wisdom in the wearing of the so called Unity Cap or Hat. The hawkers, the promoters, the propagandists of this attire are charlatans in the games of divide and rule.                      
Be reminded that, the National Flag in Green-White-Green does not stand for any of the 3 (three) major Nigerian tribes, viz: Hausa Igbo Yoruba. And none of them can be identified with or claim any of the 3 in 1, that stoutly stands for the Unity of the Country over times. Similarly, the minority tribes of Nigeria, all look at National Flag as a rallying point, a symbol of Freedom, Peace and Unity. Superficially, all Nigerias look at the country as belonging to all and not belonging to the 3 Big Greats. Therefore, Governor Samuel Ortom of Benue State should not queue-jumping. It is too dangerous to do just that. For he is fanning the embers of conflicts through tribalism, hook, line and sinker. DO NOT BE A TRIBALIST, EMBRACE ALL, IT IS YOUR RESPONSIBILITY.
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