IDOMA: Yes we can
By AMEH COMRADE GODWIN
David Spangler once wrote: To embody a new paradigm of civilization – to learn to think like a planet in order to heal and nurture the planet – is not a typical hero’s task. It is more a task of gardener.
The planet does not offer challenges to be overcome to prove our worth or individuality, it presents us with a community to understand, a community with disparate need and identities that are nonetheless intertwined in mutual dependencies.
An Idoma man would always think that for an Idoma indigene to rule Benue State is akin to forcing the camel through the eye of a needle. Some people would even describe it as an attempt by the ant to devour the lion. But a man with a positive mind would reason that it is possible for an Idoma to rule the state if there’s unity in the land.
But how soon could this be, is the big question to answer.
I have always wondered the kind of perspective to adopt in explaining the status quo in the state, and particularly among the Idomas. The fact is that the Idomas have been expunged from the public domain in the state. Another shocking trend is that the Idomas have almost jettisoned their culture, a situation which has seemingly made the people to fall apart.
Let me go down memory lane, to trail the race of governorship in the state. It all started form February 3, 1976 when Benue State was created out of the old Benue-Plateau under the able leadership and military administration of late Gen. Murtala Ramat Mohammed with Markudi as the state capital.
Benue state is dominated by Tivs followed by the Idomas, Igede and other ethnic groups with over 2 million people at the last heads count. out of the 23 local government in the state are controlled by the Tivs, while Idoma battles with the remaining nine together with other ethnic groups.
The past leaders include, Abdulahi Shellenge (1976-1978), Bayo Lawal (July 1978-Oct. 1978), Aper Aku of the National Party of Nigeria (NPN) who came on board Oct. 1979-Dec. 1985, David Jang took over from him till August 1986 when he handed over to Yohana Madaki. Chris Garba only lasted for four months before he handed over to Fidelis Makka who ruled from Dec. 1987-1992. Also Rev. Fr Moses Adasu of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) took over from 1992 to 1993 and Administrator J O Obademi succeeded him from 1993-1996, Issa Aminu Kotangora (1996-1998), while his successor Domnic Oneya ruled from Aug. 1998-May 29, 1999 and he left the seat for Gorge Akume of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Akume handed over to his Tiv-brother Gabriel Suswan on May 2007 till date and Suswan is in no doubt ready to hand over to another serious-minded Tiv come 2011 – democracy or monarchy?
From the above role call, one would see that no Idoma man is in the list and one may ask, are there no good people to contest for the post from other ethnic groups? That is when you have to consider the word of Meredith Young that “ to assume you know someone very well enough that you can do predict his behavior and mental perspective, is a gross and often a tragic mistake, for it eliminates that person’s freedom to create his or her opinion and drastically affect the emerging picture of the relationship”. The reason is that we all want to sit closer to the national cake, everybody wants to climb the ladder to get there; but the ladder is too small to contain the multitude besieging on it at a spot.
There is a popular adage in Idoma which states that obo koje tu etu mnaje` (the best climber usually starts from the bottom of a tree), but we are seeing some Idoma brothers at the top without starting from the root – permit my parable because the child that touches the lion’s tail should be ready to die without mourning, or you can not feed your child to death because your mother reincarnates her.
I agree with David Spangler who once said that the earth community, the life community is not the property of anyone, religion or group or part of the world; it is the commons that embraces us all, our planetary home.
And it needs us as never before it call us to become not heresies but community builders, builders of home, gatherer and embracers of hospitality, keepers of the shared space that nurtures reach out to connect to and honor each other in the community (Idomaland) of life.
I have always observed that the only way to effect change is by changing your understanding.
We Idomas can bring the governor’s seat closer to our corridors by embracing the word of Salguru Sivaya that “ the purified integrated mind, perfected in its own understanding, live in close communion with the sound radiance so that light become the constant companion in our mind”
Yes we can, the seat is not too hot for us to sit on, we can catch the lion with a bare hand only if we could touch the things of the world at their center and could hear some tiny sounds of the birch, then there is tendency for seven pregnant camels to pass through the eye of a needle.
Communication leads to communities, that is understanding, intimacy and mutual valuing, instead of looking for one’s dream to understand one’s life, it makes more sense to look at ones life to understand one’s dreams.
The choice is ours. We can rule Benue state, YES WE CAN!
•Ameh Comrade Godwin Comradetalents@yahoo.com