My fellow compatriots, OUR TIME HAS COME.


Distinguished guests, gentlemen of the press, ladies and gentlemen, I am highly delighted and privileged to address you all here today as the newly inaugurated President of the Tiv Youth Organization (TYO) FCT Abuja Chapter.

Newly Elected, President, TYO FCT Abuja Chapter,Chief Joseph Saater Undu

TYO is an apex Tiv Youth socio-cultural organization incorporated since 1988 with the mandate to coordinate the activities, way of life and the general well-being of the Tiv Youths across the world with its headquarters in Gboko, Benue state.

To start with, let me seize this great opportunity to thank God almighty for making this day a reality despite several challenges that threatened the success of this historic event. Hence, the saying that ‘nothing good comes easy’ is evidently at play.


I, most sincerely, thank our highly cerebral monarch, the Tor Tiv, His Royal Majesty, Orchivirigh Prof. James Ortese Ayatse and our dear mother, Her Royal Majesty Prof. Mrs. Felicia Ayatse. My appreciation also goes to the President-General of the Tiv socio-cultural organization, Mdzough U Tiv (MUT), CP Iorbee Ihagh, (rtd), psc (+), Pmi and my amiable President-General of TYO worldwide, Comrade Andy Aondongu Anzah for all they are doing to promote and protect the Tiv nation and her people every day.


It is on this note that I extend my warmest greetings to the Chairman of the FCT Council of Traditional Rulers, the Ona of Abaji, His Royal Majesty Alhaji Adamu Baba Yunusa and the Secretary and Acting President of Mdzough U Tiv, FCT Abuja Chapter, Chief Moses Akaaza as well as the Tiv Traditional Council in the FCT Abuja, under the Acting Chairmanship of Ter Kuje, His Royal Highness Azenda Begha, Jp and Orhemen U Tiv Hen Abuja, Zaki Joseph Aneh.


My appreciation also goes to our brand new political leaders and representatives, including the North Central political leader and Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF), Sen. George Akume, His Excellency the Governor of Benue State, Rev. Fr. Hyacinth Iormem Alia, our Distinguished Senators, Honourable Members of the House of Representatives, and the Speaker Benue State House of Assembly.


Mr. Chairman, sir, permit me to also thank my predecessor, Mr. Tarverhima Iorver Kennedy and his entire Executives for the great job they have done in sustaining the vision of TYO in Abuja. I also commend the Inauguration Committee and the newly elected Executives for all their sacrifices in making sure that today’s event is a huge success. I cannot end this without saying a big thank you to our members whose commitment and dedication has been a source of motivation.


Today is a beautiful day in my life, because more beautiful responsibilities are added to my life. And I am convinced that I have great men and women of substance in Abuja here who are willing to lend me their shoulders to stand on to deliver on this very important mandate. I am your servant leader who accepted this great responsibility to run errands for our people.


I did not choose myself to serve you, neither did I force myself on you. You collectively chose me without any acrimony because you believe in me. You did not choose me because I am better or smarter than anyone else, but because my time has divinely come to contribute my quota to the development of the Tiv community in Abuja and the advancement of our collective agenda in Nigeria’s city of power.


Many of you are aware of my track record of service to the Tiv community in Lagos state years back, under the leadership of the then President of MUT Lagos State Chapter, Prince Aondowase Ikyernum Kajo. Today, with more experience, exposure and power, I believe nothing shall hinder me from rendering outstanding services to TYO Abuja, if all of you stand solidly behind me.


This, I promise to do with all my heart without compromising the core vision and values of this great organization. I invite all of you to walk beside me as we work together to promote, project and protect the positive image of the Tiv nation and its people in this land full of political and economic opportunities for us to take.


The challenges ahead of us are enormous but surmountable with collective action. We are going to chart a new path at tackling our various challenges both here and beyond.


Borrowing the words of Prince Kajo during his inauguration speech in Lagos 2017, wherein he said, “We are going to stop at nothing in charting a new path for the Tiv nation in the contemporary Nigerian project.”


And we are going to do this with renewed hope, thinking and vigor using different strategies driven by massive media campaigns.


The time has come for us to rethink our collective destiny in the Nigerian project. The time has come for us all to unite and pursue one common Tiv agenda in Abuja. Both the old and the young. The weak and the strong. The poor and the rich. The time has come for us to think as one and live together as a nation or perish together as foes.


This is the time for us to bury our individual differences, irrespective of our political and religious persuasion, and come together to dine and wine as one big family devoid of internal strife, grief and political vindictiveness.


The time is now for us to think together, fight together, rise together and succeed together. This is our time to smile again after many years of dwelling in the scorching heat of Nigeria’s political desert where our traducers restricted us from benefiting from the national cake.


Today, our time to empower one another, support one another, love one another and stand up for one another is here. With fervent prayers and willful determination, the knees of our enemies on our necks are gradually lifted off; we can now breathe again. This is the time for us to truly show the spirit of Aya Tutu, where an injury to one means an injury to all. Our time has finally come to prepare us for our own turn in the nearest future, by the grace of God to whom all powers belong.


But what we seek to achieve cannot be given on a platter of gold! We cannot wait for our turn without adequately preparing our talented youths for the task ahead. That’s why strategic leadership, recruitment and training are crucial, if we must achieve our Vision 2031 in the Nigerian project.


It was our late sage and former Minister of the Federal Republic, Dr. Wantaregh Paul Unongo, who once asked these rhetorical questions during his paper presentation titled, “The man Tiv has died”, at the Annual MUT America Convention in 2014.


He said, “How do we recruit good political leaders to protect our interests, develop our people and society and generally govern us well? How do we reclaim our lost relevance in Nigeria? And how do we empower our people by taking them away from debilitating poverty they are trapped in now?”


Taking a cursory look at Unongo’s questions, it is my firm belief that the Tiv Youth Organization and other such youth groups are the veritable vehicles through which this strategic and purposeful leadership recruitment drive can be achieved in Tiv nation. That is why TYO needs our collective support to succeed. You can support us with skills acquisition centers, strategic leadership training programmes, mentorship and finance; as well as material and moral support or any way possible as you may wish.


Fellow compatriots, let me most sincerely thank our President and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Force, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, GCFR, for heeding the call by TYO Abuja Chapter for inclusion of Tiv people in his government.


You may recall that, during my Acceptance Speech on the 7th May, 2023 after my election as TYO President Abuja Chapter, I did call on the then President-elect to appoint a Tiv man as the SGF, citing our massive votes for him and considering our many years of gross marginalization at the national level despite being the fourth most populous ethnic group in Nigeria. Graciously, our President, who has a listening ear, obliged our humble request. Today, we have a seasoned administrator and leader par excellence as the new SGF, a man the entire country is proud of.


Mr. President, your appointment of Senator Dr. George Akume, a man with unassuming personality and towering record of generosity and excellent service to the nation as the SGF is not just strategic and historic, but it is a game-changer in the northern political equation. You have indeed, by this appointment, scored a hattrick and made the entire Tiv nation and, of course, the whole Benue and North Central region proud.


Like Oliver Twist, we are still appealing to you to consider our people for more political appointments to make up for our many years of marginalization and neglect by successive administrations. We have not forgotten our second request to you, which is to return our brothers and sisters, fathers and mothers who are daily languishing in various IDP Camps in Benue, Taraba and Nasarawa states among others to their ancestral home within 100 days of your administration.


We are optimistic that your nascent administration, which has, so far, demonstrated commitment in solving Nigeria’s endemic security challenges, will not fail us.


Our people in IDPs, who are mostly peasant farmers, need to return home, and they need to return soon to continue with their normal lives and farming activities. Our nation is on the verge of famine. The Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) has recently estimated that 25 million Nigerians are at the risk of facing hunger and starvation between June and August 2023, if the government does not act fast to stop this. It is really scary that hunger and starvation are staring us right in the face amidst huge agricultural potential.


But the truth is, the widespread insecurity ravaging the country, especially in North Central and other regions being orchestrated by marauding armed Herdsmen, bandits and kidnappers, is the major factor behind our current food crisis. It is also a security threat to our urban centers. The rural-urban migration we witness daily in our cities today is alarming. The mass exodus of thousands of unskilled and unemployable young men who are mostly farmers to the urban centers because of rampaging bandits, terrorists and Herdsmen in their communities is the cause of rising security incidences in our cities and towns. We can stop this by stopping attacks on their communities. We can stop this by making their communities and farms safe. We can also stop this by making subsistence farming attractive and profitable.


It is on this note that I call on the president Bola Ahmed Tinubu through the National Security Adviser, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, to direct the security chiefs to clampdown on all identified security threats and neutralize them to give the citizens a new lease of life. This is achievable if the government is sincere and willing to end insecurity in the country.


I am of the firm belief that our President does not need the Nigerian Military and other non-state actors in completely eradicating all forms of security threats in our dear country. He only needs the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and the Department of State Services (DSS) to root out all criminals, terrorists and bandits across Nigeria in one month, if he has the political will.

TYO strongly condemns the call for amnesty for bandits, kidnappers and terrorists.


All arrested suspects should be charged to court to answer for their crimes against innocent Nigerians. As a matter of fact, we call on the president and the National Assembly to establish Special Courts for the speedy trials of suspects arrested for terrorism, banditry and kidnapping.


I cannot end this speech without drawing your attention to the following issues which are like a time bomb to our society. The continuous stay of our children in various IDPs for over a decade portends great danger for our collective safety in the near future. The situation where a whole generation is wasting away uneducated, unskilled and uninformed is a time bomb.


These children are growing up in pain and agony, watching dead bodies of their loved ones rotting away daily in the open without befitting burials, seeing rampaging killers with AK47 everyday instead of being in their classes for studies. These are children whose visions are clouded by sight of blood and mutilated bodies of their family members. Many are orphans, lonely and uneducated. What is the future for these ones if the government does not take responsibility for their upbringing?


Mr. President, this young generation is wasting away with bitter hatred in their hearts. Their dreams and aspirations are dying as hopelessness stares in their faces daily, watching the rest of us live in opulence. This generation is young, energetic and angry. Like a dying horse, their brutal kick is awaiting all of us. Patiently, they are waiting for an opportunity to take vengeance on the rest of us. If nothing is done urgently to give these children in IDPs formal education and useful skills, they will become a nuclear bomb that will send all of us to our early graves tomorrow.


At this juncture, I call on the president and the governors of Benue, Nasarawa and Taraba states respectively to do everything humanly possible to give free and compulsory education to all children living in IDPs in their states.


I want to also use this opportunity to call on those political merchants and agents of disunity, whose stock in trade is causing rancorous relationships among the political elites in Tiv nation with the aim of feasting on their vulnerability and exploiting them for financial gains and political patronage. We are calling on them to stop distracting our political leaders and allow them to deliver on their campaign promises. Learn to build and not destroy. I urge you all to imbibe the hospitality and loving spirit of a true Tiv man. There is no better time to be a proud Tiv man than now. Be proud of your Tivness and show her culture and tradition to the world.


And to those of you who are no longer proud of your Tiv heritage. I advise you to lead by example. If there is anything that makes you unhappy being Tiv, please, try to change it and not cast aspersions on us all and stereotyping us before those who are rather wishing to belong to a unique ethnic group like ours.


It was our great sage, Sir, Benjamin Akiga Sai, the first Tiv book writer in history who said, “Further, do you, however great your knowledge may be, remember you are a Tiv. Remain a Tiv! Know the things of Tiv, for therein lies your pride. Strengthen yourselves. The old mushroom (tribe) lives on.”


This, therefore, is a charge on all of us to accept our reality and be proud of Tiv heritage. As a Tiv man or woman, no matter how much you hate your Tiv identity and heritage, you cannot change your DNA. And to our young women, who are often deriding Tiv men for not being romantic, please, try us and see. We are not just romantic, we are caring, hardworking, understanding and loving. Our beautiful sisters are also loving, caring and hardworking as well.


I want to urge all our young men here today who are not married to marry our Tiv sisters. He who marries a Tiv woman, gets double portions of God’s blessings and long life. My fellow single brothers and sisters here present, what are you waiting for? Our time has come. This is who we are.


Thank you all and God bless us all.



Chief Joseph S. Undu

Author, Award Winning Journalist, Poet and President, Tiv Youth Organisation, TYO FCT Abuja Chapter.

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