Gentlemen of the press, I warmly welcome you to this world press conference.

It has become pertinent to address the general public in order to correct the false impression created by a self serving group to bring animosity between the Tiv people and the Idoma people of Benue State.

We read in some sections of the media, a throe coated, hate inciting publication credited to a group under the aegis of “Coalition of Idoma Professionals” calling on President Bola Tinubu to sack Sen. George Akume as Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) on account of developments totally not dependent on Sen. Akume nor his office.

In the said baseless and malicious outburst, the group claimed that it was speaking on behalf of the Idoma nation and that their disapprobation is hinged on the appointment of the Secretary to the Government of the Federation (SGF) and the ministerial nominee, Prof. Joseph Utsev by President Bola Tinubu.

Over these developments, the group blamed Sen. Akume, and they rejected this in totality and are calling for inclusiveness, and unfortunately, as well as the sack of the SGF.

Tiv Youth Organization notes with great dismay that the call is coated with divisive tendencies, ethnic chauvinism and it is an attempt to breed bad blood among the indigenes of the state. While Tiv Youth Organization is not against anyone or group crying foul for perceived marginalization or injustice of any magnitude, we condemn any such disparagement on the SGF.

To begin with, Governor Hyacinth Alia emerged as the Benue State gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) by a process of the party’s Primary Election. At the polls, he won by majority of votes cast, including those cast in all the Idoma speaking areas of Benue State. It can never be the fault of Sen. Akume that Alia is Governor of Benue State.

The Speaker of the Benue State House of Assembly was voted in by his own people to represent them at the 10th Assembly of Benue State House of Assembly. He was never appointed Speaker of the Legislative House by Sen. Akume. The Speaker was elected at the planery by serving members of the state Legislative House amongst whom were Idoma representatives. Quite why Sen. Akume would be censured for this is beyond the realms of our imagination, except it is aimed at creating acrimony.


The Chief of Staff to the Governor is the Governor’s personal appointment and so, his appointment cannot be any fault of Sen. Akume.

The Chief Judge at any level emerges by seniority in the profession as prescribed by their ethics and guidelines. The current Chief Judge of Benue State attained that height on merit, long before Sen. Akume became SGF.

The SGF is an appointment of the President of the nation. And Sen. Akume did not appoint himself. He was appointed by President Bola Tinubu. So, if this group feels that an Idoma man would be appointed SGF, they should shend the President, and not Sen. Akume.

The nomination of Prof. Joseph Utsev as Minister should also never be blamed on Sen. Akume. The nomination of ministers of the federal republic is a duty of the President, and not that of the SGF. We leant reliably that the nomination of ministerial candidates was conducted and forwarded by the leadership of the state chapters of All Progressives Congress (APC) as was directed by the President.

In Benue State, the Chairman of the state chapter of the APC, Hon. Austin Agada, is an Idoma man! The group should either have directed their frustration at President Tinubu or their son, Hon. Agada for supervising and forwarding the ministerial nominee from Benue, who is a Tiv man.

Tiv Youth Organization wishes to state emphatically that the call for the sack of Sen. Akume by Idoma nation is a clear expression of absolute disdain and hatred on the person and personality of Akume and on the Tiv nation. We roundly condemn this naked show of hatred.

Sen. Akume is a very kind man who has demonstrated great love and affection for our Idoma brothers. He is a great leader with a big heart that accommodates all and sundry. It is sickening learning that the same people he has previously helped to power in one way or the other are now calling for his head.

As Governor of Benue State, Sen. Akume backed Audu Ogbeh, an Idoma man against his own brother Sen. Banabas Gemade, to become the National Chairman of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). Akume also supported supported Dr. Oyegayi as Managing Director of Federal Medical Centre Makurdi against his own brother. When an Idoma son, Mr. Daniel Onjeh, former NANS President was rusticated from the University, it was Akume who helped him to get back on his feet by sponsoring him in a foreign University.

This is how Sen. Akume has demonstrated the spirit of oneness and brotherhood to his Idoma neighbours over time.

He did all this, not for mere political gain but to cement the relationship between the Tivs and the Idomas. Rather than being thankful to Akume, the so called coalition of Idoma professionals who are on a self serving mission are rather attacking and calling for Akume’s head.

One would expect a group such as the Coalition of Idoma Professionals” to honourably channel their energies on innovations in their noble professions rather than delve into matters that will breed acrimony between ethnicities. Such an act is capable of breaking every form of trust ever built between the Tiv and Idoma. It is therefore, unfortunate, to say the least that such negativity emanates from a group that would rather be solving problems and not creating them.

During the President Goodluck Jonathan’s administration when Sen. David Mark was the Senate President, Comrade Abba Moro was the Minister of Interior while the Tivs had a junior minister in the person of Chief Samuel Ortom, the immediate past governor of Benue state. But no Tiv man or woman raised an eyebrow.

Within that period, several jobs opportunities meant for the Tivs were cornered to Idomas. Even slots allotted to Benue for recruitment in the paramilitary agencies, military, civil service and other agencies and parastatals were brazenly given to Idoma youths. Tiv youths were denied employment and other privileges and are continuously been denied lots of benefits at the National level in areas Idoma indigenes are holding sway.

As peace loving people, they continue to accept their fate in good faith while praying for a day their political kingdom shall come. And today, it has indeed come with the meritorious appointment of Sen. George Akume as SGF.

At the moment, Dr. Mrs. Mary Ada Ogbe, an Idoma woman is the federal permanent secretary enjoying the Benue slot. This is the position that no Tiv man has held for many years. Another one is Arch. Sunday Echono, the former permanent secretary in the Federal Ministry of Education who is now the Executive Secretary of TETFUND. We also have Maj.-Gen. JO Ochai, who was appointed by President Tinubu as the 32nd Commandant of the NDA.

Others are Dr Barr. Sam Ode, Deputy Governor, Benue State, Dr Moses Agbogbo Ode, Head of Service, Benue State, Comrade Austin Agada, Chairman, APC Benue State, Hon. Mrs Lami Danladi Ogenyi, Deputy Speaker, Benue State House of Assembly.

Meanwhile, the only three career ambassadors from Benue are all Idomas. It is so bad that if you go to any barracks or government offices and request to see anyone from Benue working there, you will be shocked that out of 100 Benue people there, Tiv would have just five percent. A tribe that is the fourth most populated ethnic group in Nigeria being dominated and suffocated at the national government.

The Idomas dominates the federal institutions compared to the Tivs. They even take slots belonging to the Tivs who are majority in the state. They spread their applicants in Tiv Local Government Areas, some take Tiv names and fraudulently obtain state of Origin certificate to show they are from such Local Governments just because they have highly placed kinsmen at the federal level who are aiding and abetting this evil against the Tiv people.

The recent one being the admission into 75 Regular Combatant Course of the Nigerian Defence Academy (NDA) 2023 where the Idoma generals and their political collaborators have made it a duty to deprive Tiv youths admission into that prestigious military school. Out of 13 slots for Benue state, Tiv who are the overwhelming majority in the state with two senatorial districts have three slots, the Idoma has 10.

In the 2021 admission into the 73 Regular Combatant Course of the NDA, out of 12 slots for Benue, the Tivs who have 14 LGs got two slots, with one on reserve while the Idomas with nine LGs got 10 slots. This has been going on for years at various levels, hence they call themselves “Effective minority.” Now that they have their son as the Commandant of the military school, it will only get worse. While we are not calling for the removal of Maj.-Gen. JO Ochai, we want him to correct the imbalances in the admission of Tiv youths in that School to reflect the true spirit of federal character.

Again, when Abba Moro was the Minister of Interior under former President Goodluck Jonathan, he superintendented over massive recruitment of Idoma youths in the paramilitary with impunity at the detriment of the Tiv job applicants. Yet no one said anything.

Now, it will shock you how Idomas dominate Tiv with impunity anywhere they hold sway both at the federal and state levels. Check these heartbreaking facts of their gross disrespect for federal character.

Take for example appointments made at the Federal University of Health Sciences, Otukpo, Benue state where all the key positions are taken over by the Idomas without including any Tiv indigene in the system.
The first is Professor Innocent Ujah (Idoma) who is the Vice- Chancellor, Prof Ediga B. Agbo (Idoma) is the DVC Administration, Prof Stephen O Abah(Idoma) is the DVC Academics, the Bursar, Idoma, the Director of Physical Planning, Idoma, the Provost, College of Medicine is Idoma.

Also, the Deputy Provost, College of Medicine is Idoma, and no admission quota is given to Tiv indigenes in the University. Even, the representative of North Central on the Governing Council of the University is Professor Idoko, an Idoma man.

This is a clear case of a minority ethnic group dominating the majority at the Federal level and shedding crocodile tears of marginalization at the state to deceive unsuspecting members of the public to attract unmerited sympathy.

Their impunity is so loud that, when Echono was due for retirement, he orchestrated the appointment of another Idoma indigene, Mrs Ogbe to succeed him while he moved to TETFUND. He manipulated the Buhari administration to have his way at the detriment of the Nigerian people. The most senior Tiv Director at the Ministry, Bem Goon, a Tiv man was sidelined.

This same man, Echono cornered a Federal College of Education meant for Tiv to his village and called it his “Retirement Benefit” which he is now using TETFUND money to build. We call on President Tinubu to suspend this man from office to pave the way for a thorough investigation into his activities at the Federal Ministry of Education.

Now, the Idomas have two federal institutions under former President Buhari administration, while the biggest senatorial district in Benue, the Benue North East has only one Government College in Vande-Ikya LG. The Idomas have more federal institutions than any other part of the state.

We have been quiet for too long. Now that they have touched the apple of our eyes, we will respond accordingly and tell the whole world of the evil this minority tribe is doing to Tiv in Nigeria.

They are beating us mercilessly and crying the loudest. They are blackmailing us and our leaders and claiming the victim. This political, economic and social dominace of the Tivs by the Idomas and co travellers over the years is causing youth restiveness in the state. The huge unemployment rate in Benue among the Tiv youths is alarming.

It is a known fact that politics is a game of number, interest and intrigues. In 2015, the Idoma nation rejected APC but the Tiv overwhelmingly voted for Muhammadu Buhari. And because of the Tiv overwhelming population against Idoma in the state, Buhari and the APC won Benue state in a landslide.

The Buhari administration which showed great disdain to the Tiv nation despite enjoying Tiv votes appointed an Idoma man, Audu Ogbe as the minster to spite the Tivs, but no one called for Ogbe’s sack even when he wanted to turn the whole of Nigeria into a cattle coloney.

Ogbe could not even win his council ward for APC. Ahead of 2023, the entire Idoma nation rejected President Tinubu and sabotaged his election all over the country, but the same people are now intimidating the President and blackmailing the SGF for a ministerial appointment. Let them know that, in politics, you can not always be lucky to reap where you did not sow. The President is so gracious enough to still allow their kinsmen to hold sensitive positions in the country. They should rather be grateful to the President and the SGF.

We call on Ogbe and his co travellers of ancient of days political demagogue and ethic bigots to steer clear of the SGF and never drop his name carelessly at any fora, anywhere concerning appointments made by Mr. President.

They should stop sowing seeds of discord between the Tivs and the Idomas for their personal interest. President Tinubu is an experienced political leader who can not be intimidated and blackmailed into taking a gutter decision based on the call by political vultures who are looking for pieces of meat to feed their greed at the detriment of others.

Let them go and lobby for appointments and desist from this divisive, ill-timed and ill-advised outburst against the President and the SGF.

On this note, we put it to the Coalition of Idoma Professionals explicitly that such affront is a direct attack on the person and office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, His Excellency, Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR.

We equally encourage them to operate with decorum in matters of this magnitude rather than resort to instigating chaos by sowing seeds of discord.

We wish to appreciate the Benue State Council of Traditional Rulers headed by His Royal Majesty, Prof. J. O. I. Ayatse, CFR, Tor Tiv, and the Vice Chairman, His Royal Majesty, Agaba-Idu, Elaigwu Odogbo Obagaji John for leading a powerful delegation of all First Class and Second Class Chiefs in Benue State on a visit to the Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. George Akume and for pledging their support to President Tinubu and his administration.

Because they are our royal fathers, we wish to equally pledge to actively support President Tinubu and his policies as long as he is on course to return Nigeria to the path of glory, even as we commend the President for the proactive steps he has taken to revive Nigeria in all sectors.

Thank you all and may God bless Nigeria.

Long Live Tiv Youth Organization!
Long Live Tiv nation!!
Long Live Benue State!!!
Long Live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!!

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