From Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
The Pro-Chancellor and Chairman, Governing Council of the University, Abba Alkasum has formally unveiled the new identity of the Federal University of Agriculture Makurdi (FUAM) as Joseph Sarwuan Tarka University Makurdi (JSTUM).
It would be recalled that although, the University was renamed by President, Muhammadu Buhari about one year ago, it’s name remained unchanged because the University management said it was yet to receive a letter authorising the name change from the National Universities Commission.
However, about two weeks ago, during the combined convocation of the University, the Pro-Chancellor in his speech formally informed the Government and people of the state as well as the general public of the re-naming of university.
Alkasum who extolled the virtues of the late J S Tarka explained further that the Governing Council of the University had already set the machinery in motion for immediate implementation of government directive on the matter.
“The late Senator Joseph Sarwuan Tarka was a significant political figure in the history of Nigeria: he stood firm in the struggle for the rights of minorities within the Nigerian Federation. He played an important roles not just in cementing the unity of the Northern Region but Nigeria as a whole.
While noting that the late Senator Joseph Tarka stood for democracy, freedom and justice, Alkasum emphasized that, “his commitment to these ideals were when Alhaji Ibrahim Imam, the erstwhile founding Secretary-General of the Northern People’s Congress (NPC) was denied the right to contest for election in his Borno Province in I964.
“Senator Joseph Tarka offered him the opponumty to contest under the platform of United Middle Belt Congress (UMBC) in Benue Province. In the course of the campaign, Tarka gave Ibrahim a Tiv name “lwarwar Garie” meaning resilience and ruggedness to demonstrate his political strength.
“Alhaji Ibrahim Imam indeed contested and won the 1964 election into Northern Region House of Assembly representing the Tiv people. These are some of the attributes of Senator Tarka which made him outstanding.
The Pro-Chancellor described the late Senator Joseph Sarwuan Tarka as a great man as typified by his selflessness, commitment to democracy justice and nationalistic service said it was for these reasons that the Federal Government recognized and honoured him by renaming the Federal University of Agriculture, Makurdi as Joseph Sarwuan Tarka University, Makurdi.
The Governing Council of the institution led by its Chairman on Thursday unveiled the signpost bearing the new name of the University at the entrance of the school.