Faith Awa Maji
In ancient history of the Tiv, crucial issues we’re resolved without any blood shedding where such resolutions were normally arrived at Ate, a hut known for peace each time complaints were brought before the council of elders.
From research conducted so far, no decisions ever taken at Ate by the elders from Tiv extraction has ever been challenged by any segment of the society.
Recently, Tiv Community of Nasarawa State sort the need for the services of Ate to settle it’s protrated crisis that got to a peak.
As patriots citizens of Nasarawa, Nigeria and of course the fourth major tribes in Nigeria, they needed something good for their vulnerable people, a platform that could bring both the home champions and the international players to win a world cup.
Just as a winning coach needs a sound strategy to make a difference in a match that will determine the status of his club in the next season.
The future of the Tiv nation is brinking. It is more worrisome because the Nasarawa State Tiv are divided.
This division has caused them a hundred fold of set back economically, politically and even socially, hence they needed a new strategy and the vision of an “Ate U Nasarawa” came in early 2020.
Ate U Nasarawa, brought Tiv people of Nasarawa from within and outside the state at Kini Country Home in Akwanga Local Government Area to fame the stars of the Tiv nation whose contribution has reunite the elites with the people, mobilizing the peasant farmers to understand and embrace government policies, educate them on the path of peaceful Coexistence among other things.
Speaking at the summit, Governor Abdullahi Sule who was represented by his Special Assistant on Youths, Yakubu Kwanta said, the summit was in line with the present administration of unifying ethnic nationalities in the state hence Tiv people should live together as one indivisible entity for the development of the state and Nigeria at large.
In his Welcome speech, the convener of the summit, Hon. Jonathan Ipaar, said they are glad that all the stakeholders in the Tiv project have agreed and resolve on peace and Unity.
‘We agreed to work together, resolve our differences so as to present a common front and support government initiatives in the development of our community.
“In this spirit, Ate coordinated the successful withdrawal of all pending cases from the police for amicable settlement at Ate u Nasarawa”.
He said Ate U Nasarawa has also mobilized jobs for their teeming graduates, intense lobbying is ongoing to get more job slots from the various government agencies, private companies for their unemployed youths.
“To further push for it, Ate is appealing to the friendly governor of Nasarawa State, HE Engr A A Sule, the Zege Mule u Tiv (Nasarawa) to consider our people in his job creation programmes”, he added
Chairman of the occasion, Sen. Dr Jacob Tilley-Gyado, OFR called on Tiv people to unite irrespective of religion and political inclination.
“You must unite to convince that you are now united, determine to pull back the past and forge ahead”.
He used the medium to call on all Tiv nationalities to learn how to forgive one another no matter their grievances only then they can achieve the dividend of development.
“I will want to appeal to you all to respect your leadership especially those representing you in government and make further sacrifices by learning how to forgive your opponent”.
In a paper presentation entitled, “Pathway to Development and unity among the Tiv of Nasarawa State”, Dr Terzungwe Dugeri of the Department of Estate Management, University of Jos said development among the Tiv of Nasarawa State evokes different issues to mind, not less in the sense of the concept being amorphous but in the very condition of the Tiv in Nasarawa State whose developmental status is required to give some account of.
“Development is ordinarily conceived as progression from one lower of lesser state to a higher one and is best explained when qualified. So, it will be more meaningful to look at Tiv of Nasarawa State development in the context of their economy, political, social, education, agriculture, and living standards”.
Dr T. T Dugeri noted that it does appear that economic fortunes of the Tiv in Nasarawa State have not only followed the national economic pattern but been on the downward spiral.
“It is not far fetched why this is so. In the 1980s and mid-1990s, the Tivs who are predominantly farmers were among the big rural earners and a good number put their earnings to good use. I do recall that we had a good number of our sons and daughters in elitist schools back then and the majority of these kids were not from privileged homes. Tivs are major yam, cassava, Egusi producers”.
He further say education is a highly prized legacy among the Tiv in Nasasawa State and was pursued with every vigour, saying it was not just about what obtained with the seniors in the early 1970s whose educational attainment were envied by their neighbours.
“Today our farming population have lost their economic strength and is so displaced that it cannot support its subsistence talk less of giving quality education to their children. Their main occupation of farming suffered a major setback since the time of the ‘Ajayi crisis’ in 2000”.
The academy Dr said from that period till date, the displacement of the Tiv people has become perennial and that their economic power became wrecked.
“Today a good number of the Tiv of Nasarawa State are in IDP camps in neighbouring states”.
He also said that politically, it been a case of lost glory among the Tiv people of Nasarawa State.
“And it is the one reason we are gathered here. Remember our past leaders who won elections and represented these same places where we are now disenfranchised”
He explained that development in the education dimension is pretty dicey, saying ordinarily it would have required some comparative statistics for a defined period.
“It is however not possible in my circumstance but it is not difficult to decipher from the recurring social upheavals that now characterise the Tiv of Nasarawa State that though we may have a good number in tertiary institutions, the last ten years have made meaningful advancement in this sector tenuous and learning for the young Tiv arduous as they are deprived of the needed support by their always displaced parents”.
According to him TIv have suffered the most stunting in the area of agriculture development in recent years following incessant disruptions in their farming activities by the now notorious herders/farmers crisis, not much is achieved as output per head has declined to an all time low with productivity ebbing below 20% capacity.
“In the course of their displacements, they have come to face encroachment and seizure of ancestral farmlands. The resolution of this issues is cardinal to trigger any meaningful development in agricultural practices of the Tiv in Nasarawa and in fact there is need to give this people the succour to restart their farming activities”, Dr T. T Dugeri added.