Rose Ejembi, Makurdi
A group under the aegis of Tiv Youth Council (TYC) has called on the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, to immediately apologise to the ancestral leader of the Tiv nation, Wantareph Paul Unongo for describing him as a liability.
The non-political organisation also took an exception to what it termed ‘character assassination’ meted on its grand patron, Wantaregh Paul Unongo by governor Ortom when youths from Turan district paid him (the governor) a courtesy visit recently.
Led by its President, Mike Msuaan, the group, at a press briefing, on Wednesday, in Makurdi, described the action of the Governor as condemnable and totally against the Tiv way of life which teaches respect for elders, stressing that Unongo is not only a leader and a role model in Benue State and Nigeria, but the whole world.
“This is even more worrisome that such insults were meted in the presence of his grandsons and granddaughters from the same community during their courtesy visit on him. It is sad for a Governor to describe our Leader, Paul Unongo as a liability.
“Rendering of assistance to major Stakeholders in every State is normal tradition. It is not a sin to accept any form of gratification from state governments.
“After all, such monies belong to the state at large and not a personal account of the Governor.
“But it makes mockery of one to hear that he is a burden and such benefits will cease to follow, simply because he did not share his vision of Re-election.
“This act is not acceptable as it is not only seen as betrayal and disrespectful to elders but very dangerous to the peaceful coexistence of our dear state, as it is capable of igniting a bad blood among the people.
“This Leader has sacrificed enough to the project ‘Benue.’ It is therefore, ordinarily Godly that such personality be accorded great respect and worship.
“He is our pride and as such, we adore him. We shall always protect, defend and appreciate him for being there for us.
“He nurtured, taught and counseled most of the political leaders we have today in Benue State,” the group stated.
Continuing, the group said that, “In as much as we do not want the polity to be overheated, we shall be watching keenly as political events unfolds.
“We will not tolerate further act of disloyalty to any elder again by the leader of our community.
“We are peace loving people and that, we should always live to protect. In our own opinion, political campaigns should be Issue Based and not insults to cause distractions,” the group submitted.