ADDRESS BY THE GOVERNOR OF BENUE STATE, SAMUEL ORTOM, AT THE CORONATION OF THE 5THTOR TIV, HIS ROYAL MAJESTY, ORCHIVIRIGH PROF. JAMES ORTESE IORZUA AYATSE, AT THE J.S TARKA STADIUM, GBOKO ON SATURDAY, 4THMARCH, 2017
A little over a year ago, we gathered here to mourn the loss of a great Benue son, our brother and father, His Royal Majesty, Orchivirigh, Dr. Alfred Akawe Torkula who died on 23rdNovember, 2015 and was buried on 4thFebruary, 2016.
2. Today, the Tiv nation at home and in the Diaspora, as well as friends and well-wishers have come together to rejoice and thank God Almighty who Himself has chosen a newBegha U Tiv. It is in honour of the newBegha U Tivthat we have gathered here to witness his installation and formal presentation of Staff of Office.
3. I, therefore, with great joy welcome all Tiv sons and daughters and the friends of Tiv who have come from far and near to Gboko, the traditional Headquarters of the Tiv Nation, to witness this very important event. We are indeed happy to receive you.
4. I wish to on behalf of my family, the good people and Government of Benue State warmly congratulate the new Paramount Ruler,His Royal Majesty, Orchivirigh, Professor James Ortese Iorzua Ayatse, Tor Tiv the 5th,who has been chosen to occupy the royal stool of his forefathers.
5. By the special grace of God, we now have a new Paramount Ruler for the 4thlargest ethnic group in Nigeria. We are happy not just because he has the pedigree, experience and exposure to lead, but that he is also God-fearing. In the new Tor Tiv, we see the virtues of selflessness, forthrightness, non-partisanship and willingness to work for the collective good of his people, Benue State and Nigeria.
6. We believe that he will play a great role in leading us unto the path of hardwork, unity, honesty, godliness and progress, which we were known for in the past. It is not by accident too that God Almighty has given us a Traditional Leader who is a Teacher, Administrator and development trail blazer at a time that most of the people have abandoned their cultural values, brotherhood and traditions that engendered peace, unity of purpose and love as well as respect for elders and leaders.
7. Distinguished sons, daughters and friends of Tiv here present, the reasons for the agitation for a paramount leader which our fathers saw 71 years ago have multiplied today. For instance, the importance of a symbolic unifying father figure, which the personality and office of the Tor Tiv represent, is as relevant today as in 1946. His importance and relevance in the State and scheme of things at the national level cannot be over-emphasized. As the Chief Custodian of the cultural values of his people, he is their Official Voice unto whom the people look for direction and representation at all times. We expect him to shun the murky terrain of partisan politics and are happy with his pledge to do so.
8. In recent years, Benue State has been confronted by security challenges, prominent among which is the invasion of our communities by herdsmen which often results to the killing of innocent people and destruction of property. This occasion therefore offers me the opportunity to once again state the stand of the Government and people of the State on the issue of cattle rearing and the solution to the frequent clashes between herdsmen and farmers.
9. As I have repeatedly said, ranching of cattle is the global practice and if it is embraced and practiced in this country, the frequent clashes resulting from invasion of farmlands by herdsmen and cattle rustling will be brought under control.
10. Open grazing of cattle has become difficult in modern times owing to the increase in population and development while the land mass of the country which is 923,000 square kilometers has not increased. I therefore wish to urge all Nigerians to support the call for ranching as a lasting solution to the farmers/herders crisis, not only in Benue but also in other parts of the country. In the meantime, I wish to once again appeal to the people of the State to avoid taking the law into their hands and report security breaches to law enforcement agencies. As a Government, we will continue to do everything lawfully possible to guarantee the safety of lives and property in the State.
11. This Administration will continue to collaborate with the traditional institution for the benefit of our people. The recent appointment of First Class Chiefs by our Administration in intermediate areas of the State is further demonstration of our commitment to deepening the role our royal fathers can play in the development of the State.
12. May I call on all Tiv sons and daughters, at home and in the Diaspora to always rally round His Royal Majesty with useful ideas, support and prayers that will enable him to succeed in the challenging task ahead of him. We must set aside our pride to accord him all the respect that he deserves. Now is also the time to desist from making jest of the Office and the pronouncements and decisions that emanate from the exalted position. Only that way shall the personality and office of the Tor Tiv be accorded its rightful respect and dignity by others as it rightly deserves.
13. Finally, I wish to thank the Central Planning Committee for the Coronation headed by Chief Brigadier-General Atom Kpera (Rtd.) for the wonderful work it has done by carefully planning and executing all the ceremonies for the installation ofHis Royal Majesty, Orchivirigh Prof. James Ortese Iorzua Ayatse as Tor Tiv the 5th. The event is a huge success.
14. I once again congratulate Tor Tiv the fifth as we bow in prayers of thanksgiving to the Almighty God who has chosen you to serve the Tiv people. May He bless you with good health and King Solomon’s wisdom to lead your people unto enduring peace, unity and progress.
15. Thank you and may God bless you all for coming to be part of this epoch-making occasion.
16. In God we trust.