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Gov. Ishaku Mean Well For Tivs in Taraba State- New Tiv Leader, Ayagwa

Mr. Joshua John Ayagwa  is the newly elected President  General of the Taraba Tiv Cultural and Social Association, in this interview with Taraba Truth and Facts Newspaper, Ayagwa expressed confidence that the State Governor Darius Ishaku meant well for Tivs in Taraba State.


You've assumed the leadership of the Tiv community in Taraba State, what are your efforts so far to ensure peace is sustained, particularly between the Tiv and Jukun in the state?

Since I assumed the office, I have been up and down going round to preach peace to all our traditional rulers on the need for us to remain one peaceful united family and I have had many meeting with my people to educate them on the need to live with one another and we have started seeing the dividends because before my assumption in office, our people can't go to Wukari and Donga but if you go to Wukari now, you will see our boys moving around freely  and if you visit Donga, you'd notice free movement and you will see that all our people are very happy, singing songs of praise to Governor Ishaku because I cannot achieve this without the Governor as he gave me his maximum support to make sure I go round to see how we can resolve our differences.

And I want to commend the state Governor for his peace efforts, resettlement and rehabilitation committee that I am serving as one of the committee members and we have started distributing the palliatives for displaced people, both Tivs and Jukun and especially my people because, before now, if such a thing is done, no Tiv man would be there to participate because they would be afraid what is happening in the area but now everywhere is calm and people are happy going about their daily businesses. If you go to Yam market in Wukari, you will find Tiv people and everything is happening as it should be right now. But the only thing that is remaining now is for our people to start returning back to their homes because we now have peace.

The Governor has raised concerns about Tivs returning back to their  homes and how is the government efforts yielding results and how are you helping in this instance?

We have never flagged off official retuning of the people because the governor had mandated the committee to get things done in phases for efficient service delivery. The stage we are now is for sharing of palliatives which we had been doing and after that, we will go for another round of meeting and it is in that meeting that we would decide when they would start returning. Officially, the Governor did not sign for Tiv people to return, he just made a statement but it is the responsibility of the committee to ensure that. Because the term of reference was that all the displaced people should be returned back to their ancestral homes and we start with the sensitization  to the people to know how to live with one another and respect the authority and the major thing is to know how to respect the authority in ensuring the Aku Uka who is our royal father will know and we don't want people to feel the Uka Uka is against the Tiv people. The Aku Uka is not against the Tiv people, what the monarch want is for us to respect his authority and accept that we under his watch as his subject and the problem we are having now is if we don't believe were part of Aku Uka subject, that is where we will have problem.

It is like if the Donga do not believe they are under Gara Donga there and that is where the problem is coming and we cannot be in Taraba and think your problem would only be solved in somewhere else. We are Tivs, but we are also in Taraba because we are born and brought up here and if we have our brother in Benue, I think that is a different thing because most of our people feel their help would not come from Taraba but from Benue State and that is why the Aku Uka said he wants the Tiv people that are living with him to know that they are under his jurisdiction.

Meanwhile, when the Governor of Benue State attended a meeting organized by the Federal Government which involved both parties in ensuring the differences were resolved, the Governor Taraba State said Tivs in Taraba remains his people and he knows how to resolve their issues which he started and you can see that everybody is now enjoying the peace.

Are the governor's efforts yielding positive results, if yes, what are the visible results?

One of the positive results is that formerly, there is no any Tiv man that would come to Wukari because the heat was to much for them but part of the positive result now is that there is no more heat and the Tivs can peacefully coexists with the Jukun and we can go to Wukari freely now. Before the people prefer passing through Jos instead of Wukari and Donga and if you want to do that, you must follow bush to get to your destination. But when you get to Donga now, people are drinking, beating drums and dancing for the peace being enjoyed after the peace efforts began. Once you start seeing the Okada riders going about their business peacefully, you'd realize there is peace in the area without any problem.

The panel of inquiry constituted by the Governor has submitted its reports and recommendations and the Tiv community did not participate in the panel, do you still have confidence in that report?

I was yet to assume office when the judicial panel was constituted and it was my predecessor that oversaw that time. The people were afraid of each other and I am sure they wouldn't want to participate because they may have felt that the committee wont give them justice and you know it is pure issues of the judiciary and the law and a lay man cannot know its technicality but when we engage the service of lawyers, they get to interpret all the issues raised and resolution reached, the technicalities inherent in it.

No doubt, there are some discrepancies but the committee has already submitted its report to the Governor and I am yet to have the report to study it and know what the recommendations are, so I will find it difficult to speak on what I don't know about because I am not privy to their recommendations. But what I do know is that I believe in Governor Ishaku mean well for the Tivs in Taraba State  and  justice would be done in this regard.

What are your targets in office?

My target is to make ensure there is peace in Taraba and let every body knows that we have to live together as a family and we should stop thinking that the Jukun is a problem of Tivs across the state and let us have confidence in those that we have stayed with for a very long time. I am 56 years old now and I am born here in Taraba, and same with my Father, so someone cannot come here now and tell me that the Jukun is my problem. So, I want everybody to have confidence in Jukun people so that we can coexist peacefully. Another target is to ensure that all displaced people are returned back to their homes and continue to live peacefully.

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