Since its creation 38 years ago, the idomas who make up the Benue south senatorial district have been unable to occupy the gubernatorial sit for obvious reasons, its minority status and the dominance of the Tiv majority who occupy two of the three senatorial districts in the state. Hence, until an amicable rotational arrangement is in place, an idoma man or woman becoming a governor of Benue state remains illusive…except where fate plays a role.
This marginalisation has prompted the agitation of the idomas for a state of their own and this longing has been going on for long, a sort of opiom to alleviate the pain of a marginalised people, who have never felt inclusive in their state.
This dream unfortunately has conveniently become the political strategy of senator David mark. With an abysmal first term at the senate, and a second term election that was marred in controversy and litigation, the retired army general was able to ascend in his third term to become the president of the senate and the number three citizen. This position more than before, created believe within his constituency, that he will as senate president be able to make a case for the creation of Apa state and also see to its creation. With this impression, the senate president found a master strategy to assert and perpetuate himself as the ‘life’ senatorial representative of the idomas. A zone which he has deliberately refused to develop or empower in any way as a political strategy to keep the people perpetually poor, desperate and docile to his own advantage.
Whenever there is an agitation for change or direct challenge to his position David mark plays the Apa state card, telling the people he is in the best position at the senate to see through the creation of Apa state , as a new senator from the zone according to him will not qualify to be senate president not to mention pushing for state creation. Unfortunately as played out as this gimmick is, it always works.
Recently in readiness for the 2015 elections and with other credible candidates in the zone gunning for his sit, the senate president is back again with the Apa state creation scam. This time taking it a notch higher by boasting that with his influence, Apa state was one of the 18 states request admitted at the just concluded national conference.
Looking at the issue critically, the idoma people and not David Mark is to blame. Like ostriches they have buried their heads in the sand and refused to face reality and accept the bitter truth that 1,there will never be an Apa state. 2, even if one is created it will not solve our problem as a people given that there are minorities within the minority and a superiority complex tussle between dialects. 3, in the history of Nigeria no state has been created in a democratic dispensation, except under military rule via a fiat. 4, if we take our time to look at the constitutional criteria for state creation, we will find a legal impossibility, hence the national conference admittance of the creation Apa state is just another exercise in futility. 5, if David mark is that influential he should start by using his influence as a PDP national leader to push for the rotation of the gubernatorial sit in Benue state.
David mark however should know that more than the believe that he will create Apa state, his support from the zone is purely sentimental despite his very lacklustre representation, the idomas feel one of theirs is occupying the third highest office in the country. Even though Mark’s position has not benefited the zone in any way, the thought of having a representation at the national level, make the idomas feel like a part of Nigeria even if they don’t feel like a part of Benue.
The idomas should realise that pushing for a rotational system for inclusion is by far more easier than state creation. They should take a queue from the marginalised Tiv Minda people who finally got the gubernatorial sit zoned to them after a long time of marginalization. After all, the agitation for Apa state is a direct effect of marginalisation. As such if achieved, it is my believe that the idomas will feel more inclusive and gradually get over the illusive dream of a state that will never be!
Follow Austin Abu @austynabu