By Tor Shiekuma Felix
His Royal Highness Orchivirigh Professor James Ayatse, Tor Tiv V, grant me the privilege to salute you on your coronation as the paramount monarch of the highly esteemed Tiv kingdom. Undeniably, this is yet another milestone in the history of the Tiv kingdom, especially now that the entirety of Tiv race is desirously hankering for utter refashioning of Tiv nation into an envy of the world. Interestingly, your timely enthronement has revived hope in our hearts and made us very optimistic that Tiv nation would once again be placed at the realm of global attention. Credit belongs to the Owner of the universe alone, who has been faithful right from the genesis to this unforgettable moment.
His Royal Highness Sir, the why and wherefore of this letter is not to play down on your professorial knowledge, leadership experience and administrative acumen, but like a little yeast works through the whole batch of dough; so my little input could be nuggets of truth that will solidify your vision for Tiv people. Moreover, the Bible says, “where there is no counsel, purposes (plans, visions) are frustrated, but with many counselors they are accomplished” (Prov. 15:22).
On the 4th March, 2017, you formally and openly climbed the royal throne, having received the staff of office from Gov. Samuel Ortom of Benue State. One thing that made your coronation quite fascinating was not the pillars of the society that ennobled the epoch-making event; rather it was the fact that your neck was dressed with several rounds of black and white beads. Sir, like you know, the beads are not to serve decoration or beautication purpose; it is a symbol of responsibility that was fastened upon your neck.
His majesty sir, as I was enthusiastically flicking through your acceptance speech, you replied in the affirmative to your new responsibilities as the traditional captain of Tiv people, together with the accompanying unforeseen challenges. To show your willingness in discharging your expected onus, you pushed forward to unfold your 4-point agenda for Tiv nation. Predominantly, one engrossing thing that caught my attention was your tenacious resolution to return Tiv people to the ancient God of heaven. This is interesting! But the question that is dancing on the lips of many Tiv people begging for rejoinder is: how do you intend to return Tiv people to God? What practical steps will you take to bring this into effect?
His Royal Eminence sir, it is an established fact that the spiritual controls the physical. In other words, the invisible has overpowering influence over the visible, hence the need to prioritized God over any other thing, seeing that with Him every other thing enters the realm of possibility. If it pleases his majesty, your first-rate onus should be to take realistic approaches geared toward enthroning the God of heaven in Tiv kingdom. This becomes a dire necessity, because it is the foundation upon which enduring economic, social and cultural structures will be built. Sir, if you don’t build Tiv kingdom upon the solid foundation of God, your selfless efforts in remodeling Tiv nation will result to mere ‘Jaki work’.
For so long, the fourth most populated Tiv tribe had lost her position and voice in Nigeria; we are being treated daily as foot mats. The once gallant nation simply becomes loyalists to the once overpowered Fulanis. Tiv sons and daughters are now distractions to Nigeria. Analysts ascribed this to selfishness, disunity, lack of purposeful leadership, and betrayal of trust from Tiv representatives at federal level. This may be the case but the underlying cause of this is foundational error and there is no overnight magic that will correct this. God is the only Person that will make Tiv nation stronger and influential again, if given the chance. He is the only One that will hike up Tiv nation to a covetable height and roll away her reproach.
Sir, the scriptures unequivocally state that, “But seek FIRST the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these THINGS shall be added unto you” (Matt.6:33). This scripture has unveiled the secret of your success; a pathway to painless result. No matter how captivating your 4-point agenda for Tiv people may be, they remain mere concepts or paper work if God becomes a subsidiary alternative in your kingdom. Steadfastly cling to this heavenly-oriented vision, of ensuring that the kingdom of God and his righteousness is firmly established in Tivland, because blessed (enviable, prosperous, successful) is the nation whose God is the LORD (Psalm 33:12). With this, the wisdom and knowledge you need to give befitting rulership would naturally be at your disposal.
Most importantly, the best way to repair the distorted reputation of the Tiv nation before outsiders; position it for national recognition; return her to the track of global relevance and above all, make Tiv kingdom and his subjects God’s special possessions, God’s principles of righteousness, honesty, transparency e.t.c must become a way of life and wickedness in every form and at any level must be passionately abhorred. This, therefore, calls for full enthronement of God in your palace and absolute rededication to Him alone. It is more so because transformation that will tremendously impact the entirety of Tiv nation must first originate from your royal habitation. To achieve this, dumb and speechless graven images that have so long occupied the place of God in the Tiv royal abode should be given an instant red card by completely wreaking havoc on those ancient evil alters, for God to assume His position in our land. God and the devil cannot co-rule in one kingdom!
His Royal Highness Sir, I also insinuate that at least two days should be set aside for Tiv national fasting and prayers; one day in each half of the year. Such avenue would be utilized to appreciate God, stand in gap for our spiritual and political leaders, and supplicate for the peace, unity and progress of our dear nation. Additionally, there should be yearly interdenominational conference for all Christians in Tivland, where sweet corporate fellowship would be experienced, lives would be transformed, and God’s rain of blessing would be showered upon Tivland.
Sir, don’t lose sight of the fact that all the challenges that are currently plaguing Tiv nation as clearly catalogued in your acceptance speech, are the least things God has ever handled in history. No matter how complex and unsolvable they may seem to be before human eyes, they must completely summit to God immediately He assumes His divine position as the Lord of Tiv nation. Similarly, as you correctly vocalized during your acceptance address, allow problems Handler (God) to rule Tiv kingdom and avail yourself as a messenger to His people. It is then that all the problems will be surmounted.
God has blessed Tiv people with almost everything required to live luxuriously as a nation. Disappointedly, we are still complaining in abundance because God’s righteousness is wanting. The immediate result of this is the severe hunger and inexplicable poverty that is reigning in the land. Lead Tiv people to retrace their ways back to God so that they can benefit from the blessings embodied in Tivland.
As I draw the curtain, permit me to say that your present royal position is not a result of human decision; rather it is God’s plan initiated beforehand, so that through you He will advance His glory in the land under your watch. Make God you source, and you will never lose value. “Righteousness exalts a nation but sin is a reproach a people” (Prov.14:34).
Tor Shiekuma Felix is a columnist on Benue.com.ng