Taraba Tiv declare support for Kefas
The Tiv in Taraba State have declared support for Agbu Kefas -the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), ahead of the 2023 general election.
Tiv critical stakeholders in the state, led by the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs Bridget Twar, made this known when they paid a solitary visit to Kefas in his Jalingo residence.
Twar said they were in the candidate’s premises to support him and also seek his assistance to facilitate the return of displaced Tiv people to their ancestral homes in the state.
She said the return of displaced Tiv people, especially in Wukari local government area, will enhance participatory democracy in next year’s polls.
President General of the Taraba State Tiv People Association, Joshua Ayagwa assured the PDP flag bearer of their votes from Takum, Ibi, Wukari, Gassol, Donga and Bali councils.
Ayagwa however, emphasised that Tiv’s support for him will be more effective when their people who were displaced during the Jukun/Tiv crisis are back to their homes.
“It is when they are back to their ancestral homes that we will be talking to them with confidence on the side of peace and support for your governorship ambition.
“At the moment, I have to go to Jortar and Kyado in Benue State to meet them there and it is not a comfortable arrangement for such a political engagement,” he lamented.
Ayagwa expressed confidence that Agbu Kefas has the capacity to steer Taraba state, while uniting the divergent interests of the state’s heterogeneous ethnic groups.
In his response, Kefas boosted their confidence and raised their hope for a peaceful and prosperous future in Taraba state, saying he will bring on board policies and programmes that will speed up development.
Kefas, a retired military Lt. Colonel, ex-chairman of PDP and Nigerian Maritime Administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA), said he was delighted by the visit, describing it as a “family affair.”
“The Jukun and Tiv people are one,” he stated and wondered why conflicts between the two closely tied ethnic groups have not found a lasting solution.
Kefas disclosed he is an apostle of peace and justice and he will ensure justice for all manners of people in Taraba state prevails, irrespective of religion, tribe and region, if elected.
On resettling the displaced Tiv people, particularly in Wukari, Kefas said, “it is a serious issue that must be approached with tact and caution, bearing in mind that the crisis has lingered on for many generations.”
He said: “Resettling the Tiv people of Taraba as well as any displaced persons in the state is a task that must be done, but we have to approach it with caution.
“If we ask the displaced persons to come back now, without preparation -without putting certain things in place, we might be putting their lives at risk.
“The people will be resettled not only on the basis of voting but for their welfare and future. We should be looking at a permanent solution, not a situation whereby people come back and in the next five or 10 years, they begin to run helter-skelter.
“Achieving permanent peace is a collective responsibility and together we can do it.”
Kefas recalled his service days as an intelligent officer of the Nigerian Army in Rivers State, when his intervention and disposition for justice and fairplay ended the age-long dispute between Ijaw and the Itsekiri.
“If I can achieve that feat in a ‘foreign land,’ I can achieve much more for my people in Taraba,” Kefas said.