Benue 2023: Terhemba Shija

By Denen Achussah

The Zege Kwaghfan u Tiv, Chief Dr. Terhemba Shija is Professor of African Literature and Critical Theory at the Nasarawa State University Keffi. His amiable wife, MiLord Justice Mimi is a judge of the High Court of Benue State.

In may this year, Shija justified his elevation to the Professorial Chair with his the “Sanctity of the Truth, Plurality of Interpretations and the Dystopian View of Life in the Modern African Novel.” It was a thought provoking lecture.

Of the Shija Hymbe dynasty of Vandeikya LGA, Shija has been around since his graduation from the University of Calabar Calabar. He came top of his UniCal graduating class of …, English and Literally Studies Department. Shija would opt for a civil service job in Makurdi, keeping in abeyance, his offer of a lecturing job.

As a civil servant, Shija would be discovered as a good writer, by the then Military Governor and appointed, without solicitation, as Special Assistant on Speech Writing.

At 32, he was elected into the Federal House of Representatives, Vandeikya/Konshisha. He would go on to serve as the Director General of the Benue State Liaison office, Lagos, and was responsible for the movement of the Benue office from Lagos to Abuja. This was after the khaki boys succeeded in kicking out the transition government of Ernest Shonekan.

Shija is an all-rounder. He is a journalist, civil servant, politician, academic and has always loved to serve. “I have always loved to serve. I know that anybody who loves this state must think about the state first, before himself. And having been involved in the Benue project, I know what the people want.” Those were his words recently.

Twice, the Vandeikya born served as the Director General (DG) of Governorship election campaigns in the state. He first served as the DG of Sir George Akume in 1999 and the DG, SULACO (Suswam/Lawani) re-election in 2011, delivering in all.

After serving as Commissioner for Information and later, the much coveted Ministry for Local Government and Chieftaincy Affairs, Shija returned to Keffi, where he began a flourishing academic career.

According to Shija, Benue State at the moment require someone with intelligence to handle complex situations to administer it. And that he has experience to the advantage of the state.

“It takes some bit of intelligence to know what is going on in society. It takes some understanding to know that this society is not as simplistic as it used to be.

“It takes somebody with the brain to go beyond these complexities to know how to solve the problems. And I think that I have acquired the necessary experience to do that. The experience has been good and I will deploy it to good use.

“It is not the experience to steal your money. Benue must move forward if people like us are brought on board,” he is pleading.

Shija is promising “to do a lot of things differently. We will do things differently. We will do it decently. We will do it with the fear of God.”

It is his conviction that “a professor is somebody whose mind has been trained to handle complex issues. I am also a professor that is patriotic. A professor that loves his people will never deceive people.”

He also talked of using “young people with intelligence to move this state forward,” if elected Governor in 2023.

Shija thinks under his would be formed government, “nobody is going to steal. If you steal I will sack you and send you to prison. We have to be serious to have our own place.”

The APC man is canvassing “The Benue Rebuild Agenda,” a comprehensive road map for the development of the state from 2023 going forward. The working document, as described by Terna Doki, has detailed plans for positively transforming the State through deliberate engagements in security, agriculture, cultural reorientation as well as civil service reforms, to mention a few.

Will it be a bad idea, having a professor as Executive Governor, Benue State in 2023? Have your say.

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A prolific writer of about two decades standing experience
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