By Tyavnogu Tyobee Chisongu
Let me start by first and foremost apologizing to the entire Tiv ethnic nationality, the Tiv Traditional Council (TTC), His Excellency Governor Samuel Ortom and all concerned persons, for participating in the ill-fated journey embarked upon by one Solomon Semaka.
I also want to place it on record that even as I was part of the team that made the visit on the leadership of the Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore, today, with the benefit of hindsight, I greatly regret my action and hereby want to set the record as straight and possible as I can.
On the eve of that infamous visit, a friend was able to convince me to join him on a meeting where they are going to discuss the need to build an enduring relationship between the Tivs and the Fulanis. As someone who is interested in unity and peace, I obliged him.
On getting there, I was further informed that the leader of the delegation was one Rev. Solomon Semaka. And that was the first time I was meeting him. He (Solomon Semaka) briefed us that he was able to get the attention of the President Miyetti Allah Kautal Hore who is also keen on revamping the cordial relationship that existed between the two ethnic groups in particular and Benue state in general. Alas, there was a hidden agenda which was not immediately known to my humble self and other people on the team. Permit me to also emphasis that, not everyone on that trip was of Tiv ethnic stock.
What we agreed was to speak on avenues, strategies and opportunities to engender the unity and not to mention names or circumstances that will add insults to the injury.
However, on getting to the venue and while Solomon Semaka got talking, he dangerously deviated completely from the concept of the proposed engagement by mentioning names including that of Governor Samuel Ortom and moving a step further to paint him in bad light.
As it is already public knowledge, Solomon Semaka said Ortom is not representing the people of Tivs but himself and that every killing that takes place in Tivland has provided a political capital for the governor whom he (Solomon Semaka) alleged is hinging the blame on the Fulanis.
At this time, I felt thoroughly betrayed by Solomon Semaka. I wished the ground had opened and allow me take refuge under it to avoid been associated with such unwarranted infraction.
In my contribution, I demanded that the host should use his good office to see how we the Tivs and Fulanis can love each other gain. Even when one of the Mallams in attendance said the Tivs do not have a leader I got up and responded to him that we have a leader bearing in mind that our aim of going there was not to cast aspersions on anyone.
I noticed Solomon was not happy with my narrative. I registered my displeasure to him when we left the hall. I even told them that the governors son in-law is my friend, wondering how he will feel if such is coming out from me.
As soon as I registered my displeasure with Solomon Semaka, I and my contact left in protest. He was wise by not making it appear as if we are going there to get money or a sharing formula is in place. We never talked about money at that point.
Moreover, a day after that visit, my contact called and said Solomon informed him that the host gave him the sum of One Hundred Thousand Naira (N100,000:00).
In conclusion, I hereby completely dissociate myself with the evil agenda as orchestrated by Solomon Semaka. And unequivocally tendered my unreserved apology for participating in that unholy mission. As for Solomon Semaka, I urge him to repent and seek the forgiveness of our ancestors.