Interviews Politics

It’s time to bring to an end the Tiv/Jukun crisis, says Ayua

Mr. Steve Ayua, a broadcaster par excellence, was born 48 years ago in Jos, the Plateau state capital. After graduation, he worked with Radio Benue; rising to the position of principal announcer.
He later joined Daar Communications plc, owners of African Independent Television (AIT), and Ray Power Radio, in Jos.

By dint of hard work coupled with manifest demonstration of high sense of professionalism, Ayua was promoted to the enviable position of General Manager.

He later resigned his position, to contest for the position of chairman, Ukum local government council of Benue state. In this interview with AUSTINE TULE, in Makurdi, the Benue state capital, Ayua bares his mind on why he wants to become council chairman; his plans to tackle the lingering Tiv/Jukun crisis which affects Ukum; bordering Wukari in Taraba state.

He also spoke about providing security, rehabilitation of Zaki Biam Yam market, growth of Zaki Biam town which was devastated by the Tiv/Jukun crisis of 2001 and the provision of infrastructural facilities in the council area. :

Why I want to be chairman of Ukum LGA

I intend to tap the revenue resources of the local government which is one of the most viable revenue generating local governments in Benue state. The area is agrarian, so, I hope to harness the resources especially yams, groundnut, rice, soya bean and so on, so that the economy would boom again. Since Zaki Biam was devastated during the 2001 Tiv/Jukun crisis, the area has been looking forward to rehabilitation, revitalization and restoration of growth in the people’s various aspects of life.
With internally generated revenue, I would tackle the problem of rural roads to enable the farmers move their produce to the big markets.

I am aware that one of the biggest problems facing the people is potable water, so, I will work aggressively towards providing drinking water.

To make the farmers have more value for their crops and have increase in yields, I will bring experts to teach them modern farming methods. My plan is to make farm produce from Ukum have a place in the international market.

On plans to tackle the Tiv/Jukun çrisis :

I intend to engage the Tiv and the Jukun people in a dialogue. We will trace the genesis of the problem and find a lasting solution. When people have lived together for some decades, it is not easy for a demarcation line to be drawn. What we will do is to make the people to understand that whatever a Tiv man or a Jukun does to a Jukun or Tiv, the effect falls squarely on both sides because they have been intermarrying. Continuous education would be carried out to sensitize the people on the need to embrace peace at all times.

On ensuring security of lives and property

Ukum has been bedeviled with issues of insecurity in recent years. I intend to extend the olive branch to the youths in the area with a view to discouraging them from involvement in criminal activities. We will look for a way of gainfully engaging them so that peace will begin to reign in the area.

On his plans to reconstruct Zaki Biam Yam Market destroyed during the 2001 Crisis

Before the crisis, it was the biggest yam market in Nigeria, but it kept going down due to deplorable conditions resulting from the invasion and multiple taxation by past local government administrations. The Federal Government has intervened and it is rehabilitating some aspects of the market. I intend to look at the areas not touched and work towards improving the condition of the market. I equally intend to review the taxes and levies in the market to boost trader interest and general business there.

On plans to rebuild Zaki Biam town which was devastated during the 2001 Tiv/Jukun crisis

I will work towards giving the town a status befitting a local government headquarters. The places that were destroyed during the crisis of 2001 will be rehabilitated with the support of well meaning individuals and organizations. Consultation with the people on issues concerning the people would be my watchword.
On education and infrastructure

I will explore the possibility if çollaborating with external stakeholders to improve the deplorable condition of the education sector in the area. I intend to have a summit on education so that what the people lost in the past will be regained. I will appeal to non-governmental organizations, donor agencies, well-meaning individuals and so on to solicit for assistance for the development of Zaki Biam and its environs so that the local government will be in the comity of developing local government councils in Nigeria.

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