Your editorial of Wednesday, May 20, 2020, with the above title, was another timely one, a usual with your medium, in responding to the role of the press as conscience of society.
From that prism, it may be said to be an auspicious intervention, coming when there has been silence from relevant quarters even after this latest skirmishes between Tiv and Jukun.
The assertion in the editorial that, “The Jukun always allege that the Tiv, who moved in from the neighbouring Benue State, are taking over their land,” is at the heart of the matter.
The impression created from this kind of statement is that the Tiv only moved into that part of Nigeria when Taraba State was created in 1991.
To put the records straight, land is not even the issue in the disagreement between Tiv and Jukun in present Taraba State, as is the issue of attempts to exclude Tiv from, mostly, their political rights as citizens of the state.
Recall that in 1959, late Honourable Charles Tangur Gaza, contested election with a Jukun man, Ibrahim Usman Sangari, and the former won overwhelmingly. The poll was for entry into the then Northern House of Representatives, Kaduna.
With the creation of states in 1967 and subsequent return to democracy in 1979, two Tiv politicians, David Mtuem and Simon Awua, won elections into the then Gongola State House of Assembly, representing two of four state constituencies in Wukari. Both men are still alive.
The other two seats were won by Habu Gurama and Bawa Isa, both of who emerged as a result of protest votes.
In neghbouring Takum Federal Constituency, it was a Tiv man, late Honourable Hitler GbaAondu, who won election in 1979 and represented Takum/Donga.
The Tiv did not feature too well in subsequent political outings, but at least, Honourable Dooga Gbashi won election and represented Donga Constituency in the Taraba House of Assembly (1999-2003).
At the local government level, the Tiv had no problems as electoral offices were normally shared between the ethnicities across all the local government areas: Wukari, Takum, Donga, and later, Ibi, and even Bali, through consensus to the satisfaction of all.
However, since then, there has been a conscious and deliberate plot to exclude the Tiv from participatory politics by those who have realised that it is easier to “make it” from politics than farming or fishing, hence a violent ethnic feud is instigated each time elections draw near.
It is, therefore, very simplistic to imagine that the Tiv who have been part and parcel of the state would not try to assert their rights now that the political space has become even more expanded.
For a solution, it is suggested that the Taraba State House of Assembly or the National Assembly should impress it on the state Governor, Architect Darius Ishaku, to preside over a reconciliation meeting between the parties himself, instead of sending his deputy the way it has been happening.