By Emmanuel Yawe
The Emir of Lafia, Hon. Justice Sidi Bage Muhammad has called on other ethnic groups in the North Central zone to emulate the people of his Emirate and the Tiv who are united as one people so as to attract development to the area and accelerate the economic and political development of Nigeria.
Speaking when the Minister of Special Duties and Inter-governmental Affairs, Senator George Akume paid him a New Year goodwill message on Monday 6th January 2020, the Emir observed that the area is blessed with so much potentials – both material and human – that if all tapped could become a model for the rest of the country.
“When I was appointed the Emir of Lafia, the first thing I did was to travel to Wukari and hold very serious discussion there with the Aku of Wukari. Shekarau Shekarau Angyu Masa Ibi Kuvyon II. I told him that I was not happy with the bloodshed going on in his domain all in the name of ethnic wars. I am happy to note that immediately I left, he was reported to have travelled to Abuja in search of peace.
“On my own part I am happy with our relationship with the Tiv people and the people of Benue generally. They are the closest people to us. Anything we don’t have in Lafia, we go to Makurdi and they give to us. Also, anything they don’t have, they come to Lafia and we give to them.”
Going down memory lane, the Emir remembered the colonial times when a Tiv man by name Aondo was the closest Counsellor to the Emir. He said the man was so close to the Emir that the Emir took him everywhere he went to including Kaduna where meetings were held with the regional government.
He further extolled the virtues of the Minister, Senator George Akume whom he described as the architect of the modern Benue.
“Everything we see in Benue today is the handiwork of His excellency George Akume who ruled Benue for eight years between 1999 and 2007. All the others who came are just trying to build on the good foundation he laid. I am not saying this because he is here. I am not a politician. I have offered my services to this country in the judiciary for 38 solid years rising up to the apex court before my appointment as an Emir. During this time, I interacted with our people and I keep hearing about the good things they say about Akume until I saw him for the first time today,” the Emir revealed.
Speaking earlier, the Minister said he had come to pay his respect and that of the Federal Government for a man who has done so much for the development of the country. He observed that the Emir had sacrificed a lot for the common man to have justice in his years as a judiciary officer, rising up to the apex court in the land.
He observed that having sacrificed so much for the common man, the Emir went further to sacrifice his own career for the common man by truncating his brilliant career at the Spreme Court to come down and serve his people at the grass root level.