the proposed apa state

The proposed Apa State in its current composition, comprises Nine (9) Local Government Areas of Ado, Agatu, Apa, Obi, Oghadibo, Ohimini, Oju. Okpokwu and Otukpo out of the present twenty three (23) Local Government Areas of Benue State. The inhabitants of these Local Government Areas include the ethnic nationalities of Idoma, Igede, Akweya, Ufia, Ezza, Igala as well as other Nigerian ethnic nationalities like lgbo, Hausa, Yoruba and many others. In spite of differences in their dialects, they have an age-long close socio-political relationship, predating the colonial administrative experience in the then Idoma Native Authority.

They live in a contiguous and compact territory, which we now propose to restructure into 28 Local Government Areas Ours is an age-long request for the creation of Apa State occasioned by the denial of a peoples right to self determination and consequently, a complete stagnation of social, political and economic growth of our geographical entity.

THE HISTORY OF THE STRUGGLE FOR APA STATE

When we dared to complain, the Tiv’ dominated House of Assembly, in a most embarrassing and unprecedented display of hatred. disdain and political arrogance. passed a resolution excising our area (now demanding Apa State) from Benue State and went ahead to duly and formally request the then President of the Federal
Republic of Nigeria, on the 25th August I 992, to effect the said resolution. We were from then, for all practical purposes, stateless.

We were pushed to the wall and had to complain because our situation in the bureaucracy, economy, political leadership and appointments, and even traditional institutions have in fact and indeed been like those of blacks in the Apartheid South Africa.

Our sons and daughters cannot occupy the seat of Governor of Benue State no matter how well qualified and experienced for the job! Neither can we produce the Speaker of the House of Assembly, nor the Chief Judge of the State that is normally attained by seniority. When it was the turn of an Idoma to ascend the seat of Chief Judge, lie was denied and the next person in rank (a Tiv), was appointed. It is the same with Majority Leader in the House of Assembly, Chairman, State Council of Chiefs, Chairman, State Judicial Service Commission and several other categorized Statutory Boards and Commissions. This discrimination and deprivation manifest even in academics. At present, we have sixty-five (65) professors of repute but none can be considered suitable for the Vice-chancellor of the State University. We have been designated to play second fiddle as second-class citizens in a State we are supposed to belong in as equal partners with others..

This is what gave rise to where we are today in Benue State with no decent employment for our youths, not a single functional industry, poor habitation by the people, and a terribly low quality of living with attendant health problems as there is hardly any water, health and sanitation facilities in our land.

The fore-going, forced us into this age-long struggle which started in 1981, when our elected representatives at the National and Benue State Assemblies requested for the creation of a New Benue State. This metamorphosed into the request for Apa State. Subsequently, the struggle manifested as follows:

• In July 1994, the Och' idoma through our elected and nominated delegates to the National Constitutional Conference, requested for creation of Apa State from the present Benue.

• In January 1996, the Apa State Movement submitted a memorandum requesting for the creation of Apa State out of the present Banue State and creation of additional fifteen Local Government Councils.

• In February 1996, the Idoma National Forum submitted “Our Grievances in Benue” to the National Reconciliation Committee, culminating in the demand for Apa State

• In January 2000, the Idoma National Forum submitted a memorandum to the Presidential Technical Committee on the Review of the 1999 Constitution, drawing attention to the review of processes of creating States and Local
Governments and solicited the creation ofApa State.