– One party system is not democracy- Tor Tiv

By Amos Aar, Grassroots Africa Newspaper

Rector, Torkula College of Advanced and Professional Studies Makurdi, Prof. Barnes Anger has said that there is no opposition party in Benue state. Prof. Anger stated this while presenting a guest lecture at a stakeholders’ meeting organized by Benue state Independent Electoral Commission(BISIEC) held at George Akume hall, Local Government Service Commission, Makurdi preparatory to the November 30th, 2019 Local council elections.
Anger argued that opposition politics cannot not thrive in a state where the economic condition of the citizens is poor. According to him, economy of Benue state and Nigeria at large has to be fixed before opposition politics will become workable.
“We don’t have opposition in Benue state, they are sycophants who are selfishly looking for money and political appointments. They depend on government for survival and so when food is kept in the boot of their cars, they keep quiet for a whole term,” Anger said.

He scored Governor Ortom high in performance noting that Benue people have a mentality of discrediting their incumbent Governors but praise them after office. He maintained that Ortom will be praised after office just like Aper Aku who was destructively criticised while serving as Governor but was praised after office till today.
The Rector also vindicated Ortom by saying that Benue problems were older than the Governor just like many other politicians in Nigeria who are younger than the problems facing the country. He therefore urged Benue people not to blame Ortom for the state problems pointing out that the Governor only owe a duty to solve these problems that are far older than him.

As a way forward, prof. Anger suggested that:
Benue mentality be discarded.
There must be physical transformation to improve the lives of citizens.
Resources must be tapped to enrich the citizens for development and viable opposition.
There must be intellectual development of citizens.

His Royal Majesty, Chief Ambrose Iortyer(Tor Kwande 1) who represented Tor Tiv at the meeting said, one party system is not democracy. “There is need for opposition ” He decried a situation where one political party wins chairmanship in all Local Government areas of Benue state and advised those aspiring to become council chairmen in the forthcoming elections not to depend on zoning but prove to the electorate that they(the aspirants) have their interest at heart and they should be ready to perform just like Aper Aku did as a chairman and it became his weapon.
“Autonomy will be there and performance should be there too.
” if you don’t want to perform, don’t contest”, Chief Iortyer warned.
He said that violence should be avoided before, during and beyond campaigns/elections. Politicians should look at themselves as members of one family.
“We traditional rulers remain neutral and shall speak the truth when there is need for truth”, representative of the Tiv paramount ruler assured.

On his part, PDP Chairman in Benue state, Sir John Ngbede debunked what Prof. Anger posited and said that they needed opposition in Benue and they were friends and will continue to be friends after election.
“We had the worst elections under APC and that cannot be repeated because mistakes were made and lessons were learnt.

Members of the opposition parties also frowned at the way Prof. Anger described them as sycophants who were merely looking for food, money and political appointments. ” We are looking for a cooperative opposition not antagonistic opposition. We look forward to having a level playing ground where every body is given equal opportunity to participate and have sense of belonging”, one of them said.
In their various reactions, the opposer’s unanimously asked the Guest lecturer, Prof . Barnes Anger to apologize and withdraw his statement.
But in his response and defence, Anger refused vehemently to apologize and retract his bitter words:
” I cannot do that. As a student of politics, I know the foolishness and mediocrity of sycophancy. I did not say opposition should not exist, but the opposition in Benue state is working for selfish interest”, Anger reacted. He then called for a paradigm shift in the way opposition parties operate particularly in Benue state.

Some critics who spoke with newsmen on condition of annonimity shortly after the stakeholders meeting expressed disappointment that Anger did not dwell on the subject matter which was aimed at ensuring the conduct of a peaceful, free, fair and credible council polls come November 30th 2019. According to them, he only succeeded in raining eulogies on Governor Ortom who gave him appointment as Rector, Torkula College of Advanced and Professional Studies Makurdi.
They described his lecture as sycophancy in a glorified form!

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